The Egyptian Mau breed, while perhaps not the oldest recognized cat breed in registries, is believed to stem from the oldest domesticated cat. The original African Wild Cat, is thought to be the cat originally domesticated by the Egyptians, over 4,000 years ago. Today, the Egyptian Mau is the only naturally-occurring spotted breed of cat. To add to its historical distinction, the name "Mau" literally means "cat" in Egyptian. This striking cat fully lives up to these honors, and then some.
- Body: The Egyptian Mau's body is medium long, with well developed muscles, while retaining a graceful appearance. Its hind legs are slightly longer than the front, giving the cat a somewhat "rakish" appearance.
- Head: Its head is described as a slightly rounded wedge with no flat planes, medium in length. The nose, when viewed from the front, is even in width for its whole length, with a slight rise from the bridge of the nose to the forehead.
Highly intelligent and personable, the Mau is extremely loyal and devoted to his family members, both human and 4-legged. Maus have a distinctly soft melodious voice, and chortle to express their happiness. Although regarded as a "living relic" because of their ancient historical roots, Maus are very much "today" in their roles of being active, expressive family members, while at the same time enthralling throngs of worshipers at cat shows.
Its ancient lineage notwithstanding, the Egyptian mau was first shown in Europe prior to WWI, but during the war its numbers were decimated, with most of the known survivors found in Italy. A Russian Princess, Nathalie Troubetskoy, who had a varied and distinguished history, exiled in Rome shortly before WWII. While there, she was given a spotted kitten living in a shoebox, by a young acquaintance. Through research, she determined the kitten to be an Egyptian mau, and named her Baba.
In 1956, Princess Troubetskoy emigrated to the U.S., bringing with her Baba and two other rescued maus. Shortly thereafter, she established her cattery, Fatima, and set off to establish the Egyptian mau as a recognized breed in North America. Her efforts were successful, with the acceptance by the Cat Fanciers' Federation in 1968, and The Canadian Cat Association shortly after.
It was fitting that in 1972 silver Egyptian mau female bred by Princess Troubetskoy became the first Egyptian mau to win a grand championship in CCA. During those early years, because of the lack of breeding stock, the mau was likely outcrossed with selected domestic cats, along with some inbreeding. However more recent imports of maus from Egypt and India, have preserved and strengthened the breed.
The legacy of Princess Troubetskoy will live on in the remarkable Egyptian Mau breed.