The color of an Abyssinian Cat should be a sort of reddish-fawn, each individual hair being "ticked" like that of a wild rabbit -- hence the popular name of "bunny cat."

We probably owe the existence of the modern Abyssinian breed to a bizarre historical incident. In the 1860s, the Emperor of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) wrote a letter to Queen Victoria in which he asked for her hand in marriage. Not surprisingly, the letter was ignored. Her failure to respond so incensed the Emperor that he proceeded to arrest a number of Europeans, including the British Consul.

Overreacting in a spectacular fashion, the British government sent a force of 32,000 to insure their release. This so panicked the Emperor that, as the troops approached, he blew his brains out with a pistol that had, ironically, been an earlier gift from Queen Victoria. The British troops, having no need to fight, offered gifts to a local chief and set off for home. Along the way, some of the soldiers appear to have acquired pet kittens from the now friendly locals, and brought these back with them to Britain.

The first Abyssinian Cat to be identified as an individual was called "Zula" and was brought to England by the wife of a Captain in 1868. This date coincides with the end of the Abyssinian confrontation and it seems likely that the animal was obtained from one of the returning soldiers. Zula is the name of the northern Abyssinian port at which the British military force established its first base in 1867.

Noting the proximity of Abyssinia to Egypt, it is suggested that this breed might be the direct descendant of the sacred cat of the ancient Egyptians. The Abyssinian is described as intelligent, affectionate, alert, fast, and sun-worshipping. It is lithe and pantherine in its movements. It requires considerable freedom and dislikes close confinement.

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