Page 4 - Genesis

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In order to resolve the importance of this paper it is imperative to determine exactly what this report has and has not proven.

Firstly it does not clarify how the long-hair gene developed in the Abyssinian. For this however I cannot be faulted as the Abyssinian is of unknown origin. The world renown English breeder and writer Grace Pond makes mention of this fact in 'The Complete Cat Encyclopedia' where she wrote that "the Abyssinian we know today is the result of careful cross-breeding with selected native British cats". Unfortunately no one knows who these "selected" cats were or what they looked like. In 1972 Dr. Rosemonde Peltz stated in an article written for the C.F.A. Yearbook that "since many of the first Abyssinians were the products orf unknown parentage, the appearance of long-haired Abyssinians should not be and was not surprising to knowledgeable breeders, past and present".

In order to begin to comprehend the existence of a long-hair Abyssinian in a litter of Abys born to two show quality short-hair parents one must be aware of the variety of Abyssinians that have existed throughout the breed's history.

A study of the C.F.A. Stud Books for the period 1949-1960 reveals listings of no less than four Abyssinian coat colors - ruddy, tawny, silver and dark. During this same time ten different eye colors can be noted, ranging from green to hazel and hazel-yellow to orange.

Registration of Abyssinians of unknown origin was still practised by C.F.A. as late as 1950 (ie. Marilynn's Abbey - 66-FR-070-2A - sire, dam and breeder unknown).

The 1972 C.F.A. Yearbook shows a photograph of a yellow Abyssinian called Puma and in England blue, cream and even Albino Abyssinians have been discovered.

I bring these points out not to distract from the beauty and allure of the Abyssinian, for to do so would equally cast reflections upon the Somali. I mention these facts only to indicate the difficulty of determining beyond a doubt that one particular Aby carried an unusual recessive gene.

This investigation has also not proven or disproven the theory of a gene mutation appearing at any specific point on our pedigrees. This is basically due to the reluctance of many Abyssinian breeders (including the very earliest) to acknowledge the occurance of long-hair kittens suddenly revealing themselves in "pure" Aby matings. Thus to pin-point the first spontaneous generation of a long-hair Aby (if a mutation were responsible) is impossible to document.

Finally, my report cannot, with any concrete assuredness, declare Raby Chuffa of Selene as the fore-father of all Somalis, but only those that are known and registered. Here too I must hedge a bit because with the increased acceptance of the breed more and more Aby breeders are unveiling their heretofore hidden long-hair kittens and these may prove to be originated from lines other than Chuffa. It is also entirely possible that the earliest examples of the Somali, which were carted off to oblivion, emerged from entirely different breedings.

What this initial probe has brought to light is the fact that all known and registered examples of the breed, be they the result of an Aby to Aby breeding, Aby to Somali or pure Somali breeding, emerged from one common genetic background.

That the Somali shares an identical heritage with the Abyssinian should now be considered indisputable. From whence the long-hair gene evolved, whether introduced by hybridization of the Aby during its earliest stages of developement (which is most likely), by spontaneous gene mutation or a piling of gene modifiers (as suggested by genetics expert Don Shaw) is of little consequence at this stage of either breed's developement. The gene is firmly established in many of this country's and Canada's finest Abyssinian catteries. The Abyssinian who can trace his pedigree to Raby Chuffa has, by the very laws of genetics a 50-50 chance of being heterozygous for the long-hair gene.

Now that the Somali has been removed from the dark musty corners of the breeder's secreted closet to the limelight of the show ring (in five of the eight associations) the future of the Somali has been established, for the Somali, like the red Aby, will never return to the realm of a shadowy existence.

The importance of a family tree, any family tree, lies not in its scientific or historical record but in the sense of belonging that one can obtain from it.

This report, which will bear up under the heaviest scrutiny, is that essence of belonging which so many of us have searched so long for. No longer can the mere slinging of slanderous words and accusations do harm. To belittle the Somali is to do likewise to the Aby for they share the same heritage. A heritage, which under the weight of this work, can no longer be refused to the Somali.


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To 1998 Genesis Update!


1. Accumulated Somali Sketch Pedigrees as supplied by the Somali Cat Club of America.

2. C.F.A. Stud Books - Stud Book Fanciers Association

3. The Abyssinian Cat - Dr. Rosemonde Peltz 1972 C.F.A. Yearbook

4. The Complete Cat Encyclopedia - Grace Pond Copyright 1974 - Crown Publishing

5. Rex, Abyssinian and Turkish Cats - Alison Ashford and Grace Pond
   Copyright 1974 - Arco Publishing

6. Cat Genetics - A.C. Jude Copyright 1967 - T.F.H. Publishing

7. Somali Scribblings - Pat Warren 1976 - Somali Cat Club of America

8. Child of the Gods - Helen and Sidney Denham 1951 - Abyssinian Cat Club of America

9. Somali Newsletters - Somali Cat Club of America

10. Those Red And Ruddy Longhairs - S.C.C.A May 1975 Cats Magazine

11. C.A.A. Aby News Vol I issue 4 August 1976

In addition to these references a special thanks must be given to the following breeders:

Mr. William Arnholt for his kindness in supplying me with a key pedigree (Neffi's Puff) which enabled me to initiate my work.

Mrs. Virginia Daly for sharing with me her expert knowledge of early Abyssinian history and her efforts in supplying me with data about Deta Tim.

Mr. and Mrs. Don Richings for their aid in determining the origins of May Ling Tutseita.

Mr. and Mrs. Marty Rauch for their maintenance of the library of Somali pedigrees which have made this report even remotely possible.

Mrs. Evelyn Mague for her guidance and patience and understanding of my quest.

Ms. Pat Warren, who's belief in my work enabled me to continue with my search when I thought I had taken on an impossible task.

Thank you


1998 Update
The Final Chapter
Home Page

Walter and Karen Del Pellegrino

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