Baton Rouge cattery
Breeder: Christine Rüssheim, Switzerland
Abyssinians exist in the following colours:
In the ruddy Abyssinian the base colour is a rich orange
colour, the hairs are ticked with dark seal.
The ruddy Abyssinian is
genetically black, the warm coppery coat colour comes from rufismus (caused by
rufus polygenes) which has been increased over the years through sorrowful
In the sorrel Abyssinian the base colour is apricot, the
hairs are ticked with chocolate.
In some federations this colour is called
"red", which has nothing to do genetically with the red colour caused by the gene
"Orange", but with the gene "bl" an allel of "b", called
Ch. Mikkar Heathermist
Owner & Breeder: Mike & Karen Shammas,
In the blue Abyssinian the base colour is blue-grey with a beige ground
colour, the hairs are ticked with dark blue.
Chest, stomach, inside of
the legs are coloured with the beige ground colour and don't show any ticking.
In the fawn Abyssinian the base colour is beige (cream)
with a very pale ground colour, which is also cream in tone, the hairs are
ticked with dark cream.
Chest, stomach, inside of the legs are coloured
with the very pale cream ground colour and don't show any ticking.
The colour is very rare and appears to be slightly dull, it is a colour for cat
Breeder: Leila Nielsen,
Maichrest cattery, Denmark
In the black silver Abyssinian the base colour is silver
white, the hairs are ticked with black.
It is very difficult in this colour
not to have a yellow tinge in the coat (mainly not in the face, on the back and
the front legs) which is caused by too much rufismus.
inside of the legs are silver white without any ticking or darker colour
Not all colours are recognized in all organizations, this differs quite a lot.
In some organizations also "red" (and cream, and tortie) is recognized, based on
the sex-linked gene O.
The Near Eastern Origin of Cat Domestication, Science Express June 28, 2007,
Science July 27, 2007, Vol. 317, pages 519-523
describes the sequencing of the DNA of the domestic cat, where it turned out
that the domestic cat (and the Abyssinian belongs to domestic cats) originates
from the Felis slivestris lybica.
Study Traces Cat's Ancestry to Middle East, The New York Times, Science,
June 29, 2007
You can register yourself for free.
African Wildcat, IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group
Felis chaus, IUCN/SSC Red List of Threatened Species
Cats, Their Points & Characteristics, Dr William Gordon Stables, 1876,
Dean & Son, London
The Book of the Cat, Frances Simpson, 1903
If you click on the link, you can download the complete book.
Our cats and all about them
London, Fanciers' Gazette, 1892
Harry Bloks historische Abessinier
with many pedigrees and pictures of historical Abyssinians.
The Abyssinian Homepage
Very detailed history, and many articles.
is a progressive degeneration of the photo receptors in the retina and loss of
Since the begin of 8/2007 there is a DNA-test for the recessive type of the
progressive degeneration of rods and cones in the retina of Abyssinian and
Somali - rdAC.
leads to a special type of anemia. The cats miss the enzyme Pyruvatcinase in the
red blood cells (erythrocytes), which is necessary for energy production. The
consequence is a a disturbed enzymatic reaction, called the glycolysis (split of
glykose, an energy carrier), the life span of the red blood cells, which is
usually 70-120 days, is drastically shortened. this fact leads to a chronic,
regenerative hemolytic anemia.
is a defect in metabolism, which causes that proteins, which cannot be
detracted, called amyloides, are settled in the kidneys. This disease becomes
virulent between an age of 4 to 7 years, and can be found in 75% of diseased
males. Consequently it leads to chronic kidney insufficiency (CNI), which
usually leads to death.
is a deformation in the knee or the patella, where the patella is dislocated
temporarily or permanently.
The Abyssinian is a very elegant and active shorthair
Size is medium.
The body together with the legs form more or less a
square. The body is very muscular with sinewy slender legs.
The shape of the
head is a short modified wedge where all lines and curves are soft and
What does that mean ?
