The Mau is the only natural spotted breed of domestic cat, showing good contrast between the background color and pattern. The pattern is random with any size or shape of distinct spots. They have an "M" on the forehead, often referred to as the mark of the scarab, and a dorsal stripe travels the length of the spine to the tip of the tail. Legs, tail, neck and upper chest are barred with at least one broken necklace. The haunches and shoulders show a transition between spots and stripes.
The eyes are large and alert, shaped like a slightly rounded almond, with a slant towards the base of the ear. This eye set contributes to the characteristic "worried" look of the breed. The eye color of the Mau is gooseberry green. If you have never seen a gooseberry, a green grape comes close but isn't quite the same.
Its head is a slightly rounded, wedge-shape of a medium length. The profile has a gentle concave rise from the bridge of the nose to the forehead, not to be dishy or arrow straight. The slightly flared ears are medium to large, alert, moderately pointed and broad at the base. The hair on the outer ear is very short and close-lying that results in an almost transparent look when combined with the delicate shell pink inner color.
The Egyptian Mau is a statuesque breed that often strikes poses on the judging table. The muscular, elegant body of this graceful feline athlete is hard and lithe. When standing, the Mau has a characteristic "tiptoe" stance, with hind legs longer than the front. The body rises gradually from the back of the prominent shoulder blades to the hips. The medium-length tail tapers slightly towards the dark tip. The hair displays a lustrous sheen on all three accepted colors: silver, bronze and smoke. Its coat is medium in length; in the smoke color the coat texture is silky and fine
Egyptian Maus are a small- to medium-sized short-haired cat breed. Along with the Bahraine Dilcum cat, they are one of the few naturally spotted breeds of domesticated cat. The spots of the Mau occur on only the tips of the hairs of their coat.
They frequently land on their back feet when taking a leap, making them appear rather haughty and kangaroo-like. The Egyptian Mau is the fastest of the domestic cats, with its longer hind legs, and unique flap of skin extending from the flank to the back knee, providing for greater agility and length of stride. Maus have been clocked running more than 30 mph (48 km/h).
Maus often possess very musical voices. They are known to chirp, chortle, and emit other distinctly unusual vocalizations when stimulated.Another behaviour, quite common in happy Maus, has been described as "wiggle-tail." The cat, whether female or male, wiggles and twitches its tail, and appears to be marking territory, also known as spraying, but during this behaviour the Mau is not releasing urine. Even veteran Mau owners are known to check after a joyous Mau does this little dance. Facial expressions may change according to mood, and eye colour may change from green to turquoise.
The modern Egyptian Mau is said to have originated in 1952, in Italy, when exiled Russian Princess Natalie Trubetskaya met the cat of the Egyptian Ambassador to Italy.After convincing him to obtain several cats from Egypt for her, she began to breed them. Trubetskaya described her Maus as having a "troubled" look, with their round eyes and open expression. The breed name is derived from the Egyptian word mw (literally, cat).