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Abyssinian Cat Breed Profile

History of the Abyssinian Cat:

Abyssinian catThe Abyssinian is one of the oldest known breeds of cat. Its origin is somewhat unknown and there are several stories as to how the breed came about. They have a similar appearance to ancient Egyptian cats.

The first Abyssinian cat was brought to England in 1868. In the book Cats, Their Points and Characteristics (published in 1874), author Gordon Stables mentions the following..."Zula, the property of Mrs. Captain Barrett-Lennard. This cat was brought from Abyssinia at the conclusion of the war..."

In the Harpers Weekly supplement dated January 27, 1872 there is an illustration of several feline exhibits from the London Crystal Palace show, including an Abyssinian cat. In the following write up the journalist writes

"The third prize was taken by the Abyssinian cat, shown in the lower right-hand corner of the illustration. She was captured in the late Abyssinian war, and was mostly remarkable for her woe-begone appearance, seemingly discontented at her sudden elevation into notoriety, and longing for her barbaric freedom in the good old days of King Theodore."

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Sadly there are no written records tracing the early Abyssinians in Britain. It is believed by some breeders that the Abyssinian cat was actually created by crossing silver and brown Tabbies with English ticked cats known as "bunny cats".

The Abyssinian cat was officially recognised as a distinct breed in 1882. The first standard of points was published in Harrison Weir's book in 1889 and the first Abyssinian registered in the National Cat Club Stud book was in 1896.


The Abyssinian is an elegant, medium-sized, muscular but slender bodied cat. It has a short, silky and close lying coat with distinct ticking. A slight wedge-shaped head with almond-shaped eyes and large ears. The tail is long and tapering.


Abyssinians are highly intelligent, extroverted and active cats. They love people and like to be included in everyday family life. Abyssinian cats often enjoy a game of fetch with their human companions. They are not an overly talkative cat and have a quiet voice.

Words often used to describe Abyssinians include loyal, active, intelligent, playful and inquisitive.

Abyssinian Colours:

Tawny = Ruddy or Usual Cinnamon Silver
Tawny Abyssinian Abyssinian cat
Blue Cinnamon (Sorrel or Red US)

Special thanks to:
Rita of
Vivace Cats and Bob of Burabylla Cattery

Also see

Abyssinian breeders   Cat Breeds List


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