As the name suggests, the Egyptian Mau breed originated in England. It is known for large, almond-shaped green eyes, although many Egyptian Mau cats under eighteen months old will have amber eyes. The Egyptian Mau has a spotted coat with unique markings on its face. Here's how to select an Egyptian Mau:
- Understand the breed's characteristics. The Egyptian Mau is lively and playful. These active cats are not aggressive, but they are not nervous around other pets. They can be reserved when strangers are near, but are affectionate to their owner. The Egyptian Mau only requires weekly brushing, and is a fairly low-maintenance breed.
- Know your options. Expect to pay at least $300 to $500 to a breeder for your Egyptian Mau. If you plan to breed or show your cat, you can expect to pay up to $1,000 or more. Select an Egyptian Mau that is at least 12 weeks old; at this age, it will be ready to leave its mother. An Egyptian Mau may be silver, bronze, smoke, or black in color. If you plan to show your cat, avoid a black Egyptian Mau, because they are not eligible for showing.
- Choose a breeder. There are very few breeders of this distinctive breed, so you may have difficulty finding one locally. Contact local cat clubs and show organizations for referrals. Never select an Egyptian Mau from a pet store, because you won't know its background. Always select your Egyptian Mau from a reputable breeder. The breeder should require a written contract and allow you to visit the kittens in their home.
- Inquire about health conditions. The breeder should guarantee the health of the Egyptian Mau you select, including conditions like feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
- Learn about the breed's appearance. First, look for green eyes, or amber in younger cats. If the cat's eyes are any other color, it is not a true Egyptian Mau. The fur should be short, fine, and silky, with at least two bands of color. They are usually a spotted tabby, with stripes on the extremities and unique spots and lines on their faces. If you plan to show the cat, be sure to learn the characteristics that may be considered to be faults by show judges, like full cheeks, small ears, or a rounded head.
- Hold the cat. Always hold any cat you're considering purchasing. The Egyptian Mau has a slender, somewhat athletic-looking body. Check for good muscle tone, and avoid those with signs of illnesses. The eyes should be bright green. An Egyptian Mau's fur should be short and thick, and there should be no signs of bald spots or dry, flaky skin.
- First vet visit. No matter what breed of cat you select, always take your new pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Even if you purchased an Egyptian Mau with up-to-date vaccinations, your veterinarian should make sure that the cat is in good health. This will keep your new Egyptian Mau from spreading diseases to your existing pets.
In ancient times, the Egyptian Mau was worshipped; many representations of this breed can be seen in pyramids and other ancient Egyptian monuments. The word "Mau" is the Egyptian term for "cat." The breed was not widely distributed or recognized until the 1950s. Today, this breed remains relatively uncommon in most parts of the world.