Friday 29 April 2011

Abyssinian Cat

Abyssinian cat
Abyssinian cat "Hawkeye" -
photograph copyright Helmi Flick


The Abyssinian cat is a very popular, slender purebred cat that is well known for his or her special ticked tabby coat. The history of this cat breed is interesting. There are no facts but plenty of speculation. There is agreement that this cat breed is one of the oldest in the cat fancy and that the breed quite possibly originates in India as a jungle cat (Felis chaus) wildcat hybrid that was imported to England by a British soldier via Abyssinia (now Ethiopia).

Showing ticked coat
Photo by key lime pie yumyum

The two most recognised cat coat colours are probably the ruddy or natural colour and the blue.

History of Abyssinian Cats

My assessment as to the possible history of the Abyssinian cat is based on historical record and Darwin's records that come from his voyages to the far east. As mentioned above my theory is that this cat breed started in India, around the middle of the 19th century as a wildcat hybrid to the domestic cat sized jungle cat (Felis chaus), which, incidentally, looks very like the Abyssinian. It is not uncommon for semi-domestic cats to mate with small wildcats. This occurs with the Scottish wildcat for instance. A modern version would be the Bahraini Dilmun. The original Abyssinian cat in unrefined form would have been very interesting looking and it would not be unsurprising if a person took a fancy to the cat and imported it into England.

{Note: it is interesting to note that the modern version of the jungle cat x domestic cat cross - a wildcat hybrid - is the Chausie, a relatively rare cat breed.}

Click on the link to read lots more: Origins of the Abyssinian Cat.

You can see a time line of the history by clicking here.

You can read about the first Abyssinian cat Zula Zula in England by clicking here.

Blue Abyssinian cats

Blue Abyssinian cat - photo by polandeze (Flickr)

I have a page on blue Abyssinians. You can see it by clicking here. The page also discusses red Abyssinians and some genetics.

Red Abyssinian cats

Ruddy Abyssinian Kittens - the person in the picture is the
the breeder: Pat Harbert.

See this image in large format: Two Ruddy Abyssinian Kittens. You can see three ruddy and three blue Abyssinian kittens in a large format picture by Helmi Flick by clicking here with some background info or see it right here:

Taken at an Oklahoma cat show. Two blue, 3 ruddy and 1 spoiler
Please respect Helmi's copyright.

These are commonly called "ruddy" (Tawny - Ruddy/Usual). Below is the video of the blue and ruddy Abyssinian kittens that you see on this page. They are ready to be photographed by Helmi Flick at a cat show in Oklahoma, USA. One of them caught my eye. He was tired and I think he was a bit of a loner. Is he the one on the right spoiling Helmi's photo? I think so.

Click here to see the above video in HD on YouTube. You can see the finished photographs and compare blue to ruddy in this video. Or you can read some more about the background to the video by clicking here.

Long Haired Abyssinian Cats - The Somali

The Somali cat breed is extremely attractive. The resemble foxes in their coat color and foxy plumed tail. I like foxes so I like Somali cats. The male cat in the video below was one of the stars of this cat show in Oklahoma, USA.

Click on here to see it on YouTube in HD.

Abyssinian Cat Personality

This section incorporates Abyssinian cat behavior because personality dictates behavior. Please don't believe that each and every cat breed has a particular and nicely defined personality. They generally don't. Remember there are over 100 cat breeds. You do get some generalized differences between the more active, slender and perhaps more intelligent cats (say Bengal cat) and the more gentle indoor loving cobby type cats (for instance the Persian) but individual cat personalities outweigh differences in cat breed personality.

That said a person with first hand experience of handling and wrangling the majority of cat breeds, Ken Flick,  says that the Abyssinian is extremely active. He says that the Abyssinian cat is more active than an F1 (first filial) Chausie (a Chausie is a wildcat hybrid - jungle cat to domestic cat as mentioned above).

Abyssinian cats are one of the more intelligent cats it is thought and this degree of activity supports that finding.

See a video about the two extremes of cat personality (Bengal to Exotic Shorthair that supports this point).

Abyssinian Cat Rescue

As it happens, I have a page on Abyssinian cat rescue so there is no need to go over it here. Yes, there are Abyssinian cats that need rescuing but I think you will find them quite scarce. After all this is a very popular purebred cat. Click on the link to go to Abyssinian Cat Rescue.

Next some more frivolous and more commercial stuff. People search for it.

Abyssinian cat cursor

There are several sites that offer an Abyssinian cat cursor. Tucows is one. It is a download and the cursor is the head of an Abyssinian cat. See the page here.

Abyssinian cat license plate

This is a purely American thing. You don't see it elsewhere and they would be illegal in the UK and probably Europe generally. (North American market) do a license plate frame that might appeal to an Abyssinian cat fan:

Abyssinian Cat License Plate Frame

Abyssinian Cat Care

Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and CatsCaring for Abyssinian cats is the same as caring for all domestic cats with the proviso that plenty of attention is given to your Aby as they are intelligent and active. These qualities need to be expressed.  One other aspect of caring for the Abyssinian cat is a knowledge of any genetically inherited diseases that might concern this breed of cat. There are several which you can read about on this page - just scroll down the page.  Two are:
Here are some web pages from PoC on caring for the domestic cat:
Abyssinian Cat Price

Depends on quality as is always the case with purebred cats. By quality I mean to what extent the cat matches the breed standard in appearance. At the poorer quality end expect to pay $300-500 (USD in the USA) and £1000 at the best quality end. You can translate dollars for pounds to figure out the price in the UK but please check (prices as at June 2011).
    Abyssinian cat earrings

    Couldn't find earrings but this ornament might do (please click on the image):

    Abyssinian Cat Ornament

    See and read more in a quick guide about the Abyssinian by clicking on this link.

    Would you like to tell people about your Abyssinian cat or your thoughts about this cat breed? Please use the form below:

    From Abyssinian Cat to Home Page

    1 comment:

    1. A nice read. Thanks for the information. Love Helmi's photos by the way. She is the best I think.


    Your comments are always welcome.

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