The Abyssinian cat, with its endless charm and easy-to-maintain good looks, is becoming one of the favorite breeds for people looking for a family cat. This cat has also gained significant popularity in cat shows, mostly due to its unique ticked coat colors.
Abyssinian cats – Breed History
No one is certain where this breed originated. In fact, most sources agree that the Abyssinian was never a natural breed in Ethiopia (Abyssinia). Some genetic research points toward India as the possible country of origin for these cats. The first Abyssinians were brought into Britain during the nineteenth century. It is possible that some cats were actually brought by British soldiers returning from battles in Ethiopia, but no one is sure if these early cats have any genetic connections with today’s Abyssinians.
The breed was further developed in Britain during the late nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. In the 1930s the first Abyssinians came to the United States, where breeding programs were soon established.
Abyssinian cats – Breed Description
Abyssinians are well-proportioned cats, with a medium-sized body. Their head is somewhat wedged but not in an extreme way.
Abyssinians have large attentive ears and beautiful almond-shaped green or gold eyes.
The coat of the Abyssinians is their most remarkable attribute. Each hair of the coat has several bands of color – this is known as agouti color. You can see Agouti hair on any tabby cat – it is the hair color between the tabby stripes or spots. The Abyssinians, however, have what is called a “ticked” agouti coat all over their body, except on their faces, where they also have a tabby facemask.
Originally, the Abyssinian agouti coat had one accepted color – ruddy brown. Today three more colors are recognized for this breed: red, blue, and fawn. Any of the four colors should be evenly ticked all over the cat’s body.
Abyssinians are renowned for their high intelligence and playful nature. They usually mix well with children and other pets and like to join in family activities. Many Abyssinians can be taught basic tricks and some will even teach their owners to fetch.
Abyssinian cats – Special Needs
The Abyssinian requires only basic grooming. Its soft medium-length coat looks best with just a regular brush once a week. To keep these strong, healthy cats at their best and to help them keep their muscular bodies in peak condition, give them plenty of opportunity for exercise and activity.
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