An Abyssinian cat is one of the oldest known breeds, recognized for its playfulness, graceful gait and interesting appearance. The Abyssinian resembles some of the Egyptian cat breeds, such as the Mau, with its gently sloped head and prominent ears. These cats generally have a medium to long length and well-developed muscles. Its slim legs and lithe step give the impression that it’s walking on its tip toes.
The Abyssinian is friendly and has an affinity for people, showing more affection and loyalty than the average cat. They are very active and curious, often interjecting themselves in the activities of their human owners. Because they are so energetic, they do not make good lap cats. They prefer to explore their surroundings.
Often assumed to be Egyptian, the origins of the Abyssinians are not well documented. There are a number of theories about this breed's beginnings, and many expert studies put their origins in South East Asia and the coast of the Indian Ocean. It is believed that they are a direct offshoot of the African Wildcat. The name comes from the fact that they were introduced to England around the same time that British soldiers were returning from war in Abyssinia, which is now known as Ethiopia.