Egyptian Mau breed information and advice

The Egyptian Mau is a beautiful, elegant spotted breed that resembles the cats of Ancient Egypt. However, the breed is actually the result of crossing Egyptian street cats with Italian domestic cats just after World War II. Popular in many countries, the Egyptian Mau arrived in the UK in late 1998 and it is still considered a relatively rare breed.

With their beautiful, large almond-shaped gooseberry-green eyes and dainty little feet, Egyptian Mau’s are striking in their looks. You’ll notice a distinctive ‘M’ shape on their forehead, described as a ‘scarab beetle’ or ‘mask of scarab’, harking back to their Egyptian heritage.

If you’re thinking of welcoming an Egyptian Mau into your home, our breed guide will share hints and tips for taking care of your new furry friend.

Egyptian Mau cat facts

Lifespan 12-15 years
How much £400+
Size medium
Weight 3-6 kg
Grooming minimal
Temperament playful, intelligent and affectionate
Exercise high


Egyptian Mau cat insurance

The Egyptian Mau is generally a very healthy breed, however, it’s always important to take out cat insurance to help with the cost of any treatment that your cat may need.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

Sainsbury’s Bank cat insurance can cover kittens as young as 8 weeks old all the way up to their 10th birthday. And if you take out a policy before they’re 10, and there isn’t a break in cover, we’ll continue to insure them year after year.

How to care for an Egyptian Mau cat

Egyptian Mau cats are low maintenance and hardly need any grooming. Like all cats, they should have a balanced diet and lots of exercise. It’s also a good idea to check for any gum disease while cleaning their teeth.

Egyptian Mau cats are very active so make sure they have a nutritious diet that fits their requirements. If you buy your kitten from a breeder, they should provide you with a guide to which food they’ve been on. Stick to that, or alternatively, you can ask your vet which cat food they recommend to best fit the needs of your Egyptian Mau, and how much to feed.

Egyptian Maus have short coats with a silky, fine texture so their coats are easy to maintain themselves. But, as they love attention, they’ll enjoy a weekly brush with a soft brush or grooming glove. Their coats come in three colours with random spots. They can be silver with black or grey spots, bronze with dark brown or black spots, or smoke (dark grey with black markings). Tails are banded with a dark tip.

Their teeth should also be brushed regularly to prevent dental disease.

Egyptian Maus are very active. These high-energy cats are athletic, agile and love chasing toys and playing games. You will need to keep them well-exercised and entertained with lots of interactive toys. With their longer hindlegs, these cats are perhaps the fastest runners of all domestic cats – speeds of 48 kg/h or 30 mph have been reported.

These smart cats will learn quickly and are known to open doors on occasion. Toilet or litter training shouldn’t be a problem, you could even get them to graduate from a litter tray to an actual toilet over time.



Temperament and behaviour

Egyptian Maus are intelligent, active, have loads of energy and are always eager to play so will need your time to keep them entertained. And if they don’t have your undivided attention when they want it, they can be quite vocal in letting you know. It might be worth getting a companion cat to help to prevent your Mau getting too bored. If you’re not getting them at the same time, make sure any new cat is introduced slowly.

While they are loyal and loving to their owners, they can be wary of strangers and can be shy and sensitive. Early socialisation is recommended so that they’re friends with everyone. Egyptian Maus are also best kept indoors to keep them safe from cars and diseases and also because they have a strong prey drive; these hunters will go after any wildlife if allowed outside. It also means that any small pets or birds in your house aren’t safe either.

Common health problems

Egyptian Mau cats are generally healthy, but a few problems have been reported. If you take out insurance for your Egyptian Mau cat any potential health condition will be covered, as long as the policy is in place before the condition is identified.

Egyptian Maus can be affected by an inherited enzyme deficiency that affects the lifespan of red blood cells. Anaemia (a reduction in the number of red blood cells) results. As it is caused by a genetic mutation, there is no cure. However, most affected cats cope well with the condition. A genetic test is available to identify cats that carry the gene. Affected cats and those that carry the gene should not be bred from.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a serious heart condition that can affect many cat breeds. The heart muscle of affected cats becomes abnormally thick, preventing the heart from working properly. This can lead to heart failure. Long-term medication can slow the disease down but there’s no cure.

Umbilical hernias have been reported in some lines of Egyptian Maus. These occur when there is a weakness in the stomach muscles around the belly button. A bulge or protrusion may be visible as the abdominal organs push forward. Umbilical hernias are usually inherited and congenital (meaning that they are present from birth). Some hernias may resolve themselves, but others may need surgery. Umbilical hernias can be easily corrected when kittens are neutered.



Is an Egyptian Mau cat right for you?

Egyptian Maus are smart, affectionate cats that form strong bonds with their owner. Too active to be a lap cat but attention-seeking enough to follow you around the house all day. On the downside, this means they can be possessive of their owners and don't like to be alone for too long. Owners will need to devote time to playing with their cat every day. Early socialisation is recommended so that they’ll be friendly with other pets and strangers. If that suits you, they will make a wonderful companion.

How to pronounce Egyptian Mau?

Mau means cat in Egyptian Arabic and is pronounced “Maow” in the same way as Chairman Mao or as if it rhymes with cow.

How much does an Egyptian Mau cost?

An Egyptian Mau kitten from a reputable breeder can cost upwards of £400. Show kittens may cost more. Before buying your kitten, visit the breeder’s home to see how their cats are raised. Egyptian Mau kittens must be well socialised.

Are Egyptian Mau cats hypoallergenic?

No, the Egyptian Mau isn’t hypoallergenic. No cat is 100% hypoallergenic. These cats will still produce the glycoprotein Fel d1 in their saliva that is responsible for cat allergies. Despite being a short-coated breed, they will still shed hair.

Browse our guides

Choose from our list of helpful guides and information

See all guides
Explore dog breeds

Find out how to keep your dog healthy and happy

Find out more
Cat breed guides

How to care for your cat, common health problems and more

Learn more

Content provided from Vetstream's Vetlexicon Felis www.vetstream.com/treat/felis

Vetstream Ltd (online) Egyptian Mau. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/freeform/egyptian-mau

Michael Day, Urs Giger, Kerry Simpson (online) Pyruvate kinase deficiency. . In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/pyruvate-kinase-deficiency

Vetstream Ltd (online) Pyruvate kinase deficiency Owner Factsheet. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/clinical-reference/felis/owner-factsheets/pyruvate-kinase-deficiency/a>. 

Serena Brownlie, Phil Fox, Philip K Nicholls, Penny Watson (online) Heart: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/heart-hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy

Vetstream Ltd (online) Cardiomyopathy in your cat Owner Factsheet. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://vetstream.com/treat/felis/owner-factsheets/cardiomyopathy-in-your-cat. 

Rachel Burrow, Jacqueline Davidson (online) Congenital hernia. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/congenital-hernia.