Showing cats was all the rage in the late Victorian era. One of the unusual breeds exhibited at the Crystal Palace Cat Show in 1871 was an Abyssinian - "captured in the late Abyssinian War" - who took third place. The Cat Show Report, published in the January 27, 1872 issue of Harper's Weekly, was the first known printed mention of the breed. Unfortunately, there is no information on the origin of the cats, although myths and speculations abound, including claims that it was Pharaoh's cat and that it was created in Britain by crossing silver and brown tabby with cats that "marked".
Today, genetic evidence suggests that the cats came from coastal areas in the Indian Ocean and parts of Southeast Asia. British and Dutch traders may have brought the cats from ports such as Calcutta, India or the Indonesian islands. A stuffed specimen of a reddish tick cat exhibited at the Zoological Museum in Leiden in the Netherlands in the 1830s, where it was called "Patrie, domestica India", confirms this theory. The cats were probably named Abyssinian because Zula, the cat shown in Crystal Palace, is said to have been imported from Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). Early pedigrees show crosses with non-Abyssinian cats, which may explain the introduction of new coat colors and long hair.
American cat breeders first imported some Abyssinians in 1900, but Abyssinian breeding programs did not really begin in the United States until the 1930s when more cats were imported from Britain. It is good that a number of cats were exported to the United States because World War II destroyed the breed. Only a dozen of the cats had survived in England by the end of the war. However, the breed has recovered and has become one of the most popular cat breeds.
This is a medium sized cat that weighs 6 to 10 pounds.
Of all the cat breeds, the Abyssinian is perhaps the one who enjoys life to the fullest. He climbs higher, jumps longer, plays harder. Nothing escapes this very intelligent and curious cat, a trait that makes life with him both infinitely entertaining and always challenging. To always be one step ahead or just keep up with an Aby, as the breed has the nickname, requires Fred Edaire's hard footwork, an Einstein's intelligence and a humor that never stops. You never know what he'll go into next, although you can assume that your Aby will want to investigate it carefully when you have or do something. Some people call cats "Aby-Grabbies" because they have a tendency to take things that interest them.
Sometimes it seems like Aby never sleeps. He is constantly on the go, jumping out the window to watch birds or squirrels, jumping on the fridge to monitor food prep, sitting at the desk to watch your fingers move across the keyboard and then dragging over to her so you pay attention him instead. This is a playful, enduring cat who loves to be the center of attention and will do anything to achieve and maintain that status.
Aby loves to play, so plan to make or buy a variety of toys to keep him busy. Table tennis balls, bottle hats, crumpled pieces of paper, puzzle toys and teasers like large peacock feathers will amuse this busy and smart cat. Teach him to save at his own risk. Once you have started, he will not let you stop. He learns tricks quickly and many Abys like to run a cat agility course.
A height love is a signal that is characteristic of the Abyssinians. He likes to be as tall as possible and is happy with one or more scraper posts from floor to ceiling. If these are not available, he can move to the top of any room. Fortunately, he is naturally graceful and rarely breaks objects if it is not just out of curiosity.
Abys are adaptable throughout their lives and fit well in any home where they are loved and get a lot of attention. In a home where people are at work or at school during the day, Abyss best agrees with a companion, preferably another Aby, who can match their activity level. If left to him, Aby can dismantle the house in search of an interesting profession.
Beware! Aby can be addictive. Once you have one, you may find that no other cat is enough.
Both pedigree and mixed breed cats have different frequencies of health problems that can be genetic. The following problems may affect the Abyssinians:
- Early periodontal disease
- Hyperesthesia syndrome, a neurological problem that can cause cats to groom themselves too much, causing hair loss and acting frantically, especially when touched or petted
- Patellar dislocation, an inherited dislocation of the patella that can range from mild to severe. Severe cases can be relieved by surgery.
- Progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative eye disease.
- Pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD) for which genetic testing is available to identify carriers.
- Renal amyloidosis, a hereditary condition that occurs when a type of protein called amyloid is deposited in body organs, especially the kidneys of the Abyssinians. It eventually leads to kidney failure.
The Abyssinian's short, fine coat is easy to care for by combing it every week to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. Taking a bath during hair loss helps to remove excess hair faster.
Brush their teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Cut their nails every two weeks. Wipe the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so that you do not risk spreading an infection. Check their ears every week. If they look dirty, wipe them with a cotton ball or a soft, damp cloth dampened with a 50-50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the inside of the ear.
Keep the litter box completely clean. Bathroom hygiene is very important for cats, and a dirty drawer can cause them to move to other places around the house instead.
It is a good idea to keep an Abyssinian as a domestic cat just to protect them from diseases transmitted by other cats, attacks from dogs or coyotes and other dangers that cats face when walking outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Abyssinians who go outdoors also risk being stolen by someone who wants such a beautiful cat without paying for it.
Fur color and grooming
Aby often looks like it just came from nature. This is due to its ticked fur pattern, which is similar to that of wild cats such as cougars. An attached coat has alternating light and dark stripes on each strand of hair.
Everything about him indicates his lively, attentive nature. Aby has a slightly rounded, wedge-shaped head with large, wide ears so that you can hear better. Large, almond-shaped eyes in gold or green show interest in whatever they see. In the face, dark lines can emanate from the eyes and eyebrows.
The muscular body is graceful and athletic. It falls in a middle ground between the dense or thick body of a race like the Persians and the long, narrow body of oriental races like the Siamese. The body is carried by narrow, fine legs on small, oval, compact paws. It is often said that Abys look like they are on their toes. A long, tapering tail swings behind them.
Its band gives abys fur a warm, glowing look. The medium length hair feels soft and silky with a nice texture.
The coat comes in four main colors: reddish brown, artistically called burnt sienna and crossed with darker brown or black, with tiled red nasal skin and black or brown paw pads; red (sometimes also called sorrel), a cinnamon color with chocolate brown shades, with pink nasal leather and paw pads; blue, a warm beige ticked with different shades of slate blue, with nasal skin marked as foam pink and paws as paws; and fawn, a warm rose beige tickled with light cocoa brown, with a salmon-colored nose skin and pink paw pads. Some compounds allow additional colors, including chocolate, purple and various shades of silver.
Children and Other Pets
The active and social Abyssinian is the perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He plays pick-up like any other retriever, learns tricks easily and loves the children's attention who treats him politely and respectfully. He is smart enough to avoid toddlers, but loves school children because they can handle his energy and curiosity. Nothing scares him, especially dogs, and he will be happy to be friends with them if they do not cause him any problems. Abys are also known to associate with large parrots, ferrets and other animals. Always introduce pets, including other cats, slowly and in a controlled environment.
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