This page was created to help answer any questions you may
have about our UnKamen Abyssinians or the
Abyssinian breed in general.
It is also a resource for the items we recommend for your new Abyssinian pet.
We also have links to places that have been kind enough to link to us, so we thought we would return the favor!

We hope you find this page helpful.

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How do you know an Abyssinian is right for you?

If you are looking for a lithe, active, medium sized, muscular cat with intense color
and a proud stance. You are looking for an Abyssinian.

If you are looking for a pet that will be a true member of your family,
who wants to interact with you, and who is intelligent, affectionate and loyal.
You are looking for an Abyssinian.

That said, I want to suggest you read the Abyssinian Breed Article entitled "The Abyssinian" by Norman Auspitz. It describes the origin of the breed, the breed
standard and colors, and overall personality of the Abyssinian.

There were also two wonderful books written about the Abyssinian cat.

The first and, I think, most in depth about the breed is titled
"This Is The Abyssinian Cat" by Kate Faler.
Book this is the Abyssinian cat

The second book is great for giving information on how to care for your
Abyssinian and what to expect when you are owned by one.
It is titled "Abyssinian Cats" by J. Anne Helgren.

These books are well worth investing in if you are researching the breed or you are just a big fan!

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People have asked us questions pertaining to the overall health of the breed.

In this section we want to share with or readers what we feel are our
top three health concerns. Here you will find links to several articles we have
found to be very helpful in explaining these concerns.
We have had, what we believe to be, two very important health issue breakthroughs
within the last ten years and we discuss those first.
The last concern we discuss is one that we hope will someday soon have a cure.
Overall we really feel that with good breeding practices and awareness
of the issues below the abyssinian is a strong, healthy, breed.

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The first on our list of concerns is Pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency.
"PK" is an autosomal recessive inherited disease that is potentially fatal
and was not discovered until the late 1990's.
PK deficiency has been recognized in Abyssinians, Somalis and domestic shorthair cats.
We now have the ability to test and eliminate this from our catteries.
We started testing quite a few years ago and with selective breeding we can now say we will never produce a PK affected cat.
There are several sites that cover this topic.
One of my favorites is fabcats, this site explains this issue clearly and concisely.

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The Second most important issue that has been recently discovered
pertains to most breeds. It mainly applies to cats coming from large populations such as
catteries and shelters. This was the discovery of Tritrichomonas foetus,
a single celled flagellated protozoan that colonizes the colon. We call it "TF" for short.
This protozoan causes diarrhea of the large bowl and under the microscope looks
very much like Giardia. This has been an issue that has plagued breeders for many,
many years. We personally had been fighting this sporadically since we started breeding Abyssinians in 1998. We would have our cats tested and the vets would say they
saw Giardia in the fecal float. We would then have the samples sent out to the lab for the Giardia antigen test and they would come back negative. We kept saying to our
vets "we are dealing with something else," but no one knew what.
Some vets were calling it Flagyl resistant Giardia and some were calling it
Irritable Bowl Disease (IBD). I kept hearing other breeders talk about "IBD" running
in their lines. I firmly believe this was not "IBD" but "TF" passed from mother to kitten
in a cycle that was never was broken. It is so nice to finally know what we are dealing with
and know how to isolate and treat it. There are a few articles out on "TF".
We found this PDF article from the cliniciansbrief.com to be accurate and to the point.
We monitor this protozoan regularly to help insure you receive a happy healthy kitty.

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The third and most frightening issue at this point in time, in our view, is Feline Infectious Peritonitis, otherwise known as "FIP." Those three letters can run chills down the spines
of any cat breeder. It is a disease that is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed.
That is why we have given you two sources of information, one from the
WINN Feline Association
and the other from Cornell University,
College of Veterinarian Medicine
. Both of these sources are extremely helpful at
enlightening us about "One of the most feared diseases in catteries."
We have been very fortunate to have had only one documented case of FIP
(that we are aware of, I would hope people in our extended family would contact us with
any health issues their felines incur.) from one of our extended family members.
We ourselves have not experienced this horrendous disease firsthand.
I hope we can continue to be blessed in this manner.

