Abyssinian cat breed

Photo source: Wikipedia Photographer: Karin Langner-Bahmann 2005


 Zula was the first documented Abyssinian cat.  Brought to England from the British held territory of Abyssinia, now known as Ethiopia, in 1868 by Lt. General Sir Robert Napier, Zula (named for an Abyssinian town) won 3rd prize in the December 1871 Crystal Palace cat show. Dr. William Gordon Stables later described the breed in his 1876 book, Cats:  Their Points and Characteristics, With Curiosities of Cat Life, and a Chapter on Feline Ailments (London: Dean & Smith). 

Earlier thought to have originated from Abyssinia, recent genetic studies show that the breed probably originated from the area of the Indian Ocean and perhaps Southeast Asia. The Leiden Zoological Museum in the Netherlands has the first taxidermal Abyssinian which was acquired in 1834-1836. The specimen is labeled “Patrie, domestica India”.


Zula, “first Abyssinian” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although documented as a breed in England in the late 19th century, it wasn’t until 1909 that it was recognized in the United States, first shown in Boston, Massachusetts.  Even so, the breed did not become popular right away as many of its offspring tended to die young.  It was only with the importation of a British Abyssinian named Ras Seyum in 1938 that the breed started to gain notoriety and led to the success of the breed today.



WEIGHT RANGE                8-12 pounds
EYE COLOR Green or Gold
COAT Silky and Smooth, Short to Medium Length. Tendency to shed is low.
COAT COLORS Ruddy, Red, Blue (Lilac), Fawn, and Cinnamon with a ticking pattern
OVERALL APPEARANCEAbyssinians have a lean muscular look which is accented by their long athletic legs.  Their faces are expressive with almond shaped eyes and large pointed ears. The Abyssinians’ thick coats are patterned with stripes of alternating colors on their hair shafts which provide an interesting depth to their color.  They rarely need to be bathed.
PRICE $300-1,000 Recognized by Cat Fanciers Association



 The Abyssinian is an athletic breed that is wirey and known to be able to jump to heights of 6 feet or more. Play time is important to this breed so that boredom does not lead to destructive activity. Even so, Abys are talkative affectionate cats that don’t mind taking a minute to rest in your lap.  Life expectancy is from 9-13 years.   



Norm Auspitz auspitzn@yahoo.com






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