I discussed how we found out about Egyptian Maus and wrestled through our concerns about purebreds, but I didn’t touch on how our particular dream came into being.
When Lou told me we could have a cat, I immediately googled Egyptian Mau NJ, and, through pure luck, found the Arietta cattery. They happened to have had a litter of kittens that were still unspoken for as of early December, so I crossed my fingers and emailed Evelyn.
When I had researched bengals, the kittens often had waiting lists so I didn’t have much hope. I expected her to say she didn’t have any, and then we would get a shelter cat at our leisure. Probably a cute little tuxedo cat.
However, she did have two kittens left – a boy and a girl. She wanted to call me to ask me some questions, which is fairly standard. Breeders should always want to ‘interview’ you to make sure you have the right environment for a pet, are getting one for the right reasons, and understand this particular breed. For instance, a house with a toddler is not a place for a kitten of any breed. Some breeds don’t go well with dogs, either. No breed goes well with someone who just wants to decorate their living room with a pretty cat. This is what the breeder is trying to figure out.
I had some specific questions about how playful the maus were, because I wanted a cat that would be a whirling dervish of energy, romping, jumping, and somersaulting around to brutally slay a piece of string. Krissy, the cat of my childhood, was a feral stray who never played, except for late at night, and if she saw you watching her, she’d stop in embarrassment. She’d later scratch you in revenge. It’s like you had seen her naked or something. Anyway, I had a whole childhood of kitten-playing to make up for.
Our other primary question centered around chewing problems. Rocky, Lou’s Maine Coon, had chewed so many cables that he had destroyed their television’s audio system.I had never had that problem with my pets, but knowing it happened with one cat was worrisome. I have five computers, two monitors, some speakers, a lamp, and some chargers on my desk right now. Lou has his own little electronics corner as well. It’d be too tempting to a chewer, not to mention disastrous to our toys.
Evelyn assured me that the cats were trained on a scratching post, and, I have to say, I have not had a problem with Wintermuse scratching or clawing anything. She only uses her scratching post. Not the couch, our curtains, our wooden floors, or my legs, unless she’s scrambling into my lap to try to steal my dinner.
As for playful… I got more than I asked for.
So, I passed the interview, so to speak, but Evelyn wanted to meet us in person as well and give us the opportunity to actually see an Egyptian Mau. We had never actually interacted with one before. Obviously that’d be a good idea before she schlepped up a kitten for us to see! Luckily, she had a cat show that very weekend about 20 minutes from us.
We saw a lot of cats and kittens that day as we waited for the Egyptian Mau kittens to have their chance. There were bengals, of course, being quite adorable like little golden tigers, as well as sleek grey cats that were slimmer cousins of Bruce Happycat. We even saw a Sphynx-like cat (perhaps a Devon rex).. and liked him. He had a regal, intelligent face like a lion. I usually don’t go for that kind of bone structure, but I just had to stop when I walked by him.
The Egyptian Mau kittens came out. They’re a rare breed with only a few thousand kittens registered with TICA every year. Arietta Cattery dominates the TICA top ten for Egyptian Maus. We didn’t know that when we contacted Evelyn. There were about five Maus being shown that day, and almost all were hers or her proteges, it seemed. They were cute, stretching up to the sparkler to show off their bellies and full-length to the judges.
Evelyn’s main question to us was whether or not we wanted a ‘smoke’ or a black-on-black Egyptian Mau. They are her specialty, and there had been two in the litter. When we saw the silvers and the smokes, we were sure a silver was for us. The smokes are definitely very unusual, though – like an impressionistic smear of black and dark grey. It’s like the cat isn’t really there.
We asked Evelyn when we could see the actual girl kitten we might take, because we wouldn’t want to buy a cat with no idea of its personality. She sent us these pictures and agreed to meet us a few days later.
This is Wintermuse with her mother, Makhmet, who is a smoke. Smokes can give births to silvers and vice versa. When I saw this series of pictures, this is exactly what I emailed Lou: “In pics 1-4, aww, she is making biscuits and trying to take flight with her ears!”
Then I saw this photo.
I instantly dubbed her Punkeh Mewster. That head tilt, those glowing eyes. That was a mischievous cat that would knife you in an alley after asking you if you felt lucky.
That photo would stay with me when strange things began happening.
After we took home our little girl, Evelyn uncovered some more baby pictures of her, seen below. Both bengal and Egyptian Mau kittens go through a ‘fuzzies’ stage where their overcoat obscures their coloring. As of today, her broken necklace, a light grey here, is now black, and her spots are not at all muddled.