Long eared, smooth, sleek coated and inquisitive looking, the Abyssinians are loving, intelligent and adventurous.
These are not couch potatoes. Agile, quick and highly playful, these cats are often the centre of attention. And they are deadly hunters. They adore playtime with their owners and, in spite of definite `personal boundary issues’, get on well with other animals.
The Abyssinian breed is one of the oldest known breeds. The Egyptian Pharaohs' worship of cats is a well-known fact and the engravings on ancient tombs resemble very closely the Abyssinian.
The Leiden Zoological Museum in Holland boasts a stuffed Abyssinian look-alike dating back to 1833.
The first Abyssinian pet is thought to have been brought back to Britain after the close of the Abyssinian War in 1868. This breed was exhibited in the first cat show held in England in the late 18th Century and was among the first pedigreed cats ever to be registered. From Britain, they were transported to the United States and are now a popular breed world wide.
Known as Abys, these cats are medium-sized with sleek, muscular bodies. They have small, almost heart-shaped heads and large almond shaped eyes that vary in colour from golden yellow to hazel or green.
Their coats are their most noticeable features. Although they come in up to as many as 28 different colours, the most common in South Africa, are the Ruddy Brown and the Sorrel, followed by Blues and Fawns.
Ruddy Browns have rich reddish-brown coats and each hair is tipped with black. Sorrel coats are a rich red colour with light brown tips. In blues the basic coat is a pinkish mushroom with blue-grey tips and the fawn is a fawnish cream with darker fawn tips to each hair.
Abyssinians are devoted to their owners for life. Specifically designed for agility and mobility, this breed converts significant amounts of food into energy. As a result, their playfulness, energy and appetite do not diminish with age, even though their activity might. Owners need to pay special attention to diet to ensure the right balance of nutrients for a healthy lifestyle.
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