The Abyssinian Cat
The Abyssinian is a cat where moderation is the key to its appearance
and sometimes its character. The first cat of this breed is believed to
have been brought into this country around 1870 by Capt and Mrs Barrett
Lennard from Abyssinia but there is no hard evidence to support this.
Early breeders did not keep good records and there was no formal
registration system so we may never know exactly how the breed
What we do know is that Abys are very intelligent, independent cats,
which love to head butt their owners. They are also well known for
their chirruping, trilling voices and their love of water to play in and
with, also their retrieving capabilities. They are very loyal and
loving cats on their own terms, yet also independent.
Their wild, almost feral look, somewhat puma or lynx like, is what
attracts most people to them, together with their most distinctive
feature - their ticking. Each hair on an Abyssinian has four distinct
bands of colour and without this, they are not Abyssinians.
They are cats of a medium build, with a lithe, agile, graceful figure
with distinct facial markings and eyes of a rounded almond shape. Ear
tufts are a desirable feature. The four main colours are usual, sorrel,
blue and fawn, with chocolate and lilac now also established. All of
these colours are also bred in silver versions. There are also red and
tortie Abyssinians but these are much rarer.
The average number of kittens in a litter is around three and most
breeders will allow a cat to have three litters in two years, but this
depends entirely on the health of the mother. They are happiest as a
pair but will relate readily to being a single cat provided there is
enough stimulation and company for them. They are usually best kept as
indoor cats as most of them have little or no road sense. An average
lifespan is around fourteen to fifteen, but there are many Abys out
there who go on into their twenties.