I chose this cat as Phil is, and always has been, extremely interested in Egyptology and this cat appears to date way back to ancient times so I thought I may perhaps learn something as I research this particular cat. (I didn't learn as much as I had hoped).
The Egyptian Mau is a small to medium short-haired cat breed. Along with the Bahraini Dilmun Cat, they are one of the few naturally spotted breeds of domesticated cat. The spots of the Mau occur on only the tips of the hairs of their coat. The spotted Mau is an ancient breed from natural stock; its look has not changed significantly as is evidenced by artwork more than 3,000 years old.
Unlike other spotted cats such as the Ocicat or Bengal cat, the Egyptian Mau is a natural breed. Other breeds are created from domestic breed outcross or, in the case of the Bengal cat, hybridising domestic cats with another species, the Asian leopard car. The Mau is significantly smaller than these other breeds. The breed conformation is described by The Cornell Book of cats as:
"a balance between the compactness of a Burmese and the slim elegance of a Siamese. Its medium-
length body is muscular, with the hind legs longer than the front, giving the Mau the
appearance of standing on tiptoes when upright."
The Mau is the fastest of the domestic cats, with its longer hind legs, and unique flap of skin extending from the flank to the back knee (similar to that of the cheetah), providing for greater agility and length of stride. Maus have been clocked running at more than 30 mph (48 km/hr). As the hind legs are longer than the front legs, they frequently land on their back when taking a leap. making them appear rather haughty and kangaroo-like. Facial expressions may change according to mood, and eye colour may change from green to turquoise. Maus often possess quite musical voices. They are known to chirp, chortle and emit other distinctly unusual vocalisations when stimulated.
Another behaviour, quite common to Maus, has been described as 'wiggle-tail'. The cat, whether female or male, wiggles and twitches its tail, and appears to be marking territory, also known as spraying but during this behaviour the Mau is not releasing urine. Even veteran Mau owners have been known to check after a joyous Mau does this little dance. (STRANGELY ENOUGH OUR PRECIOUS DOES THIS QUITE A LOT WHICH INTRIGUES US NO END. Phil always tells her she is bring rude!!!!).
Maus either have a 'scarab beetle' or 'm' marking on their forehead (those with the latter tend to be from the United States (personally I think the markings are very similar) :
The exact origin of the Egyptian Mau is not recorded and, therefore, cannot be known for certain. It is often said to be descended from African wild cats and its ancestor is depicted essentially unchanged in murals and wall paintings of Ancient Egypt. The breed name itself references the Middle Egyptian word mw (literally=cat).
In Ancient Egypt, Maus were used for hunting due to their bird-like voices. Their use in hunting is depicted in murals that have survived the ages. They were small enough not to carry away the prey for themselves and were able to alert hunters to the location of prey without scaring of other animals of prey. The modern Camille Mau is said to have originated in 1962, when exiled Russian Princes Natalie Troubetskaya met the cat of the Egyptian Ambassador in Italy. She convinced him to obtain several cats from Egypt for her, and she began to breed them. She described her Maus as having a "troubled look', with their round eyes and open expression.
The Mau achieved championship status in some organisations in 1968. There were attempts by British breeders to create Maus from crossbreeds of Abyssinians, Siamese and tabbies but these, however, did not resemble the true Maus. This mix became the basis for he Ocicat.
The Maus are a relatively rare breed to encounter. As of 2007, fewer than 200 kittens are registered with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy each year, As of 2006, a total of 6,741 mMaus were registered with the Cat Fancier's Association. Maus come in five colours. From most to least common these colours are silver, bronze. smoke, black and blue/pewter. This is a silver coloured Mau:
There seems to be some controversy about where this cat originated. I've checked out various websites belonging to cat fanciers etc. and there was so much information I will leave it to you to do the same if you want to know more about this very lovely animal. I always find it interesting when doing research the number of different explanations you find for various things, such as origin etc.
I found a few more quite lovely pictures of Mau cats to share with you (all of them beautiful but then to me, all cats are truly beautiful):