Animals / Cats

Abyssinian

Классификация по федерациям

Federation Internationale Feline World Cat Federation

История возникновения

Showing cats was all the rage in the late Victorian era. One of the unusual breeds exhibited at the Crystal Palace Cat Show in 1871 was an Abyssinian — “captured in the late Abyssinian War” — who took third place. The report on the cat show, published in the January 27, 1872, issue of Harper’s Weekly, was the first known mention in print of the breed. Unfortunately, no records exist regarding the cats’ origins, although myths and speculation abound, including claims that it was the cat of the pharaohs, and that it was created in Britain by crossing silver and brown tabbies with cats that had “ticked” coats.

Today, genetic evidence suggests that the cats came from Indian Ocean coastal regions and parts of Southeast Asia. British and Dutch traders may well have brought the cats from ports such as Calcutta, India, or the islands of Indonesia. A taxidermied specimen of a ruddy ticked cat exhibited in the 1830s at the Leiden Zoological Museum in The Netherlands, where he was labeled “Patrie, domestica India,” gives creedence to that theory. The cats were probably given the name Abyssinian because Zula, the cat exhibited at the Crystal Palace, was said to have been imported from Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). Early pedigrees show crosses to non-Abyssinian cats, which may explain the introduction of new coat colors and the gene for long hair.

American cat fanciers first imported some Abyssinians in 1900, but Abyssinian breeding programs didn’t get a real start in the United States until the 1930s, when more of the cats were imported from Britain. It’s a good thing that a number of cats were exported to the U.S. because World War II devastated the breed. Only a dozen of the cats had survived in England by the end of the war. The breed bounced back, however, and has become one of the most popular cat breeds.

Общий вид

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.

Голова

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 on a ruddy Abyssinian, chocolatebrown 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.

Туловище

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.

Лапы

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.

Хвост

Tail: thick at base, fairly long and tapering.

Шерсть

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.

Движения

Free, flexible and balanced.

Размер

Height — 26-32 cm.

Weight — 4.7-5 kg.

Характер

Of all the cat breeds, the Abyssinian is perhaps the one who lives life to the fullest. He climbs higher, jumps farther, plays harder. Nothing escapes the notice of this highly intelligent and inquisitive cat, a quality that makes life with him both endlessly entertaining and continuously challenging. Staying a step ahead of an Aby, as the breed is nicknamed, or even just keeping pace with him, requires the fancy footwork of a Fred Astaire, the brainpower of an Einstein and a sense of humor that never stops. You never know what he’ll get into next, although you can assume that if you have something or are doing something, your Aby will want to investigate it closely. Some people refer to the cats as “Aby-grabbys” because of their propensity for taking things that catch their interest.

Sometimes it may seem as if the Aby never sleeps. He is ever in motion, jumping up in the window to look at birds or squirrels, leaping on top of the refrigerator to supervise meal preparation, perching on your desk to watch your fingers move over the keyboard and then swiping at them so you’ll pay attention to him instead. This is a playful, persistent cat who adores being the center of attention and will do anything to achieve and maintain that status.

The Aby loves to play, so plan on making or purchasing a variety of toys to keep him occupied. Ping-Pong balls, bottle caps, wadded-up pieces of paper, puzzle toys and teasers such as big peacock feathers will all amuse this busy and brainy cat. Teach him to retrieve at your peril. Once you start, he won’t let you stop. He learns tricks quickly and many Abys enjoy running a feline agility course.

A love of heights is a signal trait of the Abyssinian. He likes to be as high up as possible and will appreciate having one or more ceiling-height cat trees. When those aren’t available, he is perfectly capable of making his way to the uppermost point of any room. Fortunately, he is naturally graceful and rarely breaks items unless it is simply out of curiosity.

Abys are adaptable throughout their lives and fit well into any home where they are loved and given plenty of attention. In a home where people are at work or school during the day, the Aby does best with a companion, ideally another Aby, who can match his activity level. If left to his own devices, the Aby may well dismantle the house in his search for something interesting to do.

Beware! The Aby can be addictive. Once you’ve had one, you may find that no other cat will do.

Содержание и уход

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.

Lifespan — 12-15 years.

Достоинства

Best with older children, ok with other household cats, good with household dogs.

Сложность содержания

Requires a lot of space. Very active.

Болезни

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.

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