One thing I find endlessly fascinating about Abyssinians is the fact that they’re all related on some level. Abys are actually fairly inbred; it was for this reason that Cinnamon the Aby was chosen to be the archetype when the feline genome was mapped.
There are a couple of factors that led to the Abyssinians’ smaller gene pool: The breed is one of the oldest recognised (along with Siamese and Persians), started in the second half of the 19th century in England. However, unlike the other two breeds which at one time allowed non-pedigrees cats to be used in breeding if they met the colour and conformation standards, even at the very beginnings of the breed virtually no outcrossing was allowed into the Abyssinian breed (Abys have been used as outcrosses to other breeds, including Somalis, Ocicats and Singapura, but not even Somalis are allowable in Abyssinian pedigrees).
There were no Abys in the Americas until a tom named Aluminium II and a she-cat named Salt were sent to the US in the early 1900’s. Nearly all North American Abys can trace their lineage back to Aluminium II, who is thought to have been a silver Aby (this colour isn’t recognised by the CFA or the CCA today), so in the early part of the last century, the American Abys had a smaller breeding pool in the beginning.
During the next 30 years, Abys were exchanged between the Americas and Europe as the breed became established and gained popularity in both hemispheres. However, during WWII the breed was almost wiped out in Europe; only 12 cats survived and the breed was bolstered by American cats sent back to England and other European countries.
Thus, I am always being introduced to random Abyssinians who I can connect to Jacoby at least on a cattery level. There are a few Aby catteries whose names show up over and over again: Bastis, Bojangles, Badfinger, San Toi (more known for their Siamese), Van Dyke, Al Qahira, Ras, Djer-Mer, and Woodruffe are some of the names that show up again and again; one cat, Bastis Zachariah, has 73 offspring known to the Electronic Registry of Somalis, and he may well have had more kittens than those listed in this one, mostly user-populated website. Abyssinians as a breed are fairly interrelated.
Grand Champion Bastis Zachariah, DM, b. 1974
From time to time, people will send me links to cute Aby photos they find online that they think I need to know about. A few weeks ago, Freecloud 13 sent me an email which said, “I was browsing to kill time and came across this website of an Aby cattery in Slovenia. There are some very cute photos; the kittens are too cute for words!”
Naturally, I had to investigate these claims. And there was a cat on that site, Si*Alam’s Lena who shares several catteries in common with Jake – Badfinger, Bastis, San-Toi, Dar-Ling and Catsylvania. And I found one cat in both their pedigrees: Badfinger’s Bumin’ Around TQ, born June 1978, who is Lena’s great-grandfather’s grandfather and Jake’s great-grandmother’s great-grandfather – on his mother’s side and her father’s side. They might have even more in common, but Lena’s pedigree on ERoS only shows her father’s side; her mother’s side is blank.
How funny, though! Someone finds a random Aby cattery in Slovenia, and I can connect a cat there to my cat!
I’ve done it too…While looking to see if I could find a photo of one of Jake’s ancestors, I stumbled upon a Russian Abyssinian’s pedigree. This cat, Lakshmina’s Marga Simonetta, is the daughter of Instincts Saint Matthew. Matt seems to be closely related to Jake’s mother Catalina; they share a number of cats in common. Imagine, Jake’s got relatives he’s never met in Russia, just like me!
Another Aby connection comes through Anna_Darkholme’s new red boykitten Alejandro, from the cattery Abyfye. Right off the bat, I can see a connection: Alejandro shows cats from Instincts cattery, and Jake’s mother, Catalina, was from Instincts. One cat, target=#>Instincts Klein Bonaire is Jake’s great-great grandfather. Klein Bonaire’s mother was Abyfye’s Desiree of Instincts. Also, Jadecat cattery in Alejandro’s pedigree is connected to Jake’s mom, too. There’s only one Jadecat cat listed on ERoS, Jimpat Blue Velvette of Jadecat, but Velvette’s great-grandfather was Purrsynian’s Tommy Bahama of Dimends, and Tommy’s grandmother was Jannalou’s Isis of Chatbeaux. Isis’ great-grandfather was Badfinger’s Hot Chocolet of San-Toi, whose daughter was San-Toi’s Ms. Ginny Fizz of Badfinger. Ginny’s daughter, Bojangles’ Benita Pussolini, whose daughter was Bojangles’ Brianna Brioche.
Brianna was the mother of Bojangles’ Kangaroo of Instincts, and Kanga was Jake’s mother’s grandmother. There aren’t many Abyfye cats in ERoS, so I can’t connect them directly, but I’m sure they have ancestors in common.
Finally, this is perhaps the most random of all, since it came from a contact on Etsy who doesn’t even read The Daily Abyssinian. I regularly buy jewelery findings from Unkamen Supplies on Etsy, and I requested some custom S-links from him. On Etsy, my user icon is a photo of Gun-Hee riding the T, and Ralph asked me if my avatar was an Abyssinian. When I responded that it was, he told me that he and his wife bred Abyssinians for 20+ years and retired about 7 years ago – he even met his wife in the cat fancy! He sent me this link to Clarion and Unkamen Abyssinians.
And I went to work. I quickly connected Jake’s cattery, Pellburn, to Clarion and Unkamen. From Unkamen Blue By You (who I chose to trace simply because she was first on the list), I got to El Qahira and Jannalou catteries though her paternal grandparents, which led to Badfinger and Bastis…and as I said earlier, just about everyone seems to be able to claim Bastis Zacariah and his 73+ offspring as kin! Another Aby, Clarion’s Twilight, shares Abycastle cattery in her pedigree with Jake, too.
Although, Jake and Blue also both have another cat, Jannalou’s Talisman, as a close relative: He was Jake’s great-great grandfather and Blue’s grandfather! I found it so funny that someone I’d met through a non-cat forum turned out to be a part of the Aby family.
Once again, as I always do, I find myself wishing I had a copy of Angel’s predigree…I would love to see where her family crossed Jake’s.