Looking on the head either from the front or
in profile there should not be seen any straight lines or flat planes. The
forehead is gently curved, the muzzle is gently curved and round, i.e. the head
is not pointed.
When viewed from the side the head is rather short, the nose
shows a gentle curve and the profile is not straight.
Ears are fairly large
and wide at the base, when viewed from the side they are slightly tilted
forward, called pricked, which gives the cat this certain alert
Eyes are large and almond in shape and very brilliant, you get
caught by these eyes.
The tail is medium to almost long with a rounded tip,
i.e. not pointed like on the Siamese.
The most characteristic and important part of the Abyssinian is its coat, in
the non-silver colours it shows a rich base colour and each hair of the upper
body parts is ticked, which means each hair shows several bands of the base
colour alternating with the darker colour of the ticking, the tips of the hairs
are coloured with the same darker colour as the ticking.
In the face you can see, that the Abyssinian is a tabby cat (called Ticked
Tabby), because you can find the typical tabby markings like the "M" on the
forehead and the rims around the eyes. But on all the other parts, like around
the neck, the flanks, the legs and the tail no stripes or rings are
The ticking is it
what gives that certain impression of wild hairs as you can see it also for
rabbits and deer.
The underside of the body (chest, stomach, inside of
the legs) is without ticking.
The best place to see which colour the ticking has is the tail tip
which is uniform in colour.
Hairs are quite fine and thin.
The Abyssinian has short hairs which are
close lying to the body.
The Abyssinian is one of the oldest breeds and very popular. The coat pattern
is based on one single gene, called Ta (ticked tabby).
several theories about the origin of the Abyssinian:
One theory says that the origin can be traced back to the pictures and
sculptures of Ancient Egypt.
- Hunting scene in the tomb of Nebamun near Thebes, about 1400 BC
The same source is also cited as origin of the Egyptian Mau.
Another theory says that the Abyssinian originates from the jungles of
Southeast Asia - because the gene Ta could only be found in cats
living along the coast of the Indian Ocean (between Singapore and Sri Lanka),
whilst this gene could not be found in cats of Egypt and Est Africa.
Exhibit in the Natural Science Museum in Leiden (Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke
Historie, Netherlands), dated at 1833/1834, with the plate titled "Patrie,
domestica India" looks very similar to the Abyssinian cat, and has the same
ticked coat as the ruddy Abyssinian.
See also in the chapter Literature:
The Near Eastern Origin of Cat Domestication
Wild cats looking similar to the Abyssinian are the African Wildcat (Felis
silvestris lybica) and the Jungle Cat (Felis chaus):
Please note that also the Egyptian Mau and the Chausie claim these cats to be
About 1868 a cat, named Zula, was imported by Mrs Captain Barret-Lennard from
Abyssinia to England. 1868 was the date, when the Abyssinian War ended.
In the book
"Cats, Their Points & Characteristics" by Dr William Gordon Stables,
1876, Dean & Son, London, Stables writes:
|"Zula, the property of Mrs. Captain
Barrett-Lennard. This cat was brought from Abyssinia at the conclusion of
How the cat came from Southeast Asia, which is considered to be the origin of
the Abyssinian cat, to Abyssinia, is an open question.
In Harper's Weekly supplement, January 27, 1872, is a drawing of an
Abyssinian, which was exhibited in 1871 at Crystal Palace, London.
the bottom right.
|"The third prize
was taken by the Abyssinian cat, shown in the lower right-hand corner of the
illustration. She was captured in the late Abyssinian war, and was mostly
remarkable for her woe-begone appearance, seemingly discontented at her
sudden elevation into notoriety, and longing for her barbaric freedom in the
good old days of King Theodore."
The breed was recognized in England in 1882.
The first standard can be found in
Our cats and all about them,
Harrison Weir, London, Fanciers' Gazette, 1889,
page 58: description, page 135: Points of Excellence.
