Egyptian Maus are a small- to medium-sized short-haired cat breed. Along with the Bahraini Dilmun Cat, they are one of the few naturally spotted breeds of domesticated cat. The spots of the Mau occur on only the tips of the hairs of their coat. The breed conformation is described by The Cornell Book of Cats as a balance between the compactness of a Burmese and the slim elegance of a Siamese. Its medium-length body is muscular, with the hind legs longer than the front, giving the Mau the appearance of standing on tiptoes when upright.
They frequently land on their back feet when taking a leap, making them appear rather haughty and kangaroo-like. The Egyptian Mau is the fastest of the domestic cats, with its longer hind legs, and unique flap of skin extending from the flank to the back knee, providing for greater agility and length of stride. Maus have been clocked running more than 30 mph (48 km/h). Another behavior, quite common in happy Maus, has been described as "wiggle-tail." The cat, whether female or male, wiggles and twitches its tail, and appears to be marking territory, also known as Spraying (animal behavior), but during this behavior the Mau is not releasing urine. Even veteran Mau owners are known to check after a joyous Mau does this little dance. Facial expressions may change according to mood, and eye color may change from green to turquoise.