Categories: Cat Breeds

Abyssinian Cats

Abyssinian Cats Photo copyright Helmi Flick

This is a brief description of the Abyssinian Cat which probably originates in Eastern India. The first cat to be imported into the West (England) was transported by an English Army Officer from India to Ethiopia, now Abyssinia, and then to England in around 1860-70. Since that fateful moment what was a natural cat has been refined. The current main points on appearance are:

Some breed standard selections: This breed should be lithe, hard and muscular. This hints at the cat’s athleticism. The Aby should be an active and “eager” cat, fitting well into the “foreign” body type (a medium build cat). The body should be well balanced.

The head should be a “modified wedge”, a well used term in the cat fancy. It means what it says really; a triangular shaped (in three dimensions) head modified by the fact that it has to have rounded areas. The standard mentions that the head should not have “flat planes” indicating rounded and contoured lines.

The eyes should be almond shaped, large, brilliant and expressive. The Aby has small feet and slender legs. The long tail tapers from the base to the end. The coat should be close lying, fine and long enough
for the hair to have 2-3 bands of ticking (or is it 4?).

The Abyssinian cat is a tabby cat without (almost) the usual tabby markings. The cat’s “polygenes” leave tabby markings on the head and tail. Abyssinian cats are active, some might describe it differently, inquisitive and like to climb.

The historical Abyssinian color, Ruddy, is black genetically (agouti). It is called “usual” or “normal” in the UK. It is commonly called brown in other tabby patterns. Other colors: blue (dilute usual), lilac (dilute chocolate), red or sorrel, fawn (dilute sorrel) and silver (inhibitor gene). Abyssinian cats to Helmi’s thoughts on the Chausie cat.

Photos in slide show are strictly copyright Helmi Flick.


Home Page

Lots more on the Abyssinian

Abyssinian Origins – speculation

1871 Crystal Palace Cat Show



Tabby Cat Coat (extensive)


Abyssinian x Jungle Cat = Chausie

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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