Arabian Mau: They Thrive as Wild Cats, but They Choose to Be By Your Side

Gorgeous Arabian Mau cat lying in his bed
Martha Harvey
Written by Martha Harvey

If you are in search of a feline companion that is highly independent and will not clash with your long working hours, you may consider getting an Arabian Mau. They are very adaptable and get along well with older children and other pets, but keep in mind that the Mau can challenge your other cats for dominance. Of course, there are other options for you if you’re looking for an independent and undemanding cat—such as the ever-popular Russian Blue. You might wonder, then, why you should choose the Arabian Mau at all. Let us tell you why.

As we have mentioned, if you’re looking for a cat that can work themselves around your busy schedule, this cat is a great choice. The Arabian Mau is a natural breed—which means that these cats have a strong immune system and good health.

Gorgeous Arabian Mau cat in the middle of the road

Although they are highly self-sufficient, they will follow you around the house when they are in need of attention. These cats usually crave contact with the outside world, so you may be unable to keep them as strictly indoor cats. But rest assured that they will return to you each day after they’ve had their fill of adventure.

In this article, you will learn everything you should know about this cat breed. From origins to personality, health, grooming, size, and why you shouldn’t be surprised if your kitty brings her prey to you as a present.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: High

  • Grooming: Low maintenance

  • Health: Very good

  • All Around Friendliness: Good

  • Exercise Needs: Very active and requires daily exercise

Cat Breed GroupShort-Haired, Natural Breed
Weight8-16 pounds
Lifespan12-14 years

Arabian Mau is a natural breed that evolved from the African wildcat. This breed is considered to be over 1000 years old. They originated from the Arabian Peninsula where they became highly adaptable to the hot and arid climate. Expansion of cities into deserts made this breed venture to urban areas in search of food, and they were quickly domesticated.

This breed got their name and recognition thanks to the efforts of Petra Mueller, the director of the Middle East Cat Society. It wasn’t until 2009 that Arabian Maus were permitted to participate in cat shows.

Two Arabian Mau cats lext to a car

The size of this breed can vary from medium to large, and when compared to other breeds, their frame is strong and not slender. They are very muscular cats with long legs, oval paws, and medium-length tail that tapers towards the tip. Their ears are large, highly set on their round head. Their eyes are oval and on most occasions green.

The fur is short and without an undercoat, so shedding is minimal—making them easy to maintain. The Arabian Mau’s coat can come in a multitude of different patterns and colors, which helps them blend in with their natural environment. They usually have a combination of white, black, brown, red, gray, or tabby.

The Arabian Mau has a loving temperament, and they are very devoted to their owner. Besides that, this breed is highly active and agile, independent, playful, and quiet. They can be overbearing only when they are in need of something. In those occasions, they will follow their owner and vocalize their needs.

Because they are so adaptable, they are good for homes with children older than 6, and they tend to behave nicely with other pets. Their curious nature prevents them from being afraid of strangers, so don’t be surprised if your cat greets your guests at the front door.

Lovable Arabian Mau cat lying down

A thing to consider if you keep other cats is that both male and female Maus are very dominant, and will certainly challenge your other cat. Because of the desert origins of this breed, Maus are extremely good hunters. Don’t be surprised if you find leftovers of your cat’s hunted prey on your front door.

They are frisky eaters, and you won’t have trouble finding the perfect food for your cat. Just choose the type of food that is appropriate for your cat’s age and activity level and stick with the recommended amounts labeled on the packaging.

One more great thing about this breed is that it has very strong immunity and no known genetic health problems. However, like all the other cats they are prone to common feline diseases, so keep your cat vaccinated and don’t forget about regular vet check-ups. And because this breed comes from an extremely warm region, it is best if you don’t leave them exposed to low temperatures.

Main Highlights

  • Although this breed is over 1000 years old, it was only officially acknowledged in 2008 by the World Cat Federation.

  • They are highly affectionate and devoted to their owner which makes them a perfect companion.

  • Maus are very social with older children, other pets, and strangers.

