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Cat Defender

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Once Worshiped as Gods, Maus Are Now Being Poisoned to Death by Egyptian Authorities


Their lineage can be traced back to the days of the pharaohs when they were worshiped as gods. Sadly, today they roam the mean streets of Cairo fending for themselves as best they can all the while the Egyptian authorities are attempting to poison them out of existence.

They are the Maus and they are known for their distinctive black spots and "M" markings on their foreheads. They also have black ringed tails and legs, a black stripe down their backs, and large gooseberry-colored eyes. These intelligent and mischievous felines are also capable of running at up to thirty-six miles per hour!

Although it is now known exactly how many homeless Maus live in Cairo, there are certainly dozens -- if not indeed hundreds -- of them. On the street they face the same dangers that plague homeless cats everywhere: starvation (See photo above of a Mau fishing through the trash), predation, disease, the elements, and motorists who run them down for sport. Worst still, the Egyptian authorities consider them to be pests and have begun systematically poisoning them as well as gunning down homeless dogs. The Egyptians' barbaric treatment of cats and dogs is on a par with how the Greeks and Israelis deal with their unwanted pets. (See Cat Defender post of November 7, 2005 entitled "Israeli Colonialists in Gaza and the West Bank Leave Behind Thousands of Cats to Die of Thirst, Hunger, and Predation.")

Fortunately, things are beginning to look up for the Maus now that they have found their white knight. Her name is Gloria Lauris (See photo below) and she is a transplanted Canadian and founder of Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization (EMRO). According to its web site, www.emaurescue.org, EMRO has formulated a comprehensive plan to save not only homeless Maus in Cairo but also to support breeding efforts both inside and outside of Egypt.

Through the establishment of a shelter, an adoption office, and a sanctuary, homeless Maus will be trapped, vaccinated, and sterilized. An effort will be made to find homes for those tame enough to the adopted while the remainder will be allowed to live out their lives at a sanctuary.

Because of extensive inbreeding, Maus born abroad often suffer from cataracts, heart problems, and compromised immune systems and in an effort to remedy this situation EMRO is now selling some of the cats that it traps to breeders outside of Egypt. Following the success of Halle Berry's Catwoman, where the cats were prominently featured, demand for them has soared in the West with pedigreed Maus fetching as much as $1,500 apiece. Moreover, researchers at the University of California at Davis have extracted DNA from a mummified cat which they think will clearly establish a direct link between the Maus of the pharaohs and their twenty-first century cousins.

Although EMRO's efforts to save the fabled Maus are highly commendable, it is nonetheless disturbing that the organization is not doing more to pressure the Egyptian authorities into stopping their slaughter of homeless cats and dogs in Cairo. These unfortunate animals have not committed any crimes and it is reprehensible that they are being poisoned and shot down.

Secondly, although breeding cats may be justified under some circumstances, the fact remains that there are more cats than there are homes for them. More to the point, EMRO's plan to breed more Maus in Cairo while it is at the same time sterilizing them en masse is not only barbaric but hypocritical as well. Of course, the group would no doubt argue that it needs the money that it earns from breeding pedigreed Maus in order to help defray the costs of rescuing feral Maus.

Despite EMRO's good intentions, their emphasis should be on saving the lives of the Maus already living in this world as opposed to breeding more of them.

Photos: EMRO (Mau in trash) and Mohamed Muslemany, NBC News (Gloria Lauris and Mau).