Just as all domestic dog breeds share the wolf as its common ancestor, all of the domestic cat breeds share the same common ancestor, the African wildcat. Abyssinians are believed to be one of the oldest breeds of domestic cat in existence, but not without some controversy. With its distinctly almond shaped eyes, graceful arched neck, large ears and lean, muscular body, Abys maintain a distinct resemblance to the ancient Egyptian cats that are portrayed in all of the art from statues to paintings to drawings on the walls of the great pyramids. Although Abys are a result of the cross breeding between various silver and brown tabby cats with the British "Bunny" ticked cats, they were called Abyssinians. During their first showing at British cat shows, a news article at the time mistakenly reported these beautiful animals as being from Ethiopia, which at the time was a country called Abyssinia.
Even though the breed was refined in England, it is actually believed that they originated in India and were brought into the country by merchants who stopped to trade at the city of Calcutta, which was the major port in the Indian Ocean at the time. Reportedly, one of the earliest examples of this breed of cat was a subject of a taxidermist that was purchased sometime between the years of 1834 to 1836 by the Leiden Zoological Museum in Holland, where it remains on display to this day. Abys later appeared on the North America continent for the first time when they were imported from England in the early nineteen hundreds. A late comer to the new world, today's American breeding program for Abys didn't really get off the ground until the 1930s when several high quality Abys were exported from England for the express purpose of breeding. Abys have been described as one of the best "people cats" that has ever been bred. Though not typically considered to be lap cats, these highly intelligent animals love to be with people and are very good at training their owners to do just what they want them to do.
They are highly curious, a trait common to most cats, but more than that, they love to be wherever you are. They want to know what you are doing. They want to help, and as long as they are with the people they love, they are happy and contented cats.
When you own an Abyssinian, you will find that you have a wonderful companion that, in its own way, seems to understand you in every way. People who own Abys firmly believe that there is no other breed of cat in the world that is more loyal than their Abyssinian, and they are possibly right.
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