The Abyssinian is a clever, graceful and energetic cat, which originated in India, particularly in its coastal regions. It forms strong attachment to its master and prefers to stay at his side at all times. Thanks to the breeds’ impressive appearance it acquired numerous fanciers all over the world.
Photo: © KaDiS Photo (kadisphoto.ru)
Initially the Abyssinian came in the spotlight at the Crystal Palace Cat Show in 1871 where it became a true sensation of this exhibition. Its specimen took third place and its first thorough description appeared in the report on this Cat Show on January 27, 1872. The breed was said to be «captured in the late Abyssinian War» and therefore it was granted with its current nickname.
Due to the absence of written evidence exact lineage of the Abyssinian can be hardly determined. Rumours have it that it initially belonged to pharaohs as images of ancient Egyptian cats bear strong resemblance with a modern version of the breed. Other experts suggest that it was produced in Britain by mating silver and brown tabbies with cats that possessed «ticked» coats.
The recent genetic research proved that the Abyssinian came to existence in Indian Ocean coastal regions and areas of Southeast Asia. Evidently it were British and Dutch traders who transported its first specimens from marine ports such Calcutta, India, or the islands of Indonesia to their native countries.
In 30s of the XIX century taxidermied cat with protruding ears and singular coloration was exhibited at the Leiden Zoological Museum in the Netherlands. The sign under the exhibit said «Patrie, domestica India», which provided actual evidence to the theory of the Indian origin of the Abyssinian. It’s known that in the early years of its presence in European countries the breed was crossed with non-Abyssinian cats, which can be attributed to the desire to insert more variety to its coat colours and to make its hair a bit longer.
The Abyssinian made its way to America in the early XX century but its systematic breeding wasn’t initiated in the USA until 30s of the XX century when lots of its members were brought to this country from Britain. The Second World War almost drove this breed to extinction. For example, in England only about 10 specimens outlasted the hardships of the wartime. Fortunately its stable population in America served as a foundation stock for its restoration and nowadays it enjoys the world-wide popularity.
The Abyssinian is known for its vigorous and super observant nature, which purports that it is ill-suited for the role of a calm and gentle lap cat. Being extremely an inquisitive and smart animal it should be provided with the proper ways to channel its exuberant energy. Make sure to offer this cat plentiful of various toys to keep it constantly busy otherwise it would entertain itself by destroying your furniture and wallpaper.
The Abyssinian is keen on watching birds, so contemplate scattering a feeder near a window for the cat’s amusement. The prominent characteristic of this cat is its fondness of heights. Actually it will use every opportunity to climb as high as possible so it would be nice if you install in your house one or several ceiling-height cat trees.
The Abyssinian is a highly people-oriented breed and craves nothing more than to be always in the centre of its master’s attention. It likes to be actively involved in all family events and wants to always know what its master is doing. This cat eagerly spends time with older children as long as they treat it with proper carefulness and respect.
It wouldn’t be a wise decision to adopt this breed if your work full time and won’t be able to pay enough attention to the cat. This cat will be quite content to live in a single-animal house although it will also appreciate to have a constant cat companion, preferably of the similarly lively demeanour.
This brainy and curious cat is noted for its excellent trainability. It can be taught to retrieve on command of its master. Moreover it’s capable of learning fairly complex tricks and most of Abyssinian will be happy to exercise their mind and body by going through a feline agility course.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· early-onset periodontal disease;
· hyperesthesia syndrome;
· patellar luxation;
· progressive retinal atrophy;
· pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD);
· renal amyloidosis.
The Abyssinian is not a demanding breed as far as it concerns its maintenance. Weekly brushing will be enough to get rid of any loose hair from its coat and make it look shiny and attractive. Teeth of this breed are susceptive to periodontal diseases that’s why daily dental care is much recommended for this cat. Its owner should clip its nails every two weeks.
Large protruding ears of the cat should be checked weekly and cleaned as necessary. Cleaning procedures should be performed with a soft watered tissue or a cotton ball with maximum caution in order not to traumatise the interior of the ear.
Maintain the litter box as clean as possible since the cat will avoid using dirty box and will choose other areas in the house for its essential needs. The Abyssinian does shed but it’s rather an average shedder.