Arabian Mau

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
fast facts

About Arabian Mau

9-16 lb
Sleek, muscular
12-14 years
Best Suited For
Any loving household with the time to play with their cats, including those with children and other pets
Active, energetic, devoted, outgoing
Comparable Breeds
Egyptian Mau
8-10 inches
Arabian Mau Breed History

The Arabian Mau is one of the oldest of all of the natural feline breeds. Only recently has this desert cat become recognized as an actual breed, even though it has been common in the Arabian Peninsula, including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, for over 1,000 years. In fact, if you go to those parts of the world, you will commonly find Arabian Maus living as street cats, surviving independently and adapting to their environment even as the deserts are transformed into cities.

“Mau” is actually the Egyptian word for “cat,” and these kitties are active at night, preferring to sleep during the day just like their ancestors did in order to avoid the hot sun of the desert. So, this might be something to consider before bringing one into your family, especially if you would be annoyed by a pet that tends to prefer the nighttime to explore and play.

This is a popular breed because, in addition to the Arabian Mau’s beautiful appearance, they can also develop a strong bond with their human family. So, if you are in search of a natural feline breed and you are ready to devote a lot of time and attention to your furry companion, the Arabian Mau might be a stellar choice.

The Arabian Mau is one of the oldest of all of the natural feline breeds.

Breed Traits

Arabian Mau cats are social and energetic. In fact, because they are so active, these cats do best in homes where their owners will be able to provide them with plenty of playtime and enrichment. They need a means by which to release all of their energy, so these are cats that require loads of attention and interaction from their owners. Plus, they are smart kitties, so they need to be mentally stimulated as well to prevent boredom and loneliness. Getting some puzzle toys, as an example, can be an option when you want to keep your Arabian Mau mentally active and occupied.

You should not expect that the Arabian Mau will be fine with being alone for long periods of time or that they will want to be solitary. Instead, it is important to keep in mind that these kitties thoroughly enjoy being in the company of others.

Having a variety of toys to choose from, including interactive toys, as well as environmental enrichment in the form of products like cat trees and perches, can help your Arabian Mau play, exercise, and release energy in positive ways. You might even want to give this frisky feline a catio to enjoy a bit of the great outdoors from a safe and secure spot.

Also, because these kitties are so friendly, intelligent, and adaptable, they will get along great with just about anyone, and they will even get along well with other pets and children. If you want to get more than one cat, that is a great idea, especially if you have an Arabian Mau who can benefit from having a feline companion with them at all times.

Overall, this is a loveable breed with a lovely personality. These cats will likely follow you around the house, always looking for interaction and something to do, though they may not make the best lap cats. Keeping these personality traits in mind can help you determine if the Arabian Mau would be the right fit for your home. For instance, if you lead a busy life and you don’t have a lot of time to shower your kitty with the attention they need, this breed probably isn’t the best choice. On the other hand, if you expect that your kitty will keep you company and spend a lot of time with you, the Arabian Mau can provide lots of joy and affection.

Overall Description

The Arabian Mau features an athletic body, and these cats enjoy being active. Also, their body is typically medium in size and rather sleek, making them agile hunters. So, again, providing them with plenty of space to run, jump, and play is going to help them remain happy and in shape.

These cats also feature oval paws, long legs, and strong muscles. But one of the distinct features of this breed is its ears, which are large and pointed in order to help release excess heat from the body (very handy when living in the desert). The tail is also a medium length compared to the rest of the body, and it somewhat tapers towards the tip.


If you thought that this kitty would have a really distinct and easy to recognize appearance, think again. The Arabian Mau naturally occurs in a wide array of patterns and colors, as these characteristics have allowed the cats to blend into a variety of environments. This means you might have two Arabian Maus that look totally different in terms of the color or pattern of their fur. However, they typically exhibit some combination of white, black, brown, and gray. You can also find them in red, black and white, and brown tabby.

Grooming Requirements

Because the Arabian Mau has short fur without any undercoat, grooming is really simple. Unlike some other breeds that require a consistent grooming routine, this breed is much easier. You can occasionally brush your kitty to bond with her and help her relax and feel good, as well as to help distribute the naturally occurring oils throughout the coat to keep it looking and feeling smooth and healthy.

Using a high-quality brush or comb that is designed for cats can do the trick, so consider buying at least one that you can use whenever you want to give your kitty a short grooming session that will help keep her fur looking fabulous. Other than that, you should trim your cat’s claws, clean the ears, and brush the teeth, just as you would with any other breed.

Photo credit: Gilbert Dunkley/Bigstock; Ali Barrett/Flickr; nixsimages/Flickr

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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