This is a page on the Abyssinian cat written for children.
The Abyssinian cat is a breed of cat. More than 100 years ago a group of people living in Great Britain who loved cats formed a group that they called The National Cat Club and decided that a different and unusual looking cat that had come from Ethiopia in Africa should be recognized as a special cat so they made this cat into a breed of cat. They did that by making sure that over time the parents and grandparents of Abyssinian cats were also Abyssinian cats. This meant that the kittens were ‘purebred’.
They also made sure that the names of these cats were put into a book so people knew the family history of all the cats. That made them ‘pedigree cats’. Every true Abyssinian cat born was listed in this book. And the Abyssinian cat became more special looking and different from other cats over a 100 years because this group of cat lovers made sure that the kittens of Abyssinian cats were really nice looking Abyssinian cats. Over time other groups of cat lovers in many countries got involved.
The Abyssinian cat is named after the country in Africa called Abyssinia because that is where the first Abyssinian cats came from. Abyssinia is now called Ethiopia. It is in the north east part of Africa. Abyssinia is near Egypt and the pictures of cats from ancient Egypt look like the Abyssinian cat. Maybe they were Abyssinian cats. We are not sure.
The story is that the first Abyssinian cats were brought to Great Britain in Europe by an officer in the British army who had fought in the Abyssinian War. It was 1868 when this happened. The officer would probably have brought his cat back on a ship. It must have been a long and difficult journey for a cat.
One of the first Abyssinian cats was a cat called Zula Zula. He is a famous Abyssinian cat that you can see in the picture on this page. All of the Abyssinian cats that you see today come from these cats of over 100 years ago. That is what makes them true Abyssinian cats.
The Abyssinian cat has a special coat. It looks really nice. It is what is called a tabby coat but it is different to the normal tabby coat. The coat has a salt and pepper look about it. This is the main thing that makes the Abyssinian cat different from all other cats. The color of the coat is usually a sort of sandy brown.
The size of the Abyssinian is neither large nor small. This is an average sized cat. The ears are large and body is slender.
The people who made the Abyssinian cat a cat breed also gave it different colored coats. One is a blue color and another is a rusty color. They did this by making sure that a cat with a different colored coat mated with an Abyssinian cat so that the kittens had a new coat.
The coat is quite short but there is a long haired Abyssinian cat that is called a “Somali cat“. This cat is also named after a country in North Africa: Somalia, which is next to Ethiopia.
The Abyssinian cat is called an “Aby” by people who look after this cat. They say that the Aby likes to be noticed and that he or she demands attention from his human companion. The Aby loves to talk to people and has a sweet voice. The Aby is a loving cat companion.
The nice character and the way this cat looks make it one of the most popular cat breeds today. It is not the most popular cat breed but about the 5th most popular.
- To parents: the history of the Abyssinian cat as stated on this page is simplified for obvious reasons. You can read more about Zula Zula on this page. See also a painting, Boucher La Toilette, from 1742, with what seems to be an Abyssinian cat in it.
- Globe credit: By Ssolbergj (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons.
- The Helmi pictures in the collage are extracted from the originals which are against a colored background.