Abyssinian cats are one of the oldest known breeds worldwide, however the history of this unique animal continues to be a debated issue. The appearance of the Abyssinian is extremely similar to drawings, sculptures and prints from those produced by ancient Egyptians, which suggests this type of cat has been surviving for many years. Their name comes from the country Abyssinia (now known as Ethiopia), but this is not thought to be the country they originated from but rather the country that England imported it's first Abyssinian cats from in 1868. The most familiar theory is that they evolved from the African wildcat like all other common domestic cats however again there is no supporting evidence for this notion and their country of origin remains unknown to this day.
Although recognised in England quite early on, the first Abyssinian cats were not imported to the US until the 1900's and weren't widely recognised until early 1930's. This was when breeding of the cat became extremely popular in America and more Abyssinians were exported from England to begin a larger scale of breeding.
Abyssinians are commonly born in red (sorrel), ruddy, blue or fawn and in England silver is also an accepted colour. An Abyssinian's coat is medium in length and their fur is quite fine and smooth but resilient to touch. Aby's are well known for their beautiful ticked coats also known as agouti, the pattern is created by the combination of colours of each strand of hair. The hair closest to the Aby's body is lighter in colour and the tip is always a darker shade.
Aby's are of a medium build and have strong, supple bodies with long, elegant legs. They certainly are a graceful breed of cat and appear slim due to their slightly longer bodies. They have large semi pointed ears that are cupped at the base, eyes are set wide apart and are almond shaped, most commonly in gold or green. The head appears small and rounded making the eyes look large and expressive. Their tails are thick at the base, slimming down towards the end and are quite long with a darker coloured tip.
Abyssinian Character and Temperament
Abyssinian cats are extremely loving and affectionate animals and will very happily sit on their owners lap and snuggle in whilst being stroked. It is common for the owner and cat to build a strong bond with one another unlike that of another cat due to their loyal, gentle character. Abyssinians can become very attached to their owner/family and will yearn for them if they are away. If you are thinking of adding an Abyssinian to your family, it is essential that people are home for majority of the time as they tend to get very lonely if left alone. It is also important they have space to play; a garden would be perfect, as they love to climb, chase imaginary insects and leap in the air.
As well as being loyal, affectionate cats they are also extremely clever with an inquisitive nature who love to play, explore and be active. They will want to be involved in everything you do; they just love the company. Although they will quite happily entertain themselves for hours, Abyssinians are always most content when they are included in what their owner or family are doing. This breed of cat is especially interested when you are eating at the table and will try very hard to get you attention by either playing a silly game or clinging to your trousers! An Abyssinian would be most suited to a family who want an active, playful cat that also loves being a 'lap cat'. Some of the Abyssinian cat's important characteristic levels are shown below:
9 - 15 years
Average Litter Size
Abyssinian cats tend to have quite small litters; no more than three or four at a time and the kittens are usually born with darker fur that gets lighter as they grow up.
Aby's are prone to tooth deficiencies, especially tooth decay and gingivitis. Amyloidosis (a kidney disease) is also a problem that affects some Aby's.