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What are the differences between these two cat breeds?
The Mau’s most striking characteristic is his spotted coat in silver, bronze, or smoke, closely followed by his large gooseberrygreen eyes. He is a mediumsized cat with a muscular body and a slightly rounded wedgeshaped head topped with mediumsize to large ears. With hind legs slightly longer than the front legs, he gives the appearance of standing on tiptoe on his small, dainty feet. A mediumlong tail is thick at the base, tapering slightly at the end.
The mediumlength coat has a silky, fine texture in the smoke coloration and a dense, resilient texture in the silver and bronze colors. The body is covered randomly with distinct spots that can be small or large, and round, oblong, or other shapes. The forehead bears an M shape, the cheeks are adorned with mascara lines, and the tail is banded, ending with a dark tip. On the pale belly are dark spots that resemble vest buttons.
In addition to the silver, bronze, and smoke colors, Maus can come in solid black, blue silver, bluespotted, blue smoke, and solid blue, but these colors are not permitted in the show ring. These cats of a different color make fine pets, however, sharing all the other characteristics of the Mau.
Ocicat stands out for his spotted coat, which gives him the look of a small wildcat. The short, smooth, satiny coat comes in 12 colors, all of which feature dark thumbprintshaped spots on a light background. Like the Abyssinian, which was one of his ancestors, the Ocicat has what’s called an agouti coat, meaning that each hair has several bands of color, the exception is the tip of the tail. The spots are formed where those bands of color meet.
Rows of round spots run along the spine, and more spots are scattered across the shoulders and rear end, extending down the legs. Broken “bracelets” of spots encircle the legs and broken necklaces adorn the throat. Large, wellscattered spots appear on the side of the body and on the belly. The tail has what looks like horizontal brushstrokes going ‘round it, sometimes alternating with spots. Markings around the eyes and on the cheeks make the Ocicat look as if he has been at work with a mascara tube. The forehead is marked with an M and small spots cover the lower neck and shoulders.
Some Ocicats have classic, mackerel and ticked tabby coats, which are beautiful but aren’t correct for the show ring. Those cats have the same great Ocicat personality, however, and make wonderful pets. The Ocicat has a mediumsize to large body. He is muscular yet graceful. Large ears corner the modified wedgeshaped head. Some Ocicats have tufts of fur that extend vertically from the tips of the ears. Large almondshaped eyes angle slightly upward and can be any color except blue. The lengthy tail has a dark tip.
When the Egyptian Mau is happy, you know it. He vocalizes, called chortling, in a quiet, pleasant voice, swishes his tail rapidly, and kneads with his front paws. What makes him happy is being with his family, to whom he is fiercely devoted, or showing off his hunting prowess by chasing and retrieving a tossed toy or stalking and pouncing on a wriggling lure at the end of a fishing pole toy.
This is a moderately to highly active cat. He likes to jump and climb and will appreciate a tall cat tree, a window perch or two, and a sturdy scratching post that allows him to stretch out to full height. The Mau also enjoys playing in the water. Don’t be surprised to find him dipping a paw into your koi pond or aquarium, turning on the tap in the bathroom or kitchen, or splashing water out of your pool, or his water dish.
Egyptian Mau prefers family members to anyone else. When he’s not playing fetch, he enjoys sitting in a lap and being worshipped, just as his ancestors may have been. The Mau has the distinction of being the fastest domestic housecat, as she can run at speeds of up to 30 mph.
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