The Abyssinia Cat Colors: Genetics & Varieties

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The Abyssinia cat colors

The color of the Abyssinian cat is its main advantage and distinctive feature of the breed. It doesn’t matter what color of her coat: sorrel, blue, wild, or fawn.

A smooth, as if polished, tight-fitting fur coat of any shade shimmers in the light, creating a radiant effect. And all thanks to the ticked dyeing of the coat.

General Information About Abyssinian Colors

The flickering effect of the Abyssinian coat is due to the peculiarities of the color. Upon closer examination, it can be seen that each hair is colored zonally: dark areas alternate with light ones.

At least 3 strips are standard. There is no clearly defined pattern on the cat’s fur, there are only smooth color transitions. This color is called ticked. The hairs are short, dense, with a small undercoat. Usually, it is lighter than the main color by 1-2 tones.

As a result of many years of selection in the Abyssinian breed, the main characteristics common to all types of color were fixed:

Part of the bodyFolding characteristicCharacteristic features of color
HousingProportional, muscular, medium sizeThe presence of a dark streak along the ridge
TailLong, wide at the base, tapering towards the tipThe presence of a dark streak
NeckSlender elongatedHaving a closed necklace
HeadWedge-shaped, clear profile, large earsNo pronounced pattern. Exception – blue color
EyesLarge oblique almond-shapedColor: green, copper, golden, all shades of brown. Sharp, dark outline strokes

Interesting! Abyssinian female cats are more expensive and more valuable than males. This is explained by the fact that females are born 3-4 times less often than males.

The Abyssinia Cat Colors: Genetics & Varieties

Unwanted deviations

The characteristic color, corresponding to the standard, appears in Abyssinians with age, by about 3-4 months of life. At first, the kittens’ fur is velvety and fluffy, its color is expressionless, faded.

Over time, the coat changes, a young Abyssinian acquires a fur coat, color and quality corresponding to standards. Well-defined patterns on the coat of an adult animal are considered a defect, but white specks on the collar and chin are allowed.

With full compliance with physique standards, the following signs are considered a breed defect:

  • the color of the paw pads differs from the color of the fur coat;
  • the presence of stripes on the legs and tail;
  • lack of a dark outline of the eyelids;
  • dark spots or a pattern on the face;
  • open necklace;
  • the color of the undercoat is very different from the base one;
  • hairs have less than 3 color segments;
  • lack of a dark stripe along the spine.

A lighter color of the abdomen in the range of the base color is allowed. The undercoat of a purebred cat must be in the color range of the main tone, but lighter and brighter.

The presence of gray, dull tones of the undercoat of the Abyssinians is unacceptable.

Color Genetics

The unusual color of Abyssinian cats is a kind of visiting card of the breed. It is due to the presence of several genes in the genotype of animals, the combination or dominance of which determines the color of the coat:

  1. The dominant agouti gene is “Ta”. It detects the presence of ticked hairs.
  2. Gene “Ttb”. When dominated, it reveals a “brindle” color.
  3. Gene “U”. Smoothes differences in coat color. With its dominance, the pattern does not appear.

The color of a purebred Abyssinian cat depends on the combination of these genes planned by the breeders. Their influence is prolonged. A kitten may be born with a pattern on the fur – spots or stripes that will disappear over time.

Important! Experienced breeders say that the presence of stripes in kittens is a breed defect. If the kitten has a gray, faded undercoat, this is evidence of a cross.

 

The gene for white spotting causes the appearance of spots on the belly and muzzle, white “socks” and the tip of the tail. These traits are not considered a defect, but such animals are tried not to be used in breeding.

Types Of Colors

The Abyssinia Cat Colors: Genetics & Varieties

The main types of coat color of the Abyssinian cat:

  • classic wild;
  • blue;
  • sorrel;
  • faun.

In addition to the four main colors included in the breed standard, there are other types of colors for Abyssinian cats:

  • purple;
  • brown;
  • tortoiseshell;
  • the black.

Black Abyssinian cats are showy and elegant. Despite the fact that this color is not included in the standard, they are popular.

In fact, the coat of these cats is dark chocolate or black and gray. The belly is lighter – gray or brown.

