The Abyssinian is a breed of domesticated cat believed to originate from one Egyptian female kitten called Zula that was taken from a port in Alexandria, Egypt, by a British soldier and brought to England. The breed was developed when Zula was bred with an English tabby, and the most 'Abyssinian' looking kitten of her litter bred with its mother to preserve the Abby phenotype (color, body structure, etc.). It is believed all Abyssinians in Europe, the Americas, and Australia are descended from Zula, but there has been at least one and possibly as many as three Abyssinians introduced from Libya (or less likely Egypt) into the existing Abyssinian gene pool in the USA. Many sources spread the story that Abyssinian breed is a few thousands years old and that it directly comes from ancient Egypt. There are also stories that wild 'Abyssinians' live in parts of North Africa today. The Abyssinian has become one of the most popular shorthair breed of cats in the USA.
The Abyssinian's body is of medium
length with well-developed muscles. The legs are slender in proportion
to the body, with a fine bone structure. The paws are small and oval.
The Abyssinian has a fairly long tail, broad at the base and tapering to
The coat is short, fine and
close-lying. Each hair has a base-colour with three or four
darker-coloured bands; the hair is the lighter colour at the root, and
the darker "ticking" colour at the tip. The original
Abyssinian coat colour is known as Usual in the United Kingdom and as
Ruddy elsewhere. Over the years various other colours have been
developed from this, but the markings on the coat have remained the
same. The back of the hind legs and the pads of the paws are always
darker than the rest of the coat.
Abyssinians are extrovert, willful and intelligent, but are usually not "lap cats", being too preoccupied with exploring and playing as they would in their natural habitat. Abys, as they are affectionately referred to by their fans, need a great deal of contact with the family to keep them happy and can get depressed without daily activity and attention. They generally get on well with other cats, although they need their space and the females can sometimes be irritable around other cats. Abyssinians are known for their curiosity and enjoy exploring their surroundings, including heights, although they are sensible cats that do not take unnecessary risks.
Copyright © 1999-2008 Cats'n'Kittens. All Rights Reserved.