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Guest Article: Omani Mau Street Cats in Oman and A Memoir About Saving One by Chitra Ramaswami. #CatMemoir #CatsofTwitter #RescueAnimals @womenonwriting @KMSgroi

I have an interesting guest article for readers today about Omani Mau street cats and the story of a memoir that came out of recusing one!

Struggling to come to terms with an unexpected diagnosis, author Chitra Ramaswami had returned home to Oman seeking a sense of familiarity. What she discovered instead was a very special cat who changed her life. Rumi is an Omani Mau, and while there are many types of Mau cats, this type is a street cat in Oman. These cats are often discarded, mistreated, and abused on the streets (mostly in the captial of Muscat) and left to fend for themselves in horrible conditions. Chitra had never had a cat, and didn’t plan on one. Then, she had to learn to take in one who has problems of his own dealing with abuse from children that left him with an injury, along with harassment from stronger cats as he was forced to survive on the streets. Look at him here in this photos, he’s so cute!

Rumi. Photo provided by author.

Chitra and her sweet street cat learned to love each other, and eventually, she wrote a book about their story, which was recently published! I haven’t read the book, but the story seemed like one I wanted to help spread, since I not only love advocation for cats, but I also love to support women authors, authors from diverse backgrounds, and fellow rescue cat owners!

If you’d like to learn a little more about what an Omani Mau is like, please read on for Chitra’s article!


Ever heard of the Omani Mau?
by Chitra Ramaswami, author of But First, Rumi

Oman is a Middle Eastern country lying on the east of the Arabian Sea. The land’s trademark is its rather untouched stretches of beaches and mountains, a rarity in today’s times. Known for its hospitality, don’t be surprised if you’re invited over to a local’s house for a cup of coffee and homegrown dates. However, the street cat of Oman, otherwise called the Omani Mau is a treasure relatively unknown to the rest of the world.

A DNA test conducted on Rumi, an Omani Mau of internet fame, by Basepaws – a pioneer in feline genetic testing has yielded fascinating results. Rumi’s genes reflect an interesting mix of qualities, likely due to the mating of the local street cat with cats who’ve accompanied their humans as they migrated to Oman over the years from all over the world. Anyone who has interacted with an Omani Mau will agree that the standout traits in Rumi’s DNA are indeed commonly seen in the local Mau (meaning street cat in Arabic)

So, what are these unique traits?

Making its debut, here is –

The Omani Mau checklist:

  • The Straight – A Immunity Scorer: Known to have robust immunity, it’s no surprise, Rumi’s DNA tested negative for 17 common feline genetic diseases.
  • The Smooth Talker: Most Maus are expert conversationalists like the Thai and Siamese cats. Chatting with the humans or even with each other from time to time, these felines don’t like to leave much unsaid.
  • The Dog-like Cat: Expect a Mau to follow their human from room to room and stay close. They are deeply loyal, much like the Royal Peterbald, and have no qualms expressing their affection for you. “Aloof” is not a word you associate with this lot.
  • The Gymnast: Maus are all muscle with athletic bodies like the African Savannah and are highly trainable. They are happiest when given sufficient playtime when they can leap to their heart’s content.
  • The Desert Cat Advantage: Additionally, the Omani street cats appear to be slender versions of the original desert cat – The Arabian Mau and have retained many of their characteristics. With slanted, almond-shaped eyes and wild cat spots, these felines are head turners for sure. They also have large ears, allowing them to release excess heat and tolerate higher temperatures better than the average cat.

Now, wouldn’t you like to get to know an Omani Mau? I’d say, start with Rumi.

If you’d like to read Rumi’s story, please click on the link below:

But First, Rumi is available worldwide on Amazon as e-book and paperback. Also available in select bookstores.

About But First, Rumi

Print Length: 158 Pages

Genre: Memoir

When Chitra discovered a stray cat in need of help, she never thought they’d wind up saving each other. Struggling to come to terms with an unexpected diagnosis, Chitra returned home to Oman seeking a sense of familiarity. What she discovered instead was a very special cat who changed her life. But First, Rumi is the story of how, day by day, Rumi and Chitra got to know one another, and as she learned to love the little stray, she began to see greater life lessons about herself, her family, her home country and her place in the world. 

What unfolds when girl and cat meet? What happens when you follow your heart? What if the world is not as it seems? Is it worth taking a chance? 

Chitra Ramaswami, Biography –

Chitra Ramaswami was born and raised in the Middle East by Indian parents, and her childhood was spent reading every book she could lay her hands on or writing stories and lines of poetry. As a result of traveling the world extensively and being a natural linguist, she is an amalgamation of many cultures and tastes and is constantly looking for the next experience she can immerse herself in.

Chitra Ramaswami, author.

When she isn’t writing, Chitra rides horses, climbs mountains and is a passionate advocate for the Omani Mau/ street cat. She currently lives in New York with her husband and a very spoiled cat and hamster duo. 

Find her online at her website.


On March 15, the Women on Writing blog, The Muffin, celebrated the launch of Chitra Ramaswami’s book But First, Rumi. Go HERE to read an interview with the author, find out more information about this touching memoir, and win a copy for yourself, as well as see the upcoming tour dates! 

Thank you to Women on Writing for asking me to participate! Now I’m going to go learn more about Omani street cats and how I can help them, how about you?

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