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Abyssinian

 

Introduction

This is one of the oldest known breeds with strong similarity to paintings and sculptures of ancient Egyptian cats. They are extremely intelligent, active and people oriented. They love people and are always on and around their owners and are very loyal companions. Their most outstanding feature is their coat colour because although they are tabby they have a ticked coat and no other tabby markings.

 

Appearance

The Abyssinian Cat has a more wild looking appearance when compared to many breeds of domestic Cat in modern times. The Abyssinian Cat has large ears (meaning it has fantastic hearing) on top of it's broad head, and the large almond-shaped eyes of the Abyssinian are still distinctive to this breed today. The Abyssinian Cat is a medium sized Cat with a long and muscular yet slender body and a relatively short tail. Although today, the Abyssinian can be found in a variety of different colours from blue to lilac to red, the dense, silky fur of the Abyssinian was originally silver or fawn in colour.

 

History

The Abyssinian Cat is thought to be one of the oldest breeds of domestic Cat in the world, as the first domestication of the Abyssinian Cat occurred in Ancient Egyptian times. It is thought that Abyssinian Cats were bought and sold on the banks of the River Nile by traders, where the African Wild Cats (the ancestors of all domestic Cats) lived in their native habitats. Abyssinian Cats are most easily identified by their "ticked" fur which gives their coat a mottled appearance.

 

Health

Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Problems that may affect the Abyssinian include the following:

Early-onset periodontal disease

Hyperesthesia syndrome, a neurological problem that can cause cats to excessively groom themselves, leading to hair loss, and to act frantically, especially when they are touched or petted

Patellar luxation, a hereditary dislocation of the kneecap that can range from mild to severe. Severe cases can be alleviated with surgery.

Progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative eye disease.

Pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD), for which a genetic test is available to identify carriers.

Renal amyloidosis, a heritable disease that occurs when a type of protein called amyloid is deposited in body organs, primarily the kidneys in Abyssinians. It eventually leads to kidney failure.

Longevity

 

Care & Breeding

The short, fine coat of the Abyssinian is easily cared for with weekly combing to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. A bath when the cat is shedding will help to remove excess hair more quickly.

Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails every couple of weeks. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.

Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene, and a dirty box may cause them to start using other places in the house instead.

It’s a good idea to keep an Abyssinian as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Abyssinians who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.

Today, most species of modern day domestic Cat are thought to have descended from, or be close descendants of, the Abyssinian Cats which were brought to England from Northern Africa in the 19th century. The Abyssinian Cat is thought to have been one of the first species of Wild Cat to have been domesticated by Humans, and is therefore one of the first wild animals to be treated like a household pet. The Abyssinian is now one of the most popular domestic Cat breeds in the USA and was thought to have been first exhibited in Crystal Palace in 1871 and the first official listing of the Abyssinian Cat breed was in 1882.

 

Temperament

The Abyssinian Cat is known to be extremely intelligent and playful and is thought to be one of the most active breeds of domestic Cat as the Abyssinian seems to find it almost impossible to sit still. Abyssinian Cats are known to be extremely loyal and obedient felines making them easy to train in the house. The Abyssinian Cat is as wild in temperament as it is in appearance and enjoys to have a lot of attention as well as to keep active, which also tends make these Cats naturally good hunters.