  • The Arabian Mau is full of energy and requires active play sessions every day. Lack of activity can lead to boredom and obesity which can impact the cat’s health

  • Usually, this breed is quiet, but when they are in a talk-active mood, they can get loud because of their high vocal range. This only happens in instances when a Mau wants something from their owner. Otherwise, they are very independent.

  • Their fur is easy to maintain, and perfect for people who like to keep their house cat hair free.

  • The Arabian Mau is a frisky eater, and you won’t have trouble finding food that your cat likes. Just make sure that you are not overfeeding your cat, and always use food that is appropriate for your cat’s age and activity level.

  • This breed is overall healthy and doesn’t have any known hereditary conditions.

Breed History

The Arabian Mau is one of the oldest natural breeds of cats and has been living in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia for more than a 1000 years—usually as a street cat. It was recognized as a breed only recently in 2008 by the World Cat Federation, thanks to the efforts of Petra Mueller, the director of the Middle East Cat Society who took the initiative and organized a selective breeding program of this breed.

Lovable Arabian Mau sitting and a car on the street in the backfground

Ms. Mueller took notes on the behavioral traits of the cats in the program. She was the one who named the breed Arabian Mau. In 2009, the World Cat Federation permitted the participation of this breed in shows. Thanks to the efforts of Ms. Mueller, this breed is now known and sought after all around the world.


The Arabian Mau can range in size from medium to large. Usually, females are smaller than males and can weigh from 8 to 14 pounds. Males can weigh from 9 to 16 pounds. Compared to other breeds they have a stronger frame and are more muscular.

Personality and Character

This breed is often described as loyal, playful, social, active, intelligent, energetic, and agile. This breed is famous for their loving temperament and devotion to their owner. This breed is not famous for being a lap cat, but they do seek you out from time to time for their daily dose of affection.

Lovable Arabian Mau Kitten

Because they are so energetic, they need an owner who can spend enough time playing with them to help them burn all that extra energy. They also get along well with older children who can keep up with their playful nature.

An Arabian Mau will get along just fine with a dog, but both females and males are very dominant, and they will enforce their will on other cats in the household. Also, males are very protective of their territory, so if your male Mau is permitted outside, be aware that he will be the sole ruler of your backyard.

Health and Potential Problems

The Arabian Mau is generally a healthy and resilient breed, with strong immunity. Due to the “short” history of this breed, genetic diseases are yet unknown. Even though this breed is generally healthy, you should still vaccinate your cat for all common feline diseases and take them to regular vet appointments. Watch out for:

  • Asthma/Bronchial Disease is a chronic inflammation of the airways. During the asthma attack, the airway will swell and tighten—making it difficult for a cat to breathe. Symptoms of asthma are chronic coughing, panting, and wheezing. Common triggers for an asthma attack can include allergies, cigarette smoke, and obesity. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, take her to the vet so they can prescribe a course of treatment.

  • Calicivirus is a highly common and easily transmitted virus amongst cats. It causes ulceration in nose, mouth, air-pipes, muscles, and the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of calicivirus are weakness, fever, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing. It usually takes two or three weeks before the cat will totally recover.

  • Chills can be caused by a cold, low blood sugar, or pain. If your cat has just spent some time in the cold, offer them food and water and try to rub them to get them warm. If your cat is not responding to your attempts and continues to shake, it may be a sign of a serious illness.

  • Dental problems can occur with any breed if the owner doesn’t take care of the condition of their cat’s teeth. To prevent this problem, start brushing your cat’s teeth from a young age, or use dental rinses. The signs that your cat is experiencing dental problems include loss of appetite, weight, and lethargy. It is important to take your cat to the vet so they can assess the situation.

  • Diarrhea in cats is usually caused by viral or bacterial infection. It can also be caused by the ingestion of toxins or spoiled food. Persisting diarrhea can be caused by the inflammation of the small bowel. If you suspect that your cat only ingested some bad food, there is no need to take her to the vet. Just provide her with plenty of water and the right kind of food. If the diarrhea persists, you should take a stool sample to your vet so they can run tests and figure out what is wrong.

