Cat Breeds – Abyssinian – Graceful, Loyal and Intelligent
Abyssinian Breed Origin
Nowadays one of the most popular short-haired cats in the US, the origin of the Abyssinian is a bit of a mystery. The name suggests an Ethiopian root but most stories refer to the breed development being mostly Egyptian. Genetically the breed seems linked to the Indian Ocean and it is possible that its ancestors were wild cats bought form animal traders in the region.
The Aby Look
Whatever its true roots, there is no doubt that the Abyssinian is a beautiful cat. Its slender, graceful body is of the oriental/slender type and is reminiscent of ancient Egyptian cat sculpture while its short, thick coat has a silky feel and a very distinctive color pattern caused by a mutant gene called ticking.
The coat of the Abyssinian has an attractive shimmer caused by bands of color ranging up the hair shaft. There are several possible color types: ruddy (also called ‘usual’ in the UK), red or sorrel, blue, and fawn. Ruddy is the oldest and most popular color in Abyssinian – perhaps the most striking too.
Only the Abyssinian, Somali and Singapura share this attractive ticked color scheme. The Somali is, in any case, a long-haired variant of the Abyssinian and so shares many traits.
The Abyssinian Character
In temperament the Abyssinian is curious, playful and intelligent. They love attention and are affectionate and engaging but will tend to prefer adults over young children. They love toys and will chase balls for hours. Some of them will even ‘fetch’.
As far as dogs go, Abys tend to get along with them well, and like dogs they are very loyal and people-oriented. With this in mind, it is important to realise that this is not one of the more independent breeds. An Abyssinian will pine if left alone for long periods and could become depressed.
The Health of the Abyssinian
In general the Abyssinian is a healthy breed although gum and renal problems can show up. Gingivitis in cats can be a problem because a cat with sore gums will simply stop eating leading to many secondary problems. The kidney problem is called Renal Amyloidosis and is genetic in origin. When it does appear, the overall prognosis is poor but the disease is present in only very few of the Abyssinian family lines and so it is very much the exception and not the rule in the breed.
Abys Like Kisses
Abyssinian Rescue Centers – US
Abyssinian Rescue Centres – UK
If you have an Abyssinian cat yourself, please share your personal experience of life with this beautiful creature below: