Abyssinian CatThe name Abyssinian refers to Abyssinia – the former name of Ethiopia and also of the Empire of Ethiopia, which included many countries in that area at its largest, including southern Egypt.  Genetic researchers say it’s likely that the breed did develop in this area off the coast of the Indian Ocean.  Though the name Abyssinian was only given to the breed as the first ones exhibited at cat shows in the UK were said to have been imported from Abyssinia.

The absolute story of where this breed originated isn’t known, though there are a lot of great tales about it – many referencing ancient Egypt, as they do resemble the cats depicted in ancient Egyptian art.  Some say that “wild” Abyssinian cats still live in North Africa.

The most visually distinctive feature of this cat breed is their coat.  It’s medium length, dense, and soft.  What’s unique is the “ticking”.  Every hair has a base color and three to four colored bands from root to tip.  The lightest color at the root and the darkest at the tip.  The original Abyssinian coat has a reddish-brown base with black ticking.  Breeders have developed many new color variations over the years.  Abyssinians are born with dark colored coats that lighten as they grow, not wearing their final coat for several months.

The Abyssinian is medium sized, lithe, and muscular.  Their legs are slender, with small paws, and their tails are long.  Their ears are fairly large, often having tufts of hair at the tips.

Abyssinian cats are outgoing, playful and intelligent.  They are an extremely active breed who love to play and explore, and love toys.  Many will play fetch.  They are not generally lap cats, but the Abyssinian cat does need your attention.  Without enough interaction and activities to keep them interested, they can become depressed.