  • Fleas are small blood-sucking parasites that are transferred from cat to cat. Some cats can develop an allergic reaction to flea bites that can lead to constant scratching and the occurrence of wounds. There are many flea products that are efficient and safe for cat and humans, and they will keep your cat protected.

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a disease in which the muscle of the heart is replaced with scar tissue. The first symptom is a heart murmur which can be detected during the regular vet exam. As the heart function declines, symptoms like rapid heart rate, lethargy, and the build-up of fluids in the stomach can be seen.

  • Lyme Disease is transmitted to cat by infected ticks. The bite can cause infection and inflammation of the joints. In severe cases, it can cause kidney failure. Symptoms include high temperature, lethargy, and a stiff walk. If caught on time Lyme disease can be treated. It is best to protect your cat against ticks before she ventures outside.

  • Obesity is common in cats just like with people. It is more often seen in cats that stay indoors all the time because they lack activity. The course of treatment is to lower the food intake and involve your cat in some play sessions.

  • Ringworm is a condition in which circular patches with red in the center appear on the cat’s skin. It can lead to hair loss. It is highly contagious and is transmitted from one cat to the other. Humans can get infected also.

Even though the average lifespan of an Arabian Mau is 12-14 years, with good care, they can live up to 20 years.

Care Features

The Arabian Mau has a very active nature. They require at least 15 minutes a day of active exercises to maintain their health. If you have a closed backyard, you can let your cat run around and climb trees to burn all of her energy. If your cat is indoor only, invest in a cat tree and lots of toys that will keep your cat occupied and help her release all of her energy.

Calico arabian mau cat lying down at the window

If you plan to take your Mau to cat shows, the good news is that they are highly intelligent and if you start from a young age your cat can learn a lot of tricks. Learning obedience, good behavior, and socializing your cat from when she is a kitty will shape her personality in a good way.

Feeding Schedule

The Arabian Mau is a ravenous eater. This breed’s heritage guarantees that these cats aren’t picky like other breeds can be. Their food should consist of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. It is up to you to choose if you will go with kibble or canned food, and you can always mix it up. You can make homemade food for your cat if you like. Your cat will enjoy her food all the more. Also, always keep fresh water easily accessible for your cat.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

The Mau’s coat is short and without any undercoat—leading to minimal shedding. The color of the coat can vary, but the World Cat Federation identifies three: tabby, bicolor, and white.

arabian mau cat lying on the floor

They are perfect for people who don’t like seeing cat hair all around their furniture. And because the Arabian Mau takes care of themselves very well, you need to groom them only two times a week to get rid of dead cells and bring that glow to their fur.

Keep your cat’s teeth clean with regular brushing or by using dental rinses. Also, their nails need occasional trimming.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

These cats get along well with children older than 6. They are affectionate towards them. Usually, they will follow them around looking to interact and play. They also get along well with dogs, but always make first interactions with your dog secure on the leash. If you have cats, be prepared for the Mau to get into a power struggle for dominance. That doesn’t mean that they won’t get along well with other cats; they just like to be in charge.

Wrap Up

To wrap everything up, the Arabian Mau is a highly intelligent breed full of love and devotion to their owner. They will make a great addition to any family. Their playful and energetic nature will keep you and your children occupied and entertained.

The variety of colors and patterns of their fur will mesmerize every cat lover. You can be sure that with an Arabian Mau, you are getting a loving companion for many years to come because this is a very healthy and low-maintenance breed.

arabian mau kitten in a litter box

We recommend this cat to all but those that already have a dominant pet living in their house because it could lead to power struggles. Also, if what you’re looking for is a lap cat, then the Arabian Mau may not be the one for you because they show affection in a different way.

Do you think the Arabian Mau is for you? Share your thoughts and opinions in the section below. If you’re already living with an Arabian Mau, we’d love to hear about your experience too!

About the author
Martha Harvey
Martha Harvey

Martha Harvey is a skilled veterinarian and a member of American Veterinary Medical Association from Greeley, Colorado. She has 20 years experience of working in Animal Hospital. Martha loves all of her patients, but her favorite one is the Russian Blue cat Stitch, who lives with her.