Thursday, 23 August 2012

Return from holiday with new ideas re publishing a book/blog

Having just spent three weeks in Benahavis, Southern Spain, I feel refreshed and ready to take a new approach to my half written book.  Several people have suggested that e-publishing is the way to go, no longer associated with vanity publishing.

As I have only written the first three chapters (the usual requirement from an agent reading a memoir)....this now means a busy winter finishing the book.  At the back of the book is the A-Z of cat breeds, and most of those have been written or published previously in a newspaper.  E.g.

A-Z of Cats

The Egyptian Mau is a fascinating cat, not only because of its past history, but because of its delightful personality and striking appearance.  The Mau (mau is the Egyptian word for cat) has been clearly identified in the artwork of the ancient Egyptians, leaving no question in the minds of many experts that the Egyptian Mau is indeed the cat domesticated from a spotted subspecies of the African Wild Cat by this unique culture. To gaze upon this beautiful and engaging creature is an opportunity to view a living relic.

The Mau or Miw was the Ancient Egyptian name for the divine household cat. It is believed the Mau is a natural breed which originated in Cairo. It is a very affectionate and playful breed of cat and is one of the rare breeds that doesn’t object to being walked on a lead.  Maus are intelligent, active and very playful cats. They love toys, and many learn to retrieve as they really enjoy interacting with their owners. They are reputed to have the fastest reflexes of any domestic cat, and are formidable hunters if allowed outside.  Maus generally get along very well with other animals including dogs.  They bond strongly to their owners, but are sometimes, initially, shy of strangers.  They are very intelligent and stubborn cats. They learn fast and like to have their own way. They can open doors, cupboards and drawers and love to investigate anything new.  Maus are still a relatively rare breed in the UK with fewer than 200 kittens being registered with the GCCF each year.

The Egyptian Mau has the distinction of being the only natural spotted breed of domestic cat. An extremely intelligent animal, the Mau places a great importance on family, both human and their own, and is fiercely loyal in his devotion to them. They are moderately active and often express their happiness by chortling in a soft melodious voice and wiggling their tails at great speed while treading with their forepaws.  With an elegant body that is randomly spotted, banded legs and tail, expressive gooseberry green eyes, distinctive mascara lines, a worried expression on the face, and a graceful cheetah-like stride, it is no wonder that the Mau attracts such a tremendous amount of attention at cat shows.

The Egyptian Mau is always spotted and comes in three colours: bronze, silver and smoke. Bronze colour has dark brown to seal spots on a dark to lighter bronze background. Silver colour has black spots on a pure silver white background, with smoke colour having black spots on a smoke background. Coat colour can take up to 15 months to fully develop.  The spots on an Egyptian Mau are random in their distribution over the body and vary in size as well as shape. They can be round, oval or irregular or a mixture of all three. Ideally the contrast between dark spots and ground colour should be distinct. Broken necklaces on the chest, buttons on the stomach and that all-important "M" on the forehead complete the pattern. Eyes are an expressive, almond-shaped beautiful gooseberry green and can take over a year to reach their full colour.

The role of the Mau in the religion, mythology, and everyday life of the Egyptian conveys the degree of affection and respect in which these cats were held. They were worshipped as deities, cherished as pets, protected by laws, and mummified and mourned upon their death.

Their history in North America began with their importation in 1956 by the exiled Russian princess, Nathalie Troubetskoy. One day, while she was staying in Italy, a young boy gave her a silver spotted female kitten that he had been keeping in a shoe box. The kitten had been given to the boy by a diplomat working in the Middle East. Troubetskoy strived to learn more about the kitten. Her research led her to conclude that the kitten was an Egyptian Mau. Troubetskoy became determined to save the Mau.  She rescued some of the remaining Maus, and using her political connections, she obtained several more through the Syrian Embassy. Her first Maus were Gregorio, a black male, and Lulu, a silver female, and Geppa, a smoke male. In 1956, Troubetskoy and three Maus a silver female Fatima Baba, a bronze male Fatima Jojo, and the third was apparently never bred, emigrated to the United States. Once there, Troubetskoy established her Fatima Cattery and promoted the breed. Many modern Maus can trace their ancestry back to Troubetskoy’s cats.

Recognition by The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) for championship competition came in 1977. In the past, all Egyptian Maus in the U.S. and Canada traced their ancestry to two of the original imports from the Fatima Cattery. Recent importations have enriched and broadened the available gene pool for breeders.

The breed benefited from the publicity provided by the 2004 “Catwoman” film that starred an Egyptian Mau as well as Halle Berry who, it was reported liked the breed very much!  In the  movie, the cat 'Midnight'  brought Patience Phillips (Halle) back to life as Catwoman, (well, there were three Maus playing the role as well as a computer-generated Mau, and it was part of the fun of the film to recognise where the cats swapped scenes.)

So now it means, more research and to write, write, write!!

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