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A note on FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency virus) & FeLV (Feline Leukemia virus)...
Both FIV(AIDS) & FeLV are a type of virus called a retrovirus.
Retroviruses are species specific (so, no you can't catch AIDS from your cat).
Both viruses are contracted through direct contact. Though FeLV is easier to
transmit than FIV, both are potentially deadly. This is one of the many reasons
we request an indoor only environment for your Abyssinian.
This means that all cats in the household should be indoor only and any existing cats
should be tested for these viruses before bringing your new pet home.
We have tested ALL our adults and we test ANY new cats that are introduced
into our cattery for these viruses. We have ALWAYS maintained a FIV/FeLV
free environment. We have NO cats that have any access to the outdoors.
It is in this way that we can GUARANTEE our kittens come from
a FIV/FeLV free environment.
We do not test every kitten. This would not only add undue stress to their
kitten wellness checkup but it would also be a senseless expense that we would have
to pass on to our kitten buyers. If you have any questions on this policy,
please drop us a line. We will be happy to discuss this with you.

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This section is what we like to call our "Maintenance" section.

Here you will find information and product recommendations. We believe these will
help you have a healthy, well adjusted, Abyssinian in your home.

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The first bit of information we would like to address is the subject of "declawing."
As stated in our Contract we do not forbid declawing, we legally can't,
we do not agree with it and we certainly don't practice it.
We feel it is inhumane, period.
We also feel there are several options, which we discuss below, that should
in most cases handle the issue of "inappropriate claw usage."
We hope you find the information helpful.

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First, what is declawing, how is it done and what are my alternatives?

We could go on and on about this subject but we found an excellent site
that covers it all for us and we would love to share it with you.
Please invest the time to visit and browse through this site,
it will answer any question on the subject you may have.

One of the most essential items for any household containing a feline inhabitant is a
scratching post. Instinctually they love to claw and it is our duty to give them
the proper place in which to do this.
We have many scratching posts available to our gang and they use them.
All our kittens have small scratching posts available to them from a very
young age and their mom's train them to use them.
It is truly amazing what they learn from their mom's.
We have found that many of the commercially available scratching posts from the
"big box" stores leave a lot to be desired. Some are covered in carpet, which is not the
"material of choice." Some we found to be too light weight and have a tendency to tip
over when leaned on. We have even found some with exposed staples which is VERY
undesirable. Then there are those that are simply just not tall enough,
abys are long and love to stretch out on their scratching posts.
Since we want our scratching posts to be as enticing as possible, it is a good idea
to take all these things into consideration when acquiring one. We recomend two companies
that offer commercially available products that satisfy all our requirements and have
proven themselves in several of our field tests.
Our favorite scratching posts come from Arubacats.
We have had Arubacat cat trees in our home for years and boy do they get a workout. We have some that are over 10 years old and still look great!
You will see some of them in our family photos.
We are happy to say that Artie of Arubacats now has a website and will ship many of his wonderful cat trees right to your home. Here are photos of a few of our favorites!

Arubacat scratching post  Arubacat scratching post  Arubacat scratching post  Arubacat scratching post

You can visit Arubacats at www.arubacats.com

There are also these great Scratching post made by Smart Products for Cats, these are easily purchased from Amazon.com.
Both the "Post" model and the "Hang on the wall" model are sturdy, durable, readily available and are not cost prohibitive. Click on the photo to go to the product page for more information.

Here is the link to the company that makes these products and many other
wonderful products as well.
Smart Products for Smart Cats

The next item that is required for the deterrence of "inappropriate claw usage" is the
nail clipper. Clipping your cats nails is a very important part of "feline maintenance"
and will help greatly in the quest of eliminating any destructive issues caused by clawing.
We trim our guys nails regularly and our kittens have had their nails done several times
before they go to their new homes. They are usually very good about it and the more
you do it the easier it will get.
Here is a great article on exactly how to cut their nails and what to use.
How to Trim your Cat's Claws

If you still seem to be having a problem with this issue there is a product on the market
called "Soft Paws." Soft Paws are nail caps for your cat's claws. Although we have
never tried them, I know several people who have and love them and best of all they
come in a large array of colors!
They have a very informative web site at Soft Paws.com

If after trying all the above alternatives, and any others you many have come across
in your travels, you are still contemplating de-clawing and you feel you can live
with the decision after all you have read,
we won't be happy but, unfortunately, legally we can't stop you.
We can only hope that more and more veterinarians will discourage this procedure.

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The next subject in our maintenance section is Diet.

