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Abyssinian Cat

The name 'Abyssinian' refers to Ethiopia, but most of the stories about the origins of Abyssinians refer to Egypt. Genetic research suggests the breed originated near the coast of the Indian Ocean, where colonists may have purchased animals from wild animal traders. The breed was developed in Egypt.

The breed is sometimes believed to have originated from one Egyptian female kitten named Zula, who was taken from a port in Alexandria by a British soldier and brought to England. This theory is not established because there is no solid link between Zula and the cat first listed as an Abyssinian in 1882.

Many sources repeat the story that the Abyssinian breed is a few thousand years old and comes from Ancient Egypt, as the cats resemble those in ancient paintings. There are also stories that wild 'Abyssinians' live in parts of North Africa today.

Physical characteristics

The Abyssinian's body is of medium length, lithe, and with well-developed muscles. The legs are slender in proportion to the body, with a fine bone structure. The paws are small and oval. The Abyssinian has a fairly long tail, broad at the base and tapering to a point.

The head is broad and moderately wedge-shaped, with almond-shaped eyes that range from gold, green, hazel or copper. The nose and chin usually form a straight vertical line when viewed in profile. The Abyssinian's alert, relatively large ears are broad and cupped at the base, and moderately pointed at the tips, where tufts of hair are commonly seen. Large ear tufts are viewed as a must for show breeds. An M-shaped marking is sometimes found in the fur on the forehead.The "M" shaped marking, also referred to "frown lines", appear above an Abyssinian's eyes.They have markings, most often referred to as "mascara lines", appearing from the corners of their eyes.

Abyssinian Cat Breed Data

- The official breed club website for the promotion and enjoyment of the Abyssinian cat. 
- The ACCA exists to promote informed breeding and ownership of Abyssinians, and membership is not restricted to US residents. 
- A look of some of the well known Abyssinian catteries and historical cat photos including pedigrees. 
- The CFA Abyssinian Breed Council's page includes links to the Cat Fanciers Association and other information about Abyssinian cats.
- Michigan Abyssinian cattery providing Aby information and cats. Links to a network of other Abyssinian breeders.
- George and Julie Kennedy, breeders in Australia, give photographs and information on their cats. Also The Abyssinian Breeder magazine.


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