"N.B. The Abyssinian Silver Gray, or Chinchilla, is the same in all points,
with the exception of the ground colour being silver instead of brown. This is a
new and beautiful variety."
Why it took such a long time until the silver Abyssinian was recognized, is
something difficult to understand.
In 1896 the first Abyssinians were registered in the stud book of the
National Cat Club:
Sedgemere Bottle, born in 1892 and Sedgemer Peaty, born in 1894, owned by Mr. Sam Woodiwiss. Peaty
belonged to a Mr. Swinyard, from whom he later was purchased by Mr. H.C. Brooke.
The name of this breed was quite different, it was called Abyssinian,
Hare-cat or bunny-cat, because its ticked coat looks similar to the coat of
rabbits; in France the ruddy Abyssinian is still called 'lièvre'.
"The colour of an Abyssinian should be a sort of reddish-fawn, each individual
hair being " ticked " like that of a wild rabbit hence the popular name of "
bunny cat." The great difficulty in breeding these cats is their tendency to
come too dark and too heavily striped on the limbs ; the face should be rather
long, the tail short and thick, and the ears large. These points are well shown
by " Little Bunny Teedle Tit," first in the Abyssinian class at the 1902 Crystal
Palace cat show, though in colour she was not the best penned. The Abyssinian
should not be a large, coarse cat. A small cat of delicate colouring and with
the abovementioned body properties is by far to be preferred to the large,
coarse, dark specimens one sees winning under some all-round judges, merely
because of their size."
Mrs. Simpson calls the Abyssinian an Asian cat.
All other colors of the breed could also be seen quite early, like the so
called red Abyssinian, which is already mentioned in 1887.
Amongst the English breeders, which contributed to the breed, we should mention:
Mrs. Constance Carew-Cox, Miss E.A. Clarke, Mrs. Frederick, Mrs. Patman, Lady
Edith Douglas-Pennant, Lady Decies, Mr. Sam Woodiwiss and Mr. H.C. Brooke.
In July 1903 a very fine female, called Fancy Free, silver, was born; on July
15, 1905 the male Aluminium, silver, was born. Both cats were bred by Mrs. Carew-Cox.
Fancy Free won the championship in the exhibition in Westminster in 1909. Fancy
Free and Aluminium produced a male, called Aluminium II, silver, which was born
on September 3, 1907. This boy was imported by Ms Jane R. Cathcart, Oradell, New
Jersey, to the US., she also purchased a female, called Salt. Both cats were
exhibited in Boston in 1909.
Another cat, which appears in many pedigrees, is
CH Woodrooffe Ras Seyum, which was pictured in the November-issue 1968 of the National
Geographic, November 1938
CH. Woodrooffe Ras Seyum, born September 21, 1935,
Breeder Major E. Sydney Woodiwiss from England,
owned by Mrs. H. Earl Nack USA
In 1926 Major E. Sydney Woodiwiss from England founded the first Abyssinian
Already in 1917 the first Abyssinians were
registered with CFA, but only the color ruddy and sorrel. In 1984 the blue
color, in 1989 the fawn color was recognized by CFA.
In 1929 the Abyssinian was recognized in France. In 1933 the first Abyssinians
were registered in Germany by 1.DEKZV e.V.
The Abyssinian is extremely gentle and affectionate to people. They are very
good companions, not excessively "talkative". They are interested in their
surroundings, which gives them this very special expression in their sparkling
brilliant eyes. Nothing is too small, nothing too big not to be the subject of their
adventure of investigation.
They love to climb, but very seldom break or
disturb things, even when they move between things like a slalom skier.
breed seems to be able to read and anticipate the needs of their favorite
The Abyssinian has very short and rather fine hairs, and the coat is close
lying. Their coat has no tendency to get filthy or knotted. They do not need to
be bathed or excessively combed and brushed. Grooming is rather easy, from time
to time one should lightly brush them so that the old and dead hairs get out
from the coat.