Choosing the right diet for your feline is very important for their overall health and
longevity. Over the years we have tried many different foods. Some that we tried
were very good and some were not. We found some that were excellent but were not
so easy for our extended family to find and were fairly cost prohibitive. That didn't work.
So, after a great deal of research and taste testing by our gang.
We have adopted Royal Canin as our dry food of choice.
Royal Canin is a premium food that is easily available and easier on the wallet than some
premium foods and the cats actually like it! They also make a food that is optimal for
the Abyssinian body type, though they call it their Siamese 38 mix. This food is
wonderful for maintaining the proper energy levels and coat health on top of proper
nutrition for our cats. We have also found their Indoor 27 mix to be a wonderful choice.
We feed their Queening mix, which is only available to breeders, to our pregnant
and lactating queens and our little ones start their adventure into the world of hard food
on their Babycat 34. As they get older they then get their Kitten 36, this provides all they need to grow strong healthy bodies.
You can find any information about Royal Canin and their products at:
Royal Canin.com

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Water , the most essential maintenance ingredient

We can't stress the importance of fresh clean drinking water enough.
It is very important for your aby to drink plenty of water. The one thing that abys are very
attracted to is running water. If you have had abys in the past I am sure you will agree!
Turn on any faucet and they come running. Some will even join you in the shower!
In nature, moving water is much fresher than stagnant water. The movement constantly
breaks the surface tension of the water and draws oxygen from the air into the water.
This process is called aeration and it makes water more appealing to drink.
Your aby will be drawn by instinct to moving water for this reason.
That is why we invested in a drinking fountain for them. There are several out there,
but we found one to stand out among the crowd, the Drinkwell Pet Fountain.
The reason we like the Drinkwell fountain over the other brand is because it
actually pours out like a faucet. The other brand runs down a trough and doesn't
make the appropriate running water sound and is harder for them to lap.
Your cats may not drink as much water as they should. This is one reason their urine
becomes so concentrated and predisposes some cats to urinary tract disease.
Cats with urinary tract or kidney disease have a critical need for water to support kidney
function or prevent crystal formation and obstruction.
We have been using drinkwell fountains for several years now and love them.
Both the regular and the platinum are readily available online at Amazon.com.

One day the power went off and the cats gathered around the fountain and started
hitting it with their paws to try and get it to work again - wish I had my camera!

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The last, but not least subject in our maintenance section is Litter.

Over the years we have tried many different varieties of cat litter. We searched and
searched for a litter that was clumping, but wouldn't obstruct the intestines of our kittens
if ingested, like clumping clay litters. A litter that would handle odors without adding
chemicals or perfumes. A litter that was made from a natural material and would last
longer and perform better than traditional clumping clay litters. A litter that had low
dust and allergen qualities. And finally, a litter that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
I know when you go to buy it you might not agree, but take into consideration that
you will use 40% less of this litter compared to the leading clumping clay litter!
We know we are asking a lot from our litter, but believe it or not it is a big part of
our cattery. We found that “The World’s Best Cat Litter” handles all our requirements
and more. We have been using it for several years and we are very happy with it
and our cats LIKE IT too!
Please visit their site at The Worlds Best Cat Litter.com.
You will find information on their product, locate retailers and read testimonials, it's a great source of information. We purchase ours from Pet Food Direct.

If you are looking for an attractive alternative to the ugly "plastic" litter box,
there is a site that offers wonderful furniture to house your litter pan and accessories.
Check out the Hidy-Tidy web site. Our guys love their litter cabinets and we do too!

There are many more subjects we could cover here, but we think we have covered
the most frequently asked "maintenance" questions.

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We hope this section has been helpful!
If you have any questions or comments, drop us a line!

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Here is a list of products and/or services that have helped us keep
our cattery running smoothly.

This link is for the Fanciers Breeder Referral List. "FBRL" was the very first site
we used to advertise our cattery and we are still with them 10 years later.
They are a great resource for people seeking kittens and they have a great
"Retired Friends" section featuring cats of all ages.
Kudos to Barb French for keeping this great resource going!

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We use Breeders Assistant pedigree program to keep our pedigrees neat and accurate.
All of the pedigrees that you view here on our site were created using
Breeders Assistant.
This is a great program for keeping track of our matings and inbreeding coefficients too!

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We would not have been able to get this web site up and running without
Adobe Dreamweaver
and the rest of the Adobe suite.
This is the easiest and most flexible web design software we have ever used!
Thanks go out to Adobe!

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After getting this site up and running on the world wide web we found
SelfPromotion.com to be a very helpful resource. They gave us the help we needed
to get the all important search engine recognition.
Thanks to them, we are easier to find! Check them out!
self promotion web site

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Finally, we would like to give honorable mention to those sites who have been
kind enough to link to us. Thank you for your recognition.

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