- This cat should have a well-balanced overall appearance i.e. not bred to extreme and it should overtly give the impression of being an athletic, muscular and active cat.
- This is a shorthaired cat with an agouti ticked coat which is warm and glowing. The ticking should be distinct and even.
- The history is unclear notwithstanding that there are many theories about the origins of this cat breed in part because its name hints of the African country Abyssinia which is now known as Ethiopia (click to read about the Abyssinian cat origins). There are theories that the first cats were first imported from Abyssinia and then selectively bred but there are no records and therefore the cat is possibly an example of selective breeding of random bred cats with the first Abyssinian to be exhibited at a cat show in England. The first Abyssinian registration in 1896 can be found in the studbook of the National Cat Club. Desmond Morris suggests that some cats were brought back from a short war in Abyssinia and mated with carefully chosen British shorthaired cats to develop a new breed of ticked cats.
- The first Abyssinian cats were transported to America from England in the early 1900s and then top-quality Abyssinians followed in the 1930s. These cats formed the foundation for American breeding programs.
- The first Abyssinian kittens in the United States are in Volume 19 of the Cat Fanciers’ Association Studbook registry dated around 1938.
- The cat has evolved under the cat associations from the early cats which look like typical random bred cats to the modern more refined, slender and athletic-looking cat breed that we have today due to selective breeding (click this to read about the first Abyssinian Zula Zula looking less slender). Cat breeders would describe the Abyssinian cat body as lithe, strong, muscular and “foreign” in type.
- The ears are large and flared outwards. The eyes are large and almond-shaped.
- This is a tabby cat but the tabby pattern is limited to the head and the tail. There is no tabby pattern on the torso. There are no rings on the tail but it is tipped. The forehead has the classic “M” tabby cat marking. The eyes look as if they’d been eyelinered.
- The Cat Fanciers’ Association lists four colours namely, ruddy, red (cinnamon gene), blue and fawn. Gloria Stephens in her book Legacy of the Cat describes red as “sorrel”.
- As for their personality, the Abyssinian loves to talk to their human companion. They will let you know when they want something and they are a loyal and loving companion. Remember though that each cat is an individual with their own character. Not only do they look athletic, they are athletic being a skilled and graceful climber.
- The long-haired version of this cat breed is the Somali, one of the most attractive of all cat breeds.
Abyssinian cat rescue UK
There is an Aby rescue service in the UK. Check it out:
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