It is difficult for breeders to achieve fixation of black color in the color because there are very few Abyssinians with black ticking.

Classic wild color

This color was initially the only color standard for the Abyssinian breed. Today it is the most common and popular shade. It contains rich ocher, brown, black tones.

Compliance with standards is determined by the following parameters:

  • ticking should be uniform, at least 3 segments;
  • the sides and back are painted in a darker ocher-brown color than the lower part of the body;
  • paws have black fleece;
  • a black stripe runs along the entire length of the ridge;
  • the nose is terracotta in color, clearly delineated;
  • eyes of gold, walnut, emerald.

Different degrees of intensity of shades are allowed. It is important that no extraneous colors are mixed with the base ones.

Interesting! All kittens are born with blue eyes. Only by the age of ten months their eyes acquire a color corresponding to the color.

Sorrel

This color is warmer than the classic one, it is dominated by red shades of wool, the color of copper, apricot, chocolate.

Characteristics:

  • the main background of ticking can be of two types: the color of dark chocolate or cinnamon;
  • the presence of black hairs in the coat is unacceptable;
  • the tummy and legs on the inside are painted in apricot color;
  • dark stripe on the back and tail;
  • a pale pink nose outlined with a red outline;
  • paw pads are pink-beige;
  • eyes the color of gold and copper, greenish or dark walnut shades are acceptable.

Interesting! Sorrel color is inherent only in Abyssinian cats. It is very rare and almost never found in other breeds.

Blue

This type of color has been approved relatively recently. The name of the suit was given by a gentle smoky blue tint. The combination of pearl, beige, and slate gray shades in the ticking segments gives an unusual effect.

Standard requirements for a blue Abyssinian cat:

  • on the frontal part of the muzzle there is a pattern similar to the tails of a tailcoat;
  • on the lower part of the body, from the chin to the tummy, the color of the coat is light beige and apricot;
  • along the ridge, there is a narrow strip of tones that are more saturated than the main color with a pronounced bluish tint;
  • the nose is blue-gray or terracotta with a clear dark outline;
  • paw pads pale pink;
  • the undercoat should be lighter than the base color, but not whitish;
  • eyes of golden, copper color, less often green or nutty shades.

Interesting! According to cat lovers, the eyes of the blue Abyssinians are distinguished by their special beauty and expressiveness.

Faun

This is the rarest shade of the Abyssinian cat. The color is similar to sorrel but less intense.

The Abyssinian cat of exquisite fawn color is incredibly elegant. Thanks to her plasticity, she looks like a lioness and is graceful like a deer.

Color characteristics:

  • ticking with segments of coffee, cream, beige, chocolate with milk;
  • along the spine to the tip of the tail, there is a stripe of a rich pink-beige hue;
  • the undercoat is lighter and brighter than the main color;
  • the pink nose is outlined with a reddish outline;
  • the belly and legs are covered with gray-beige fur;
  • eye color must match breed standards.

The owners of the Abyssinians are firmly convinced that the character and temperament of the cat depends on the color:

  • the wild ones are proud, independent, and extremely intelligent;
  • sorrel – cheerful and perky;
  • fauns and blues are gentle and sensitive.

Maintenance And Hair Care For Abyssinia Cats

The Abyssinia Cat Colors: Genetics & Varieties

The Abyssinian cat breed is ideal for home keeping. Possessing good health almost does not shed, unpretentious in nutrition, it will not cause much trouble to the owner.

However, like any purebred pet, the Abyssinian needs regular care:

  1. At least once a week it is necessary to comb the cat with a special brush with frequent metal teeth.
  2. You can bathe, especially during the spring molt. Abyssinian cats love water, so bathing is not a big deal.
  3. Before bathing, you should trim your cat’s nails.
  4. You can wash the animal in a bath or basin, with a special shampoo, changing the water 2-3 times. Abyssinians do not like showers.

In order for the coat of an Abyssinian cat to always be in perfect condition, it must be provided with proper nutrition and provide the opportunity to move a lot.

The regal posture, the haughty look of huge expressive eyes, the colors of rare shades make these cats very attractive. Well, behind the extraordinary appearance lies a loving heart, a sea of ​​tenderness, boundless affection, and loyalty.

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About Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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