Video: Egyptian Mau: History Of The Breed
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
The prototype of the Egyptian Mau is an ancient breed of cats that has passed natural selection; whose appearance has not undergone significant changes in more than 3000 years - this is exactly the age of the artwork on which it is depicted. In ancient Egypt, the cat was a sacred animal, the personification of the goddess of the moon, fertility, love and home Bastet (or Bast). The modern history of the breed began with a fascination with Egyptian cats of the Russian princess Natalia Trubetskoy. She owned such cats, and they were originally from Egypt. Their spotty color (small specks) resembled the color of cats on ancient Egyptian bas-reliefs.
Photo © The Guigue
When Princess Trubetskaya immigrated to the United States in 1956, she took with her several Mau, both born in Egypt and in her nursery. These cats came in three well-known color variations. American breeders have made every effort to maintain the purity of the breed. They developed a breeding program for this breed based on outbred rebounds combined with intensive selection. The desired appearance of the breed has been reconstructed based on the study of ancient images and even the mummies of Egyptian cats. The core of the breeding population consisted of a pair of cats of the desired type and color, exported from North Africa. Several individuals of the required type of unknown origin were selected for their descendants. Subsequently, to expand the breeding population from North Africa, another group of cats of independent origin was exported. In each generation, those individuals were sequentially selected whose type and color corresponded to the restored appearance of the cats of Ancient Egypt. The descendants of this lineage belong to the "traditional line".
In 1982 Jean Mill imported Toby the cat (from Delhi) and several Aboriginal cats from India. They had a warm bronze color with very good contrast. The Delhi cat had a unique shiny coat, excellent contrast and shape of spots, good health, which he passed on to his descendants. In addition, he made an invaluable contribution to the formation of the Bengal breed. TICA recognized this line in the early 1980s, shortly after the CFA. The descendants of this line are known as the "Indian line".
Photo © Surya & Maya
A few years later Katy Rowan (Rocat cattery) brought 13 more cats from Egypt. In the early 1990s, J. Len Davidson (Grandtrill cattery) brought four more bronze-colored cats (Giza, Vafaya, Hosni and Alexandria) from Egypt. These cats and cats have been recognized by felinological organizations and their descendants are known as the "Egyptian lineage". This line of Egyptian Mau is the most numerous.
Fondcombe's last cat Sahourê was brought to France from Cairo in 1998 by Marie-Christine and Didier Halepe. All the cats brought were taken directly from the streets of Cairo and Delhi. Their origin is unknown, but they made an invaluable contribution to the development of the breed, expanding its gene pool. Now the Egyptian Mau is a closed breed.
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In recent years, four varieties of Egyptian Mau have been developed: silvery with charcoal-colored spots; honey - with dark spots; smoky - with a charcoal-colored body with a white undercoat and dark spots; pewter - with dark gray or brown spots on a pale yellow-brown background. Occasionally there are cats with small and numerous specks - the so-called "trout" pattern. The eyes in each case should be the color of gooseberry green, although this trait is not always evident in young Mau.
The Egyptian Mau was recognized by the CFA in 1977, soon entered the TICA Championship (in 1979), and in 1992 - the FIFe. Each cat of this breed must have confirmation of its origin in the studbook. Despite claims that the breed originated in Egypt, DNA analysis shows a predominantly European and North American origin.
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