About Egyptian Maus and Hybrids

There are many good web sites that detail the illustrious history and magnificent qualities of this wonderful breed of cats.  I'll refer to some of these sites below, but for the moment, let's get something straight:   
 
Egyptian Maus are spotted, but they are not hybrids.  They are 100% domestic cats. 
 
Sorry to shout.  What is a hybrid, in this context?  It is a cross between a domestic cat and a wild feline species.  Examples are Bengals, Savannahs, Chausies, etc etc etc. 
 
To make a Bengal, one starts with a Malaysian wild cat and a domestic cat, or an African Serval and a domestic cat for a Savannah.  The domestic cat is put in a cage with a wild feline 2-4 times it size.  Kittens may result, but there are other possible outcomes, Nature red in tooth and claw and all that.  If there are kittens, they are 50% wild, and do not make good pets.  Some will have the wild coat pattern.  These are the lucky ones, because they are raised to sexual maturity and crossed back against a domestic cat to generate F2 hybrids with 25% wild genes.  May we blithely assume that an unlucky F1 kitten who got the domestic coat pattern would be raised in a place where he or she would have plenty of safe, outdoor space commensurate with his or her wild nature?  Where he or she would be joined by the luckier littermates when they have birthed the F2's, and the F2's when they have generated the 12.5% F3's?  Were, and are, all these genetic means to an end maintained in loving homes, throughout long healthy lives, despite their wild behaviors and aggressive temperaments?  Just some questions.  Somehow these issues do not seem to be placed front and center alongside rosettes on the for-profit Bengal breeder websites.  Like many things in our consumerist society, you are encouraged to think about what kinds of spots you are acquiring, not what went into making them.  Currently, many hybrids are high-generation, but their origins remain unchanged with the passage of time.  If you are a Bengal or Savannah owner, all this may seem unfamiliar.  Love your cat and take good care of it.  But I think it is legitimate to ask, what was the purpose of all of this? 
 
Answer: to make a spotted, wild-looking cat. 
 
Hmm.  What, you say?  Something very similar already exists?  It has existed for thousands of years?  Well, no one seems to know about it, so we'll just make our own version and market it better... 
 
There, in a nutshell, you have the position of the Egyptian Mau.  Ancient, beautiful, 100% domestic cats, living history with their origins close in space (Egypt) and time (thousands of years BC) to the beginning of the symbiosis of cats and humans, spotted like many of the cats in pictures decorating the tombs of the Pharaohs, but when most people see one they assume it is a Bengal.  And why not?  There are about 100 times more Bengals than Maus, so it is a reasonable assumption unless you are an insider and know the many differences in head type, eye color, size, shape, smell, vocalizations, temperament, and coat pattern that distinguish Maus from Bengals.  And many people are not aware that you won't see Bengals or Savannahs in CFA show halls, because CFA does not allow wild blood.  TICA does.  CFA and TICA are the two major purebred cat registries that sponsor shows.  TICA show halls have a whole different smell (stronger) and sound (louder) and general ambience because of the presence of hybrids.  Lastly, since Egyptian Maus were used in to create the original Bengals 20-30 years ago and have continued to be sought by Bengal breeders for use in their programs, a typical Bengal may have more Mau in it than anything else. 
 
OK, enough about hybrids.  So what are Egyptian Maus like? 
 Benevolent despots.  These are the cats the Egyptians worshipped, perhaps along with the ur-Abyssinians.  Hence the purple (royal) font.  They are exceptionally intelligent.  They are extraordinary athletes, and hold the domestic cat speed record at about 35 mph.  Many of them are quite talkative, with a large vocabulary and a predilection for "mrring" and "chortling" which are unique Mau vocalizations.  And, I can vouch that in times of intense positive emotion, some Maus will bark.  Yes, bark.  I've heard two of them do it.  They are devoted and opinionated companions who live with passion and conviction, and life in a household with a Mau will never be dull.  Some are lap cats, like the four kittens on my lap right now, and some show their affection in other ways like always staying close by.  They form lifelong bonds with humans and will not adapt easily to a new family, so if you bring one into your life, you should be the sort of person who will live up to your end of the deal, for the duration.  Their intelligence and keen awareness of their environment and the known/unknown status of the humans in it can make them difficult to show.  A show hall is, after all, an entirely unnatural and rather unsettling environment for a cat with more than half a brain to think with.  Nevertheless, some particularly self-assured and often-shown Maus will thrive in the ring. 
 
Unique Mau physical characteristics:
- spotted coats, in bronze, silver, and smoke colors.  These are the ONLY naturally spotted domestic cats, spotted since time immemorial.  - mascara markings on the face, necklaces interrupted ("broken") at the ventral midline, and a scarab or M-shaped marking on the forehead
 
- a unique skin flap connecting the rear leg to the abdomen, believed to facilitate high-speed running.  These are desert cats and live by speed and stealth. 
 
- longer gestation than other domestic cats, about 67 days
 
- retention of their milk teeth (baby teeth on the sides) while their adult teeth are growing in, so for a time they have both sets of teeth side-by-side
 
- beautiful gooseberry green eyes.  Eye color in Maus begins as kitten-blue, and then most Mau's eyes will turn amber, and finally (beginning at the outer edge of the iris) turn green.  Some remain somewat amber throughout life. 
 
By the way, ocicats are cool.  They are also spotted.  They are a three-way cross between Abyssinians, American Shorthair, and Siamese, derived in the 1970s and 1980s.  Ocicats are all-domestic, beautiful, healthy cats.  Since the first was the result of an accidental breeding, and they werelater intentionally re-created as the first one had been neutered, "natural" wouldn't seem to apply, but they are beautiful, all-domestic cats.   
 
Now, if you would like some information on Maus with a less polemical slant, here are some excellent websites of breeders I know and respect: 
 
 
 
 
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