To breed these true, it is well to procure imported or pedigree stock, for many cats are bred in England from ordinary tabbies, that so nearly resemble Abyssinian in colour as scarcely to be distinguished from the much-prized foreigners. The males are generally of a darker colour than the females, and are mostly marked with dark-brown bands on the forehead, a black band along the back which ends at the tip of the tail, with which it is annulated. The ticking should be of the truest kind, each hair being of three distinct colours, blue, yellow, or red, and black at the points, the cushions of the feet black, and back of the hind-legs. Choose a female, with either more red or yellow, the markings being the same, and, with care in the selection, there will be some very brilliant specimens. Eyes bright orange-yellow.
Curiously coloured as the Abyssinian cat is, and being a true breed, no doubt of long far back ancestry, it is most useful in crossing with other varieties, even with the Persian, Russian, Angora, or the Archangel, the ticking hues being easy of transmission, and is then capable of charming and delightful tints, with breadths of beautiful mottled or grizzled colouring, if judiciously mated. The light tabby Persian, matched with a female Abyssinian, would give unexpected surprises, so with the dark blue Archangel; a well-ticked blue would not only be a novelty, but an elegant colour hitherto unseen. A deep red tabby might result in a whole colour, bright red, or a yellow tint. I have seen a cat nearly black ticked with white, which had yellow eyes. It was truly a splendid and very beautiful animal, of a most recherche colour. Matched with a silver-gray tabby, a silver-gray tick is generally the sequence. A yellow-white will possibly prove excellent. Try it!
For white and black choose evenly marked animals, in which white predominates. I have seen three differently bred cats, white, with black ears and tails, all else being white, and been informed of others. I failed to notice the colour of the eyes which came under my own observation, for which I am sorry, for much depends on the colour of the eyes in selection; for though the parents are white and black, many gray and white, tabby and white, even yellow and white will appear among the kittens, gray being the original colour, and black the sport.
A deep brown, dense black ground, with a blaze up the face, white nose and lips, should be chosen - white chest and white feet. Get a female as nearly as possible so marked, and being a dense blue-black, both with orange eyes, when satisfactorily marked, and sable and white kittens may be expected.
A slate colour, or a blue male cat, mated with a strongly black-marked, though narrow-banded blue or gray tabby, is the best for dark blue tabbies, or a light-gray, evenly-marked female may be used. What a lovely thing a white cat, marked with black stripes, would be! It may be got.
For spotted tabby the best brown are those got by mating a spotted red tabby, the darker the better, and a brown and black spotted female. These should be carefully selected, not only for their ground colour, but also for the roundness, distinctness, blackness, and arrangements of their spots.
For grays, blues, and light ash-coloured tabbies, the same care should be exercised, the only difference being the choice of ground colours.
By other odd and fanciful combinations, many beautiful mottles and stripes may be secured, and strange, quaint, harmonious arrangements of lines and spots produced according to "fancy'sdictates;" but the foregoingare the chief colours in request for exhibition purposes, and most of the colour marking. In any other colour classes, the beauties, whatever they may be, are chiefly the result of accident or sports, selected for such beauty, or in other ways equally interesting.