The Egyptian Mau

KarMau cats Kasha Kassidi and Fancy

Magic and mystery—elegance and enduring essence—are just a few of the attributes that define the Egyptian Mau. This cat, aptly depicted on the carved walls of Ancient Egypt, barely escaped extinction in the years following World War II.

As the story goes, an exiled Russian princess, Natolie Troubasdky, then living in Italy, was one day handed an old shoebox—inside the shoebox was a tiny spotted kitten. This tiny kitten and two others, along with the "Princess", immigrated to the United States. Fatima Cattery was established and a determined effort to preserve this incredible breed of cat…the Egyptian Mau…began.

Thought to be descended from the African Wildcat (Felis sylvestris libyca) the domestication of the Mau occurred sometime between 4000 and 2000 BC. Ancient wall carvings depict this cat as a bird hunter and retriever and as a protector against mice, poisonous snakes and other vermin trying to invade the royal granaries.

Around 2000 BC, the Mau began to play a significant role in religion. There are over twenty god and goddesses represented with cat-like figures. Many believed that the Sun god, Ra, would take the form of a cat each night as he journeyed to the underworld to destroy the snake demon Apophis, thus assuring that the sun would rise the next morning. The cult of Bastet, a deity representing protection, fertility and motherhood is still today depicted by many statues and symbols.

The spotted cat was so revered in Egyptian society that when a cat died, household members would mark this passing by shaving their eyebrows. Just as with human remains, the body of the cat was typically embalmed and mummified with the hope that they would accompany their owners into the afterlife.

As referenced earlier, the Egyptian Mau may have been lost forever had the “Princess” not brought her foundation cats to the United States in 1956. Since that time, there have been committed breeders helping to sustain this magnificent and magical creature.

KarMau is proud to continue in this effort.