Although the Abyssinian is one of the oldest known breeds, there continues to be speculation and controversy concerning its history. In appearance, Abyssinians resemble the paintings and sculptures of ancient Egyptian cats, which portray an elegant feline with a muscular body, beautiful arched neck, large ears and almond shaped eyes. Abys today still retain the jungle look of felis lybica, the African wildcat ancestor of all domestic cats.
The breed is permitted four coat colors by CFA: Ruddy, Red, Blue and Fawn. The shape of the head forms a modified wedge with eyes curved like almonds. The Abyssinian has large, slightly pointed ears. The head, eyes and ears all fit together in a complimentary fashion favoring neither extreme length nor extreme shortness.
The personality of the Abyssinian is best described by one word: busy. These are incredibly intelligent cats, good problem solvers with an insatiable curiosity. Add to this their natural athleticism, which comes with their muscular bodies , and you have a potent combination. Abyssinians want to do everything on their own terms. Unless you understand their unique personality these fascinating cats can be a great challenge when living with one as a pet. They are incredibly playful even into adulthood. Everything they do seems larger than life. When they play, they seem to have no concern for life or limb and commit all of their energy and concentration.
For the most part, these are low maintenance cats although they do enjoy being rubbed affectionately and require a bath at least once during the shedding season. Washing them with a good cat shampoo, quick towelling, and drip-drying is all that is needed. Bathing should be started when they are young and so should clipping their claws regularly and before each bath.
For those who want a portion of the wild kingdom, who want an active, independent, loving cat, this very ancient breed may be just right. These mischievous, highly animated shorthaired cats, with their iridescent, colorful coats, can provide years of pleasure for any household. It is not a mystery to see why those who have had an Aby, usually have no other breed as a pet. It has become one of the most popular cat breeds of modern time.