Those of us who are devotees of this breed believe that they are close relatives of the cats worshipped by the Ancient Egyptians. It is certainly the case that Abyssinia traded freely with Egypt in the days of the Pharaohs and cats could certainly have been transported from one country to the other in the ships which carried goods between them. A cursory glance at the many statues of Bastet, the Cat Goddess of Egypt, will show the similarities in build and type to the modern Abyssinian.

The modern Abyssinian was introduced to Britain at the end of the Abyssinian war in 1868 and, although there are no verifiable records as to the actual date of import, Abyssinians were definitely exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1871 at Crystal Palace in London . All modern Abyssinians are descended from cats bred from the original import.

The Abyssinian is a medium-sized cat having a distinctive "ticked" coat. This means that each hair has bands of two different colours above the undercoat. They should be lithe and muscular, retaining (particularly in the Usual colour) the look of the African wildcat, ancestor of all pedigree cats. It is this natural, unspoiled look which attracts the breed to its many admirers.

As a pet, the Abyssinian is more dog-like than some other breeds. They are curious, always interested in what you are doing and eager to join in if possible. Some will punctuate their interest with forceful vocal encouragement while others are content just to follow and watch. If you are looking for a cat which will lie quietly on a chair all day and be good, an Abyssinian is probably not for you.

Their curiosity makes them vulnerable to danger in the outside world. They are not gifted with much in the way of road sense and their desire to share with humans makes them a good target for the cat thief. Because of this, they are safest living in a secure environment indoors. If space allows, an outside run provides an extra dimension of interest in the summer months, although, living as I do in Fife , even during these months outdoor bird watching is not always feasible because of the weather.