The Abyssinian cat is commonly believed to date back to the 1860s, originating in Ethiopia, yet some people claim that the breed can be traced back to the ancient cats of Abyssinia, now called Egypt.
It is one of the oldest known breeds, the first one being brought to England in 1868. The Abyssinian was officially recognized as a distinct breed in 1882.
They are known for their sharp intelligence, litheness and a refined, pleasant demeanor, often becoming very attached to their owners. Abyssinians are extroverted and willful with a curious and adventurous nature being the norm; they are active, playful and inquisitive!
This cat has a medium length body with well-developed muscles, and short, silky, fine, close-lying coats; their faces have round, almond-shaped eyes, green, hazel or amber in color. They have legs of moderate length; size-wise they tend to weigh between 4-7.5kg (9-16lb).
The tail is fairly long, broad at the base and tapering to a point. Abyssinian's have fine bone structures and their paws are small and oval-shaped.
The cat's ears are alert and relatively large, broad and cupped at the base; they have an M-shaped marking found in fur on the forehead.
The Abyssinian has a "ticked" coat, meaning that each hair, light in color, has several dark bands which are evenly spaced. This coloring results in an ideal camouflage for the dry desert lands of North Africa.
These days, the Abyssinian comes in a range of different colors. Anything from red through fawn, lilac, cinnamon, cream and chocolate, amongst others.
They are a popular cat breed and are generally healthy except for occasional blindness, especially an inherited form called retinal atrophy. Although making good companions they can be suspicious of strangers.
Abys, the term used fondly by owners, are hardy and adaptable as pets and are a popular breed for showing; a good choice for any prospective cat owner!
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