THE EGYPTIAN MAU IN THE UK & GCCF
Egyptian Maus arrived in the UK in late 1998. The Egyptian Mau Club had its inaugural meeting at the National Cat Club Show in December 1998 and has been dedicated to the development of the breed in the United Kingdom as well as its recognition and promotion to Championship Status by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. The Club has been affiliated to the GCCF since 2003, and, following its success at Preliminary Status, the breed was promoted to Provisional Status from 1st June 2004. Breeders and exhibitors then worked hard to qualify sufficient cats with three Intermediate Certificates to move to our final goal – Championship Status for the Mau – and that was achieved from June 1st 2007 – the hard work and commitment paid off! Maus are now winning the highest titles on the show bench including Best of Variety at the GCCF Supreme Show!
Of all the different breeds of spotted cat, it is the Mau that bears a striking resemblance to the statuesque spotted cats depicted in Ancient Egyptian art. The GCCF standard describes the Mau as follows: “The Egyptian Mau is an elegant cat of moderate, foreign type characterised by a random spotted pattern seen both in tabby and smoke colours, and a unique “worried” look. This facial expression is generated by large, straight-set gooseberry-green eyes beneath a level brow and between the parallel lines of the nose. The Egyptian Mau is an active, well-balanced, medium-sized cat with a strength and hard muscular feel that belies its graceful build. Males tend to be larger than females.” As a guide on weight, adult females usually weigh between 3-4 kilos whereas males are from 4-6 kilos on maturity. It is important though to be careful with their diet, as neutered Maus can really become quite large, blurring their elegance. They are notorious for enjoying their food and can learn to open cupboards and drawers to find a snack! Maus registered with the GCCF are given a specific breed number, Silvers are 78 30s, Bronze 78 30 and Smoke 78 36. Maus were first brought into this country, from the United States, by Dr Melissa Bateson. Melissa was first attracted to the breed when, at the age of 10, she saw a photograph of Maus in a book, and, from that point on, knew that was the breed she wanted to own. Melissa was attracted by a combination of the exotic spotted pattern and the unique facial expression that has variously been described as “worried” or “concerned”. The photo was black and white but the colour descriptions were unusual and interesting too, with names like “silver”, “bronze” and “smoke”. Finally, the history of the breed sounded so romantic! The last remaining Maus were rescued in Italy by a Russian princess and taken to North America where she, with a group of interested breeders founded the modern Mau. I was first attracted to the breed when they were on exhibition at the Somali Cat Club’s Show in March 1999. I was, like Melissa, enchanted by their pattern and those large, expressive, gooseberry green eyes. I really wanted a silver Mau from the handsome CFA Grand Champion Sharbees Mihos of New Kingdom and suggested to my husband we should book a female from Melissa’s next litter. He agreed, as long as I purchased it (knowing I never had any savings in the bank!), however, a few weeks later, an unexpected insurance policy matured and my wish came true! Newkingdom Tamyt has a wonderful personality and has produced some beautiful and successful kittens for us too – Beaumaris Maus are very much a part of our household.
The colouring and markings of the Mau are very striking and always attract visitors at shows. The breed is characterised by its spotted tabby pattern. Spots can be any size or shape. They come in three colours accepted for showing: silver (silver ground colour with charcoal grey or black markings), bronze (really warm coppery, brown ground colour with darker brown or black markings) and smoke (this appears as dark, charcoal grey with jet black markings however each hair is in fact silver at the base and tipped with black). The markings on the smoke are a “ghost” tabby pattern where breeders have deliberately selected those with a clearly defined pattern to breed from. The Mau is the only breed to have a patterned smoke. The colours not accepted for showing include solid black, but Maus also occur in dilute colours giving a blue silver, blue tabby, blue smoke and a solid blue. Dilute Maus are not recognised in the UK. Maus can also sometimes occur in the blotched or classic tabby pattern, theoretically possible in all of the above colours. Classic tabby Maus can neither be shown nor bred from, but make excellent and very beautiful pets. They are relatively common in the UK. The Egyptian Mau Breed Advisory Committee currently has no intention to develop or recognise any new colours or patterns but they are considering allowing imports from Egypt to increase and maintain a healthy gene pool. Maus are intelligent, active and very playful cats. They love toys, and many learn to retrieve as they really enjoy interacting with their owners. They are reputed to have the fastest reflexes of any domestic cat, and are formidable hunters if allowed outside. Maus generally get along very well with other animals including dogs. They bond strongly to their owners, but are sometimes, initially, shy of strangers. They are very intelligent and stubborn cats. They learn fast and like to have their own way. They can open doors, cupboards and drawers and love to investigate anything new. Maus are still a relatively rare breed in the UK with fewer than 200 kittens being registered with the GCCF each year. The breed benefited from the publicity provided by the recent “Catwoman” film that starred an Egyptian Mau (there were actually three Maus playing that role and it was part of the fun of the film for Mau fans to recognise where the cats swapped scenes!). Halle Berry, was the star playing the title role who, it was reported liked the breed very much!
Pet quality Egyptian Mau kittens are currently sold for between £400 and £500 in the UK; the amount varies in different parts of the country and depends upon charges for vaccinations etc. The average price, at the moment, is around £400 for a pet Mau that is fully inoculated, registered with the GCCF and insured for the first weeks of ownership. Responsible breeders also provide a leaflet giving guidance on “Your New Kitten”, with details of diet etc. Some may also supply samples of food and cat litter etc so that integrating into the new environment is as stress free as possible for the kitten. Top quality Maus, registered on the GCCF’s Active Register, suitable for breeding and showing may cost considerably more (£700-£1000). This higher price should reflect better quality, a kitten that is as close to the ideal as possible and without any of the faults that could affect show success. It is important therefore to know the requirements for showing Maus and the Standard of Points (SOP) should be studied to see the priorities looked for by Mau judges. The SOP is reproduced on the Egyptian Mau Club website for your information but many breeders will provide one with a show quality kitten. Prospective breeders should do their research thoroughly, seeking advice and looking at Maus on the show bench before buying one for breeding and/or showing. Those people looking for a beautiful cat with expressive eyes, a striking pattern and a loving, responsive personality, an Egyptian Mau is an ideal choice. Egyptian Maus are devoted mothers; it is always a pleasure to watch them with their kittens. Here is a beautiful Chantina bronze Mau female, bred by Monica and Jim McLaren, with her two kittens. She is a warm bronze with beautiful green eyes. Her kittens have very well defined spotting with excellent contrast between the pattern and the ground colours. They are even in size and look very promising.
Smoke Egyptian Maus are unique across the breeds in that they have been deliberately bred to show their spots. Over the generations breeders have deliberately selected the smokes showing clear spotting. The more contrast there is between the pattern and the ground, the better the smoke Mau. Smoke breeders should always select the palest kittens with the best possible contrast as the colour will darken as they grow older ….. Another feature of the Mau is their beautiful large, rounded almond eyes – gooseberry green in colour, they have a worried expression that is crucial for the breed. These two smoke boys illustrate that expression perfectly! For more information about the Egyptian Mau breed in the UK, contact any member of the Egyptian Mau Club committee – for details see the “Contacts” page on the club’s website www.egyptianmaus.co.uk. There is also a lively Egyptian Mau Club page on Facebook that is rapidly becoming international …… it is a great way to share photographs, knowledge and information about this enchanting breed. Anne Gregory Beaumaris Cats 2011