Saturday, September 24, 2011

Freak Week III: Egyptian Mau.

"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this."-  Unknown. 


Most people who like cats know that the Egyptians loved cats. Along with being the first people to 'domesticate' the cat, they had a cat goddess named Bastet. Keenly aware that the cat was still a wild animal, Bastet had a dark side, the lioness Sekhmet. Say what you will about the incest in their pantheon, but they had cats right on the money. 


Without getting into hybrid cats, Egyptian Maus are easily the most exotic-looking breed of cat around.  They are the only naturally spotted breed of cat, possessing cheetah-like spots even beneath their fur. They also run like little cheetahs - up to 36 miles per hour, which, for reference, is about as fast as a giraffe. 

Besides a nearly unchanged look compared to ancient Egyptian depictions, the Mau has several genetic and behavioral differences that suggest a wilder ancestry. The Mau distinctly prefers hotter temperatures, much like its native climate. Besides meowing, Maus can also chirp and chortle. Like ancient dog breeds, Maus are very loyal and intelligent, but usually only bond with one or two people. Finally, they are excellent ratters - as well as snake-hunters if the image below is any indication.

Like most breeds of animal, Maus can be put up for show. However, only the bronze, silver,and smoke can be shown (because markings must be visible). The eyes must be green. Black and pewter are still used in breeding. If you want a cheap, but still classy-looking Mau, go for a black one. It will look more like the modern perception of Bast - spotless.