From Endearment to Endangerment
The Native Egyptian Mau cat is well known in legend and ancient past.
It is believed that these cats are descendents of the sacred
cats of Egypt, and their ancestry goes back at least 3,500
years. It is the only naturally occurring spotted cat, and
it bears "M" mark on the forehead, sometimes called
the scarab mark after the symbol the ancient Egyptians considered
As highly honoured cats, it was an offence in ancient times to hurt or kill one of these cats, and many have been found mummified in tombs. Mau is the Egyptian word for cat.
Today It Is a Different Story
Presently, in their Egyptian homeland, Native Egyptian Maus are facing
persecution and possible extinction. They are not protected animals
or valued like they were in ancient times. In fact, the Egyptian
government views these animals as undesirable pests, and sadly these
magnificent cats run feral throughout the country, and forage in
rubble and trash cans for food, with little veterinary care.
They live a terrible, painful and short, hungry life. The Egyptian
government, in order to try to curb the growing number of stray
animals, are shooting the stray dogs in large numbers, and systematically
poison the stray cats, many of which are feral Native Egyptian Maus. This
alarming action may endanger the Maus' very existence! Here are
some recent photos of feral Native Egyptian Maus, taken of cats from the
streets of Cairo:
We Believe that the Native Egyptian Mau Cats, as a Breed, Are Endangered
Not only is the gene pool of the breed outside Egypt weakening
due to excessive in-breeding (little new blood), but in Egypt the
increase of life-threatening feline health diseases such as FIV
and FeLV threatens the continuing existence of this breed.
Unless they become protected, we believe these ancient cats may soon become extinct.