The Abyssinian cats look a lot similar to the cats in ancient Egyptian art,
which probably gave rise to the story that they were descendants of the
sacred cats worshipped in Egypt thousands of years ago. Still, the
latest genetic studies suggest that the Aby actually originates from
South-East Asia, near the coast of the Indian Ocean. But you cannot deny the Abys do have a resemblance to the ancient cats of the mysterius pantheon of ancient Egypt. And the below story also emphasizes this connection to Egypt.
There is a story about how the first Aby was brought to Europe (to Great Britain to be exact). According to this story the first Abyssinian was taken from the ancient port of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt.
It was Mrs
Barrett-Lennard who, according to this story, took the cat with her when
she left with her captain-husband for their voyage back home.
This is a
charming story, but not proven to be true. Still it tells how cats were
gaining popularity as pets, their beauty was much appreciated during
the Victorian era and as a result cat breeding became more popular.
But still, the name Abyssinian has its roots in the times when the British were warring in Abyssinia. This happened in 1867-1868, and it is during this time that the Abyssinian breed was developed. So perhaps there is a grain of truth in the story of how the first Aby came to England – at least the times match.
- ticked silky coat
- big ears
- slender, elegant body
- the lighter-colored "eyeliner" really emphasizes those beatiful almond eyes
Actually it is not possible to verify the actual origins of the Aby. But without doubt, it is one of the oldest cat breeds – the first Aby was exhibited in England at the Chrystal Palace already in 1871 and in all probability the breed was developed in England. As proof of this breed's connection to England, every modern Abyssinian cat can trace its descent to Great Britain.
(Thank you to the Abysphere cattery for permission to use the photo of your beautiful Abysphere Valkyrie's New Ride here)
The most striking feature of the Abyssinian cat is its beautiful ticked coat. This means that each individual hair is striped or banded with different colors. The root of each hair is lighter, and moving towards the tip of the hair there are darker stripes. The darkest of “ticking” color is at the very tip of the hair. The stomach, chest and inner sides of the legs are unticked, and the hair is even softer.
A little four-year-old (her age when I write this) girl we know and who determinedly comes to visit our cats said the color resembles that of a hare. Well, come to think of it, so it really does.
The coat is dense and silky and resilient, lying close to the body, and longest at the spine. It is so thick that when you brush it backwards, it springs back to place. The Abyssinian coat has a beautiful sheen. It is longest at the spine.
Do you need to take your cat to a cattery when you go away from home to a holiday or work trip? Of course it would be best if the cat could stay at home, but this is not always possible. If you worry how your cat will adjust to a cattery, there are ways to help this.
I have used Feliway when our cats have been stressed - it really helps.
Also - bring your own cat litter and cat food your cat is used to. Smells of home have a calming effect. So bring the cat's own blanket and some clothes you have been wearing that give your scent.
Our little Aby girl Pipsa (you can see her photo on the right with the flowers) must have the silkiest, shiniest coat I have ever seen.
There is a darker stripe that goes from the back of head, along the spine of the Aby, all the way to the tip of the tail. This stripe is of the dark ticking color, and the tip of the tail should be of this darker color also.
There are several colors of Abyssinian:
Usual or Ruddy, Sorrel/Red, Blue, Fawn, Silver, Chocolate and Lilac. Each color emphasizes the elegance of the Aby beautifully.
White is permitted only above the lips, beside nostrils and chin, but it should not reach the chest.You see this white color well in the below photo of Abysphere Shaman's crossing by the Abysphere cattery. (Used here with kind permission - thank you!)
The neck of Abyssinian cats is elegant and the head is gently rounded (the males have somewhat rounder cheeks) and the head is wide between the ears (look at the above photo to see what I mean). It is moderately wedge-shaped, and the ears should continue this wedge-line.
When looking at
the profile, the nose and chin should form a vertical, straight
line. The chin should be firm. The nose has a slight nose-break, but
should have no bump. The muzzle should not be square nor sharply
pointed. (I am of course partial, having Abys myself, but I have always considered the head and muzzle of an Aby to be very very pretty and elegant at the same time. A true picture-book breed!)
