The love Egyptians had for their cats is something that’s ingrained throughout history. It’s reflected in their art, culture and traditions and they even worshipped a cat-headed goddess called Bastet, who was the goddess of the home and womanhood. But did you know that the furry friends we know and love today have their ancestry in Ancient Egypt?
Over 10,000 years ago, Egyptians used the African Wildcat – a peaceful, solitary wild breed with a sandy or grey coat – to create domestic cats. The ancestors of many of today’s cat breeds can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, although there are now only a few breeds in existence that specifically come from Egypt. Keep reading to learn about Egyptian cat breeds and what makes them so special.
4 Egyptian cat breeds
From the wonderfully playful Egyptian Mau to the hybrid Chausie, here’s our list of the Egyptian cat breeds:
1. Egyptian Mau
The Egyptian Mau is the world’s only naturally spotted domesticated cat breed and there are two varieties. The show version comes in silver, bronze or smoke with dark coloured spots on the body and tabby stripes on the face, tail and feet. The native on the other hand comes in a vast selection of colours including blue, cream and red and can be seen in an array of solid and tabby patterns. Both types have bright green eyes and an ‘M’ marking on their head which is known as ‘the mark of the scarab.’
When it comes to this Egyptian cat breed’s personality, they’re extremely active and adore playing with toys. It’s worth knowing that they’re the fastest domesticated cat breed ever and can clock speeds up to 30mph, so time must be taken to provide them with adequate exercise and space to run. An incredibly endearing characteristic about the Egyptian Mau is that they have wonderful voices that many owners say sounds like singing!
The Abyssinian is one of the oldest domesticated cat breeds and it is currently up for debate as to whether they hail from Egypt or Asia. Many believe they’re an Egyptian cat breed as they bear such a close resemblance to the African wildcat, whereas others think they’re from Southeast Asia.
Abyssinians have a sleek, athletic body and are short-haired with a ticked coat. Their fur is often a stunning red hue although they can come in a variety of colours. They’re not just beautiful to look at though, they have incredibly playful personalities and are widely loved for their goofball natures. Not to mention, Abyssinians are also super smart and can be taught a range of tricks including fetch and to come when called.
3. Nile Valley Egyptian Cat
There are some feline experts that believe that the Nile Valley Egyptian Cat breed is just the native version of the Egyptian Mau, but it was recognised as an experimental breed by The International Cat Association in 2010. The majority of Egypt’s cat population are currently feral, but a rescue effort was established to protect them that includes a rescue group in America where some of the cats are taken to find homes.
The Nile Valley Egyptian Cat comes in both long-haired and short-haired varieties and several colours including black, brown, blue, gold, grey, red and white. They can be pretty much any pattern too!
The Chausie is a hybrid mix of wild cat and domestic breed. Their lineage includes the Jungle cat from the Nile Valley and South Asia and their moniker actually comes from their scientific name, Felis chaus.
An athletic breed in both appearance and nature, it’s worth noting that they have wild parentage so they’ll require lots of entertainment including play and games to keep them amused. As the Jungle cat tends to love water, you’ll often find that most Chausies do too!