Co-Founder of Egyptian Mau Rescue Organisation Dies

Dr. Ismail Elkholy who co-founded the Egyptian Mau Rescue Organisation (EMRO) has died aged 67. He passed away on Monday, November 4, 2013 at a Canadian hospice. This is not a post about the glossy, American version of the Egyptian Mau, which is a popular pedigree cat (in the top 10) but the real Egyptian Maus living on the streets of Cairo or other Egyptian cities.

Feral Egyptian Mau cat in Egypt

Feral Egyptian Mau cat in Egypt

EMRO Founders Dr Dr. Ismail Elkholy and wife

EMRO Founders — Dr. Ismail Elkholy and wife

The street cats of Egypt are the genuine article – the native Mau from the homeland of this cat breed. They are descended from the cats of ancient Egypt but, sadly, today they are not worshipped (if that was ever, really the case) but persecuted, hence the need to rescue them.

I suspect that the Egyptian Maus street cats of Egypt are more purebred than the purebred ones created within the cat fancy. They actually look similar.

EMRO is quite an important cat rescue organisation because of the important history of the cat in Egypt.

EMRO was started around 2004. There are no Egyptian Mau cat breeders in Egypt. The cat fancy is a Western concept. You might see some Persian cats as the Persian is the most common pedigree cat outside of the West. However, it is not a pedigree cat in the Middle East or Asia because there is no cat fancy.

Dr. Ismail Elkholy co-founded EMRO with his wife Ms. Gloria Lauris.  They have a son, Ali. I feel that his passing needs to be recognised as he did something quite important in the world of cats, going against the grain.

Dr. Ismail Elkholy worked as a engineer and in senior management.  EMRO rescues: Native Egyptian Maus, Arabian Maus and Shirazi Maus. The word “Mau” means cat in Egyptian.

Thank you Dr. Ismail for helping to improve the lives of the street cats of Egypt. EMRO continues as far as I am aware. This is their website: EMRO.

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Co-Founder of Egyptian Mau Rescue Organisation Dies — 8 Comments

  1. I was very sad to hear of the death of Dr Ismail Elkholy. To me any person who strives for the truth is a good person.
    I have recently sent EMRO some important genetic information about the cats studied in the Feline Genome Project that does uphold the observation that the only true E Maus are in the Middle east and are not represented by the American version.
    I hope EMRO will see this as vindication of their work.

  2. A very close analysis of the DNA results in the Pentascope document by Leslie Lyons, which is her only publication which details the DNA results of all the cats studied in the Feline Genome Project, does not show anything unique or different about Egyptian cats in a Middle East or East Mediterranean context.

    http://patentscope.wipo.int/search/docservicepdf_pct/id00000019238515.pdf

    The relevant information for random-bred Egyptian cats is found on pages 235-237, and for Turkey and Cyprus pages 232-233, Israel and The Lebanon pages 233-235, Iraq and Iran pages 237-240.
    The high figures in any given population indicates belonging to that population.

    The interesting thing to notice is that cats from Luxor, Abu-Simbel, and Asuit plus quite a lot from Cairo are predominantly population 1 identical to cats from Turkey, Cyprus and Iraq.
    Cairo cats also have a significant population 2 presence which is Israel and The Lebanon.
    Only 15 of the Egyptian cat samples show some influence from Iran.
    10 Egyptian samples share some markers with Kenya-Pate and Kenya-Lamu, a unique population 8.
    This can be seen as weakening the argument that the original Egyptian Mau is a uniquely Egyptian cat but does confirm that it cannot be the ancestor of the cat fancy E Mau. . The DNA values in the Pentascope paper provides clear evidence that the cat fancy E Mau (p 140, 141) is not closely related to the true Mau of the Middle East but yet another cat fancy creation which is derived from the American Turkish Angora ( p 141, 142), American Korat ( p 148) , and even the Maine Coon ( p 137, 138), all belonging to North American population 13, and not to any cat from the Middle East.
    I have sent this information to EMRO which I trust will confirm their long-held view that the cat fancy Mau is not representative ofthe real article.
    The large number of Turkish cats in Egypt will be a revelation to most people but it does seem to confirm that the domestication of the cat took place in Anatolia. The much higher number of a single population type in Turkey and Cyprus indicates that the main flow of cats more probably was from the north and the east to Egypt rather than the other way round. The mixture of different populations occurs most markedly in Egypt indicating inflows of cats from several other regions.

    • You know far more than me about genetics etc. but my reading of the history of the cat informs me that what you say concurs with my thoughts, that the first domestic cats were in the Anatolia region perhaps spreading into Persia and fanned out from their through trade etc.. Egypt has become synonymous with the beginnings of the domestic cat but they were not the first. The Egyptians were just more high profile.

      The important point is that the history of cat breeds in the West seem to be rather pointless because there is no connection with the history. They are created. I suppose the Maine Coon is (was) a fairly natural cat (a farm cat) but all cat breeds are now distanced from their origins through breeding and some histories are fictional in any case.

  3. This is really very sad. I hope his organization doesn’t suffer too badly – I’m sure he would want it to flourish. Very sad indeed.

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