Abyssinians have a slim, muscular, medium long body that is lithe and graceful with a long tail which is thick at the base.
The head is a slightly rounded wedge, muzzle is not rounded or square and the chin neither receding nor protruding. The eyes are gold or green, almond- shaped, not round or Oriental, expressive and bright, accentuated by a fine dark line. The ears are large, alert and moderately pointed with a wide, cupped base.
The coat is lustrous, soft, silky and fine yet dense and resilient to the touch. Medium in length, the coat will have two to three bands of ticking and the coat colours come in Ruddy, red, blue and fawn and silver.
Abyssinians have few genetic defects but, like their longhaired counterpart the Somali, are prone to gingivitis and tooth decay. Abyssinians and Somalis are also susceptible to amyloidosis, a renal disease thought to be hereditary.
Abyssinians are postulated to be the direct descendants of the cats worshipped as manifestations of god in the temples of Egypt some 4000 years ago due to their remarkable resemblance to the sacred cats of Egypt.
According to Dr. Staples in his book written in 1874, an Abyssinian named Zula was transported from Abyssinia to England in 1868, but modern genetic studies have suggested that the Abyssinians we see today came from Southeast Asia and the coast of the Indian Ocean.
Two Abyssinians were taken to America in 1900 but active breeding did not start till the 1930s.