Des Maùrê di Ankh cattery
Silver Abyssinians & Bengals family breed.

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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 source of the name is not because Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia, is thought to be the original home of these cats, but because the first "Abyssinians" exhibited in shows in England were reported to have been imported from that country. The first mention is in the Harper's Weekly (January 27, 1872 issue) where the 3rd prize in the December, 1871 Crystal Palace show was taken by the Abyssinian Cat ("captured in the late Abyssinian War"). This article is accompanied by an illustration of the Abyssinian Cat. In the British book, by Gordon Stables, Cats, Their Points, and Characteristics... published in 1874, there is also mention of an Abyssinian. The book shows a colored lithograph of a cat with a ticked coat and absence of tabby markings on the paws, face and neck. The description reads: "Zula, the property of Mrs. Captain Barrett-Lennard. This cat was brought from Abyssinia at the conclusion of the war..." British troops left Abyssinia in May 1868, so that may have been the time when cats with ticked coats first entered England. Unfortunately, there are no written records tracing the early Abyssinians to those imported cats, and many British breeders are of the opinion that the breed was actually created through the crossing of the various existing silver and brown tabbies with native British "Bunny" ticked cats.

Recent studies by geneticists show that the most convincing origin of the Abyssinian breed is the coast of the Indian Ocean and parts of Southeast Asia. In fact, the earliest identifiable Aby is a taxidermal exhibit still residing in the Leiden Zoological Museum in Holland. This ruddy ticked cat was purchased around 1834-1836 from a supplier of small wild cat exhibits and labeled by the museum founder as "Patrie, domestica India." Although the Abyssinian as a breed was refined in England, its introduction to that country and others may have been the result of colonists and merchants stopping in Calcutta, the major port for the Indian Ocean.


The first Abyssinians to be imported to North America from England arrived in the early 1900s, but it was not until the late 1930s that several top quality Abys were exported from Britain to form the foundation of today's American breeding programs. As described in the Abyssinian Breeders International "Kitten Buyer's Guide" by Carolyn Osier, "Abyssinians must be one of the most intelligent animals ever created." This handbook for the potential Aby owner describes these cats as "...a very people-oriented cat. Not a lap cat... but a cat that likes to be with people, a cat that wants to know what you are doing - that wants to help. There is probably no breed anywhere more loyal than the Aby. Once you have acquired an Aby as a companion, you will never be able to complain that no one understands you. Abys are very good at training people to do just what they want them to do."



HEAD (25)
 6 .. Muzzle   
 6 .. Skull
 7 .. Ears
 6 .. Eye Shape
BODY (30)
15 .. Torso
10 .. Legs and Feet
 5 .. Tail
COAT (10)
10 .. Texture
COLOR (35)
15 .. Color
15 .. Ticking
 5 .. Eye Color


GENERAL: the overall impression of the ideal Abyssinian would be a colorful cat with a distinctly ticked coat, medium in size and regal in appearance. The Abyssinian is lithe, hard and muscular, showing eager activity and a lively interest in all surroundings. Well balanced temperamentally and physically with all elements of the cat in proportion.

HEAD: a modified, slightly rounded wedge without flat planes; the brow, cheek, and profile lines all showing a gentle contour. A slight rise from the bridge of the nose to the forehead, which should be of good size, with width between the ears and flowing into the arched neck without a break.

MUZZLE: not sharply pointed or square. The chin should be neither receding nor protruding. Allowance should be made for jowls in adult males.

EARS: alert, large, and moderately pointed; broad, and cupped at base and set as though listening. Hair on ears very short and close lying, preferably tipped with black or dark brown on a ruddy Abyssinian, chocolate-brown on a red Abyssinian, slate blue on the blue Abyssinian, or light cocoa brown on a fawn Abyssinian.

EYES: almond shaped, large, brilliant, and expressive. Neither round nor oriental. Eyes accentuated by fine dark line, encircled by light colored area.

BODY: medium long, lithe and graceful, but showing well developed muscular strength without coarseness. Abyssinian conformation strikes a medium between the extremes of the cobby and the svelte lengthy type. Proportion and general balance more to be desired than mere size.

LEGS and FEET: proportionately slim, fine boned. The Abyssinian stands well off the ground giving the impression of being on tip toe. Paws small, oval, and compact. Toes: five in front and four behind.

TAIL: thick at base, fairly long and tapering.

COAT: soft, silky, fine in texture, but dense and resilient to the touch with a lustrous sheen. Medium in length but long enough to accommodate two or three dark bands of ticking.

PENALIZE: off-color pads. Long narrow head, short round head. Barring on legs, dark broken necklace markings, rings on tail. Coldness or grey tones in the coat. White undercoat on blue or fawn Abyssinians.

DISQUALIFY: white locket, or white anywhere other than nostril, chin, and upper throat area. Kinked or abnormal tail. Dark unbroken necklace. Grey undercoat close to the skin extending throughout a major portion of the body. Any black hair on red Abyssinian. Incorrect number of toes. Any color other than the four accepted colors.



Coat color: warm and glowing.
Ticking: distinct and even, with dark colored bands contrasting with lighter colored bands on the hair shafts.
Undercoat color clear and bright to the skin.
Deeper color shades desired, however intensity of ticking not to be sacrificed for depth of color.
Darker shading along spine allowed if fully ticked. Preference given to cats UNMARKED on the undersides, chest, and legs; tail without rings.
Facial Markings: dark lines extending from eyes and brows, cheekbone shading, dots and shading on whisker pads are all desirable enhancements.
Eyes accentuated by fine dark line, encircled by light colored area.
Eye color: gold or green, the more richness and depth of color the better.
RUDDY: coat ruddy brown (burnt-sienna), ticked with various shades of darker brown or black; the extreme outer tip to be the darkest, with orange-brown undercoat. Tail tipped with black.

The underside and inside of legs to be a tint to harmonize with the main color. Nose leather: tile red. Paw pads: black or brown, with black between toes, extending slightly beyond the paws. RED: coat rich, warm glowing red, ticked with chocolate-brown, the extreme outer tip to be dark, with red undercoat. Tail tipped with chocolate-brown.

The underside and inside of legs to be a tint to harmonize with the main color. Nose leather: rosy pink. Paw pads: pink, with chocolate-brown between toes, extending slightly beyond the paws. BLUE: coat warm beige, ticked with various shades of slate blue, the extreme outer tip to be the darkest, with blush beige undercoat. Tail tipped with slate blue. The underside and inside of legs to be a tint to harmonize with the main color. Nose leather: old rose. Paw pads: mauve, with slate blue between toes, extending slightly beyond the paws. FAWN: coat warm rose-beige, ticked with light cocoa brown, the extreme outer tip to be the darkest, with blush beige undercoat. Tail tipped with light cocoa brown. The underside and inside of legs to be a tint to harmonize with the main color. Nose leather: salmon. Paw pads: pink with light cocoa brown between the toes, extending slightly beyond the paws.

Courtesy to "The Cat Fanciers' Association"


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