The Abyssinian is thought to be one of the oldest breeds of cat. The first Aby exhibited in a show was in England in the late 1800's. It was first mentioned historically in a book about cats published in England in 1874. Abys were imported to North America in the early 1900s and provided the foundation present day Abyssinian population in the USA. During W.W.II many English Abys were lost, leaving the American lines as the predominant throughout the world. Many believe the breed to be those depicted in the ancient tombs of the Pharaohs. Recent genetic tests seem to indicate that the breed has it's origins in India and was brought west along early trade routes to Egypt and Abyssinia. This is how the breed came to be known as Abyssinians.