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Although the Abyssinian is one of the oldest known breeds, there continues to be speculation and controversy concerning its history. In appearance, Abyssinians resemble the paintings and sculptures of ancient Egyptian cats which portray an elegant feline with a muscular body, beautiful arched neck, large ears and almond shaped eyes. Abyssinian today still retain the jungle look of felis lybica, the African wildcat ancestor of all domestic cats. The source of the name is not because Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia, is thought to be the original home of these cats, but because the first "Abyssinians" exhibited in shows in England were reported to have been imported from that country: British troops left Abyssinia in May 1868, so that may have been the time when cats with ticked coats first entered England. Unfortunately, there are no written records tracing the early Abyssinians to those imported cats, and many British breeders are of the opinion that the breed was actually created through the crossing of the various existing silver and brown tabbies with native British "Bunny" ticked cats. The first Abyssinians to be imported to North America from England arrived in the early 1900s, but it was not until the late 1930s that several top quality Abyssinian were exported from Britain to form the foundation of today's American breeding programs.






Abyssin is an agile and graceful cat with a short fur. It can be several colours (ruddy, sorrel, blue, fawn, red torty, silver) the most common being the colour hare (a chestnut gilded with a womb and one under hair apricot). Abyssin can also have hairs at the middle lengths : this variety is called a Somali.






As described in the Abyssinian Breeders International "Kitten Buyer's Guide" by Carolyn Osier, "Abyssinians must be one of the most intelligent animals ever created."


This handbook for the potential Abyssinian owner describes these cats as "...a very people oriented cat. Not a lap cat... but a cat that likes to be with people, a cat that wants to know what you are doing - that wants to help. There is probably no breed anywhere more loyal than the Abyssinian. Once you have acquired an Abyssinian as a companion, you will never be able to complain that no one understands you. Abyssinian are very good at training people to do just what they want them to do."






The maintenance is very easy and requires few efforts. Once a week, one has to cross on its hair a small rubber brush to remove some dead hairs and then, by means of a chamois, to smooth the fur to shine the hair.