The Oldest Cat Breed

Caitlin Dempsey


A gray cat with black spots and ringed tail against a black background.

The oldest known breed of cat is the Egyptian Mau, which is thought to have originated in ancient Egypt over 3,000 years ago. The cat breed gets its name from the ancient Egyptian word for cat, “mau”.

The Egyptian Mau was revered by the ancient Egyptians and was often associated with the goddess Bastet.

The Egyptian Mau is a relatively rare cat breed, and is not commonly found in shelters or rescue organizations. However, there are many dedicated breeders who are working to preserve and promote the breed.

What does the Egyptian Mau look like?

The Egyptian Mau is the only naturally spotted domestic cat breed. Its spots are thought to be the result of a genetic mutation that occurred in ancient Egypt.

A gray cat with black spots and ringed tail against a black background.
The Egyptian Mau is the only domestic cat breed that naturally has spots. Photo: © artSILENSE/

The spots on the coat the Egyptian Mau are only found at the tips of the cat’s hairs.

The Mau is a slender, graceful cat with a short, shiny coat that comes in several colors, including silver, bronze, and smoke. The Mau’s eyes are always green in color, and are often described as being “startling” or “intense”.

The M shaped mark on the Egyptian mau’s forehead is known as the “mark of the scarab”.

What is the personality of the Egyptian Mau?

The Egyptian Mau is considered to be highly intelligent and has a reputation for being affectionate and loyal to its owners.

The Mau cat is known for its intelligence and trainability. Many owners have successfully taught their Egyptian Maus to perform tricks and even walk on a leash.

The Egyptian Mau is an affectionate and social breed, and is known for its love of human companionship. They are often very attached to their owners and are known to be loyal and devoted pets.

Many Egyptian Mau cats are known to like water, and may enjoy playing in a shallow dish of water or splashing around in a kiddie pool.

Fastest domestic cat

The Egyptian Mau is the fastest domestic cat breed, and is known for its agility and athleticism. Some Egyptian Maus have been known to reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

Egyptian Mau’s are also know for having the fastest reflexes in a cat.

How many Egyptian Mau cats are there?

It is difficult to say exactly how many Egyptian Mau cats there are, as there is no central registry or database for the breed. However, the breed is considered to be relatively rare, and there are likely only a few thousand of these cats in the world.

The breed is not commonly found in shelters or rescue organizations, and many Egyptian Maus are owned by dedicated breeders who are working to preserve and promote the breed.


Egyptian mau. (n.d.). The Cat Fanciers’ Association.

Driscoll, C. A., Clutton-Brock, J., Kitchener, A. C., & O’Brien, S. J. (2009). The taming of the cat. Scientific American300(6), 68.

Lipinski, M. J., Froenicke, L., Baysac, K. C., Billings, N. C., Leutenegger, C. M., Levy, A. M., … & Lyons, L. A. (2008). The ascent of cat breeds: genetic evaluations of breeds and worldwide random-bred populations. Genomics91(1), 12-21.

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Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey holds both a master's in Geography from UCLA and a Master of Library and Information Science. She is the editor of and an avid researcher of geography and feline topics. A lifelong cat owner, Caitlin currently has three rescued cats: an orange tabby, a gray tabby, and a black cat.