Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Posted Aug 11, 2010
Abyssinians are one of the oldest breeds and they are possibly the closest to a natural breed of all the purebred cats in the world. Although many believe the Abyssinian to be a direct descendent of the sacred cat of Egypt, the exact origin of the breed is obscure. Certainly, there is a strong resemblance between the modern Aby and the cat depicted in ancient Egyptian bronzes, paintings and the agouti coated cats found buried in the tombs, with the lithe long body, large ears and long tail. Their shape and distinctive coat however also bears a striking similarly to the African Wild cats.
The first registration of the breed appeared in English studbooks in 1896. The earliest identifiable Aby can be found in the “Leiden” Museum in Holland. The label reads "domestica India", indicating the origin to be the same area. Studies that are more recent have indicated that the coast of Indian Ocean between Singapore and Ceylon is more likely to be the “homeland" of the Abyssinian Tabby colour pattern.
The overall impression of the ideal Abyssinian would be of foreign build, not as extreme as the Siamese nor as rounded as the Burmese but somewhere in between. The Aby is an extremely beautiful and colourful cat with a distinct agouti ticked coat. It is this agouti ticking (flecking) that gives the Aby this rather special "wild cat” look. It is of medium size, lithe, very regal in appearance, hard and muscular showing eager activity and lively interest in its surroundings
Characteristics and Temperament:
The Abyssinian is an affectionate, intelligent and very loyal cat. They love people and thrive on attention, interaction and play. They are extremely active and because of their high activity level, they are not always constant lap cats, rather, they insist on participating in all family activities as a right. Whatever it is, an Aby has to be very involved. Expect to be greeted with enthusiasm and devote 10-15 minutes attention to your Aby on your homecoming. Abyssinians are not always ideal for every one so if this higher level of activity will annoy you then a quieter breed should be selected. They make good family pets but tend to bond with Adults and older children rather than young toddlers. Abys are not vocal, having a small bell like voice to communicate. They prefer and seek higher places to sit such as backs of chairs, refrigerators and scratching poles. They get on very well with dogs and can be taught to fetch and retrieve small objects. Because of their dog like antics, they are often attractive to men who previously thought that they did not like cats. Being "people" cats, they can become very lonely if left for long periods alone so it is often wise to have two as company for each other.