The ears are wide apart, large, and moderately pointed. They are sometimes described as “listening” in type. It is desirable for the ears to have tufts of hair at the tips. (I have to admit I haven't seen many examples of these tufts in Abys) The hair at the back of the ears is short and close lying, but inside the ear it is longer and lighter-colored.
(When our first Abys crossed the Rainbow bridge and it was time for our new Abys to come to our home, I noticed that in 18 years the breeding had certainly changed and the ears had become much bigger and turned outward - I have to admit I laughed they looked a bit "batty" when very young - huge ears like bat's. But when the cats grow these adorable ears become more proportionate - but they do remain big.)
Did you know that pale-colored cats can get sunburn to their ears? If your cat goes out, protect the ears with sun cream. (Sun creams meant for people can be toxic, so buy a pet-friendly sun cream from your vet or pet-shop) Remember - sun may cause cancerous growth in your cat's ears.
The eyes of the Aby are beautiful. They are wide apart, almond-shaped (moderately pointed), large and expressive. The Aby had a kind look in its eyes, intelligent and friendly. The eyes can be green, hazel or amber in color – but the richer the color, the better. (There is a theory that the longer it takes for the eyes to change their color from the kitten blue , the deeper the color will be.)
A dark fine line accentuates the eyes, and they are surrounded by a light color area. This line from the eyes is of the ticking color and reaches from the inner corner of the eye to the top of the head. Another line reaches from the outer edge of the eye to the edge of the ear.
Above the eyes there is an M-shaped marking, the so-called “frown line”.
The legs are slender and elegant, the paws are oval. The Aby stands well “off the ground”, giving the effect of being tip-toe.
The male Abyssinian cats are larger than the female. The female Abys are more fine-boned and quite pretty. They are also more active and playful than the males.
This is our little silky-coated Aby girl Pipsa.
All lilies are fatal to cats - and this means every part of the plant. Even pollen falling on your cat's fur can kill the cat when it is ingested while grooming. Even the water in the vase where the lilies have been, is deadly. So do your cat a favor and never bring lilies indoors nor grow them in your own garden. Always wash your hands thorougly after handling lilies and check there is no pollen in your clothes.
Do you know a lovable, funny,
energetic Aby? If so, you can
Here you can read more about Aby colors.
You will notice there are several lovely variations of color.
This photo of an Aby is copyrighted by GlobalP - do not copy without permission. If you wish to use this photo, purchase the right to it from
If you wish to give a home to a rescued Aby,
here you will find Aby rescue organizations.
The Abyssinian is
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This book travels with the King Tut - Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibition on his world tour of ten cities from March 2018 onwards
Tutankhamun: In My Own Hieroglyphs tells the story, for older children, of the life and afterlife of the famous young pharaoh in his own words. Tutankhamun tells us about the trouble he got into as a child in Akhenaten's palace in the new city of Akhetaten, and how he became a boy pharaoh. As we learn, his life changed a lot when he died as a teenager, and long years of boredom started in his tomb with only his pet monkey Fingers and his treasure for company. He did meet some of the Egyptian gods, of course, and had fun scaring off tomb robbers, but it was mostly rather dull. Then one day, some new and strange people, including a Mr. Howard Carter, arrived and began to take all the treasures out of his royal tomb. Fortunately, through the eyes of his beautiful golden mask, Tutankhamun, could have fun again traveling around the world
An ancient friend of mine, Mr Mummific dictated a book about how he became a mummy - and I was his scribe and artist. The book is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
On my other website www.ancientagypt101.com he continues his stories about life in ancient Egypt.
Another hilarious adventure for children with Mr Mummific, the mummy with attitude. He now tells the story of his mishaps, misunderstandings and misadventures as he leaves his tomb through the False Door to embark on the complicated and dangerous journey to the Afterlife aboard the magnificent Ship of Millions.
Find the book at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
The first book in an epic fantasy series based on human mythology. The search for the mythical Watchers, the angels who fathered the Nephilim, the half-angels. A story that moves on three levels - our times, ancient Greece and ancient Egypt.
If you are looking for demanding coloring, check:
Online Coloring Books Magazine - No.1
It shows you step by step how to color this pretty Abyssinian cat with flowers. Each page has a color sample, and all the techniques are explained.