Slender, sleek and large-eared, the Abyssinian cat is one of the oldest breeds to be recognized by cat enthusiasts.
History of the Abyssinian Cat
The Abyssinian cat remains a popular breed on the show circuit, yet its exact historical origins remain unknown. Although their name suggests to many that the first Abyssinian cats were found in Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia), their title is slightly misleading. They received their name simply because the first Abyssinian felines to be competitively shown were imported from Abyssinia. Even today, these cats' origins remain speculative. Nevertheless, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association, many geneticists have reached the conclusion that Abyssinian felines originated in the regions of Southeast Asia and the coast of the Indian Ocean.
In fact, you can read an extensive description of the Abyssinian breed at the official Cat Fancier's Association (CFA) website. After all, the CFA is the most widely recognized and respected cat association amongst breeders, and it has churned out many award winning Abyssinians throughout the last 100 years.
Characteristics of the Abyssinian
Are you thinking about purchasing an Abyssinian cat? Or, perhaps, you are the owner of a cat that looks predominantly Abyssinian, but you are unsure of its exact breed. Cat associations that host shows for well-bred felines are present in the breeding world to ensure the preservation of standard breed traits. Each cat association has similar standards, but, naturally, the CFA remains the most conservative, so you may want to take a look at the CFA's breed standards for the Abyssinian.
Abyssinians are lithe cats with triangular faces set off by large ears, and their svelte frames are supported by long slender legs. Their coat can come in many colors, but they are most often recognized by a tabby-patterned coat. Moreover, this breed looks very similar to the cats depicted in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings.
Unfortunately, if you are a pet owner with a cat that appears to be characteristically Abyssinian, it is unlikely that you will be able to show your animal as an Abyssinian cat. Almost every cat association requires an extensive proof-of-pedigree for your animal. The more conservative the association, the more extensive this proof will need to be. However, many associations have a show category for household pets; this is a fun category for non-breeders who just want to boast the darling characteristics of their adorable furry friends.
The Personality Traits of the Abyssinian Breed
Abyone who seeks to own or breed Abyssinian cats will be glad to note that this breed has long been recognized for its high intelligence. In fact, Abyssinian felines have been known to solve problems in ways comparable to human beings. What does this mean for the average pet owner? It means endless entertainment. These cats are not the type to languidly lay on furniture all day. Instead, you can expect very creative acts of mischief as well as some truly remarkable feats of intellect.
Abyssinians are also said to be people-oriented; this is great if you have children or if you merely want a very interactive companion in a pet. However, you will need to provide adequate amusement for these cats because they are also highly active. Their athletic feats alone will compel their owners to stow specialized items far out of reach. Abyssinians are extraordinarily agile. They will have little trouble leaping to the highest of accessible heights.
Buying an Abyssinian
If you're considering the purchase of an Abyssinian feline, it is important for you to buy from a breeder who is recognized by at least one cat association. Abyssinians in pet shops cannot be guaranteed unless they come with a solid proof-of-pedigree that goes back as far as five generations. The proof alone is unlikely to come with your pet shop purchase.
Instead, you can consult directories such as BreedList.com which will lead you to Abyssinian breeders across the nation. You will always want to pay attention to the level of awards the breeding cats have acquired in shows if you are considering purchasing your Abyssinian for the show circuit.