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The Abyssinian has a distinctly ticked, tawny coat. The tail and paws may show tabby markings, but the body must not. It has large almond-shaped green or gold eyes with a fine dark line around them, and large ears. The coat is generally a warm golden colour, but "Abbys" can also be blue, fawn, cinnamon and red. There is also a Silver Abyssinian variant whose coat shows shades of white, cream and grey
Though the Abyssinian is a remarkably healthy and active, long-lived breed, a few genetically potential health problems may occur in the following particular areas: patellar luxation; renal amyloidosis (a kidney disorder), and retinal atrophy (a rare eye condition that can lead to impaired vision). Some Abyssinian may also have sensitive stomachs, a high quality diet may help to prevent vomiting. They are also prone to gingivitis, but brushing their teeth at an early age can help to prevent this. Otherwise, regular veterinarian checkups and general maintenance are all that this breed needs to maintain a long, healthy life.
Abyssinians are very active, friendly, curious and playful, but are usually not "lap cats"; they are too preoccupied exploring and playing; they are "busy" cats, and can get bored and depressed without daily activity and attention. Many Abyssinians enjoy heights, and will explore their surroundings in three dimensions, from the floor to their owner's shoulders to the top of the highest furniture. They are highly intelligent, and probably the most independent of any domestic breed. There is a long-haired version of the Abyssinian, called the Somali.
The Abyssinian is a natural breed of domesticated cat believed to originate from one Egyptian female kitten called Zula that was taken from a port in Alexandria, Egypt, by a British soldier and brought to England where the breed was developed by Zula being bred with an English tabby, and the most 'Abyssinian' looking kitten of her litter being bred with it's mother to splice the Abby gene. It is believed all Abyssinians in Europe, the Americas, and Australia are descended from Zula, but there has been at least one and possibly as many as three Abyssinians introduced from Libya (or less likely Egypt) into the existing Abyssinian gene pool in the USA. The Abyssinian has become one of the most popular shorthair breed of cats in the USA. There are said to be still wild Abyssinians in some parts of North Africa.
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