The modern history of the Mau began in the early 1900s, when fanciers in Italy, Switzerland and France worked to develop the breed. However, World War II decimated the Mau population and by the mid-1940s the Mau was almost extinct in Europe.
The efforts of the exiled Russian princess Nathalie Troubetskoy brought the Mau back from the edge. While in Italy, she rescued some of the remaining Maus and, using her political connections, obtained several more through the Syrian embassy. In 1956, Troubetskoy and three Maus immigrated to the United States. Once there, Troubetskoy established the ‘Fatima’ cattery and promoted the breed; many modern Maus can trace their ancestry back to Troubetskoy’s cats.
In the early 1980s, another breeder succeeded in bringing 13 Maus into America, paving the way for more imports, and in the 1980s and 1990s more imports further enlarged the gene pool. Before the introduction of the new lines, the Mau gene pool was very restricted and the breed suffered from a number of hereditary problems; the new bloodlines brought increased genetic diversity and stability, and careful selective breeding has seen the health of the breed improve significantly in recent years.
Dr Melissa Bateson introduced Maus to the UK from the USA in 1998; Melissa was soon joined by other British enthusiasts who worked to promote the breed in the UK. The Egyptian Mau was recently granted Championship Status in the UK by the GCCF with the result that from June 1st 2007, Maus can now be shown for GCCF titles.