Abyssinia was the old name for Ethiopia in north-eastern Africa. Soldiers returning from there to Britain in the 1860s brought back some of these handsome cats, which are probably a naturally occurring breed in Africa.

Whether these were the descendants of the ancient Egyptians’ temple cats (as the story goes) can’t be determined, but they do resemble paintings of them. Abyssinians are usually a rich golden brown, with a darker brown “ticking” that gives the coat a plush appearance. These playful cats usually attach themselves to one special person in the home.

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