PEDIGREE CATS OF THE WORLD (A to Z) – THE ABYSSINIAN
This breed got its name from its origins of Ethiopia which was formerly known as Abyssinia.
These cats are thought to be the oldest breed of cats known. It isn’t known when they first appeared but may be a direct descendant of the sacred cats pictured in ancient Egyptian paintings and sculptures.
It is said that Captain Barrett Leonard returned from the Abyssinian wars with possibly two cats, one being called Zula which may have started the breed as it is today, but there is no confirmed record.
In 1871, the breed obtained a prize at the first official cat show held at Crystal Palace.
Abys are slender and muscular cats. They have quite short, dense fur which is characterised by distinct ticking which means each individual hair has bands of alternating dark and light colouring. It feels soft to the touch and has a lustrous sheen.
The coat is always ticked, making it look like a small wild cat. The original colour is called Usual (rich golden-orange with black ticking), The other five main colours are Chocolate, Sorrel (copper ticked with chocolate), Fawn (light beige with dark beige ticking), Blue and Lilac. Blue Abys are a bluish-grey with a creamy stomach and slate blue ticking. Fawn is the least common colour. New colours are being introduced. The Abyssinian has large ears which are quite far apart and their green, amber or hazel eyes are almond shaped.
Abyssinians are very playful and inquisitive. They are athletic and very good hunters whilst having the reputation of being clowns.
They are prone to tooth decay and gingivitis so regular professional tooth cleaning is a good idea to minimise problems.
The Abyssinian is a bright cat which is often said to have a very sweet temperament and intelligent nature. The breed resembles the cats which can be seen in murals of ancient Egypt. Some believe that it is the Abyssinian which was worshipped by the Pharoahs. They give the impression of standing on tiptoe and seem to be more inclined to use their paws like a human would use their hands. Abyssinians have the “look” of a Lynx, enhanced in part by their regal appearance and feral qualities.
Although not generally a lap cat, they make a wonderful companion and will want to be wherever you are especially when you are preparing food. They are very loyal and once you have acquired an Aby as a companion, you will never be able to complain that no one understands you. Abys are very good at training people to do just what they want them to do. They are extremely intelligent, beautiful, graceful, muscular, inquisitive and always willing to help out with whatever chore you may be trying to accomplish. Abyssinians are often thought of as cats that like to be in high places, such as the top of a refrigerator or a bookshelf. Abys are not known for being particularly loud cats and can communicate their feelings and desires in many ways. It is often said that Abys have a great love of water. They seem to enjoy playing with a dripping tap, as well as drinking from them. Normally Abys are very protective of each other and seldom quarrel so having two would be fun.
copyright: Janice Ascott