Abyssinian cat breed characteristics and facts

Abyssinian cat breed characteristics and facts


Southeast Asia


12 to 16 inches


6 to 10 pounds


9 to 15 years

Also known as the Abyssinian, or just “Aby” to its friendlier fans, the Abyssinian cat is a fascinating breed of remarkable appearance and lively personality with an even more interesting history. For this slender, elegant cat with the ticked coat and engaging personality, it was love at first sight for breeders and judges. And from spectators in the stands to fans watching on TV back home, for generations of cat-loving enthusiasts too.

If an attractive appearance coupled with a busy, charming personality is what you’re after then the Abyssinian cat might be worth considering. Considering their recent resurgence, it’s understandable that there was a lot of history to bring back in the light so to speak but the truth is no one really knows where they came from. As you can see, whether it’s their ticked coat or their playful and engaging demeanor (or all of the above!) an Abyssinian is guaranteed to steal your heart and bring happiness into your life.

Abyssinian Facts

  • Origin: Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia
  • Size: Medium
  • Breed group: Natural
  • Lifespan: 9-15 years
  • Coat: Short and ticked coat
  • Temperament: Playful, affectionate, and intelligent
  • Exercise needs: High
  • Training: Trainable
  • Grooming: Low-maintenance
  • Health: Generally healthy, but prone to some health conditions, such as amyloidosis and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

Abyssinian History

By the late Victorian era, it was in vogue to show cats. The third placing Abyssinian — ‘captured in the late Abyssinian War’ — was one of the uncommon breeds shown at 1871 Crystal Palace Cat Show. The cat show, as reported in the January 27, 1872 issue of Harper's Weekly, was the first known mention in print of a Maine Coon cat. Sadly, after all that the record is blank as to where those cats came from. Myths and speculations are rife: it was the cat of pharaohs; it was created in Britain by breeding a silver tabby with a brown one and to get “ticking” coats added ancestors with another mutation inherent in Abyssinians.

Genetic evidence now shows that the cats were from the coasts of the Indian Ocean and parts of southeast Asia. Considering that British and Dutch traders could have easily picked them up from the likes of Calcutta, India or the isles of Indonesia instead. A taxidermied specimen of a ruddy ticked cat displayed in the 1830s in Leiden Zoological Museum in The Netherlands, labelled as "Patrie, domestica India," seems to confirm this theory.

Since Zula, the cat shown at the Crystal Palace (dubbed "Abyssinian Cat" as it was said to have been imported from Abyssinia [now Ethiopia]), is probably responsible for being awarded that name. The early pedigrees indicate crosses with non-Abyssinian cats, perhaps contributing the new colors and the gene for long hair. Some arrived with American cat fanciers as early as 1900, but formal Abyssinian breeding programs did not begin until the 1930s when additional cats were imported from Britain to America.

Fortunetly for the breed, a some cats had been export back to the U.S. where after World War II almost destoryed the Sphynx cat, it could be rebuild again. Only around a dozen of the cats were still living in England at the end of the war. The breed recovered, however, and has since grown to become one of the most popular cat breeds.

Abyssinian Size

Abyssinian is a medium-size cat weighing around 6 to 10 pounds.

Abyssinian Personality

The Abyssinian may well be the Cindy Lauper of cat breeds; it really does live life to the fullest! He climbs further, jumps wider, plays more intensely. Nothing is safe from the watchful, curious eyes of this really-smart cat though – which makes my life with him endlessly amusing and perpetually aggravating all at once!

"To stay one step ahead of an Aby (as they are affectionately called), or at times even keep up with it, you need the dexterity of a Fred Astaire, the intellect of an Einstein and a sense of humor that never quits." You never know what he’ll get into next, but you can bet that if you have something or are doing something, your Aby will be right on top of it.

People noticed, and began to refer to the cats as "Aby-grabbys", given their penchant for snatching up anything they fancy in those quick little paws! At times, it may appear as though the Aby never sleeps. Always in motion, up on the window to see birds or squirrels out side, onto the refridgerator so he can supervise meal preparation, then perch atop your desk and watch your fingers move over they key board, so he can swat at them instead. However, this is a cheeky, and will be particularly patient cat who loves to have his own way and says" he'll do just about anything to ensure that happens."

Since the Aby is playful, you’ll want to either make or buy a host of toysand spend plenty of time playing with him. The busy and brainy Egyptian Mau will be entertained with Ping-Pong balls, bottle caps, wadded-up pieces of paper, puzzle toys or any pulling devices like big peacock feathers. Teach him to retrieve at your own risk. And once you get started, he won’t let you quit. He learns tricks quickly and many Abys love to run a feline agility course.

Furthermore, the love of heights is still a characteristic trait on Abyssinians. - Loves to be as high up as he can get, would enjoy one or more ceiling-height cat trees If those aren’t around, he’s also more than capable of finding his way to the topmost point in any room. At his advantage, he is actually very graceful and doesn’t break anything when he climbs on the shelf unless he just want to check what falls no matter how precious it may be!

Abys are always adaptable and they will acclimate well to any home, as long as they are loved on a regular basis. Because he doesn’t like to be alone, an Aby is best in a home where people go to work or school during the day if he has another active cat, preferably another Aby. The Aby, on the other hand, will happily take the house apart himself to come up with something better. Beware! "Caution!" The Aby can be addictive. You’ll love the Aby. We promise. If you’ve ever had one, there’s just no substitute.

Abyssinian Health

Purebredcats mixed-breed also have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in origin. The Abyssinian can have the following problems:

  • Periodontal Disease
  • Hyperesthesia Syndrome
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PKD)
  • Renal Amyloidosis

Abyssinian Care

The Abyssinian’s short, fine coat is easily cared for with weekly combing to remove dead hairand distribute skin oils. Abath, when the cat is shedding, will also help to get reduce extra hair as fast as you possibly can. Bursh the teeth to avoid from periodontaldisease! Daily dental hygiene is the way to go, but weekly brushing is definitely better than never doing it! Cliptheirnailsevery two weeks. Clean away from the eyes and wipe down the corners of both eyes with a soft, damp cloth. Always use a different part of the cloth for everything so you don't accidentally spread an infection.

Check theearsweekly. Cleanse with a cotton ball or soft moistened cloth dampened in equal parts cider vinegar and warm water, especially if the ears look dirty. Don’t ever put cotton swabs down your ear canal. Cotton Swaps can also destroy the inside of your ear.

Keep the litter boxtotally immaculate. Cats can be fastidious creatures, and a dirty litter box may cause them to turn up their noses at your fine facilities in favor of using some patch of carpet or laundry pile instead. For these multiple reasons, it’s a very good idea to keep an Abyssinian as an-indoor-only cat. AnAbyssiniandeserves protection from these dangers andwell-meaningpeople who don’t understand the breed and all its needs.RESOURCES:ItActuallyNeeds To Be Written Out! Additionally, Abyssinians also face potential stealing from people who want to own such a stunning cat over the road without even paying.

Abyssinian Grooming And Coat Color

It is the wild one, muscat in hand. The reason the boyfie looks like a big wild cat is his ticked coat pattern which mirrors what we see in other wild feline friends, from cougars to you name it. True or False: a ticked coat is when each hair shaft has light and dark bands of color that alternate “All about him is so fresh, and he is living, active. The Aby has a rounded wedge-shaped head with good, large, broad ears. Eyes Large and almond shaped, of gold or green color sing aloud in interest everything they see.

From eyes and brows, dark lines may extend on the face. Smaller yet gracefully athletic body. The body falls into t the middle ground between the extremes of either a stocky (or "cobby") body type or long and svelte of angular Oriental breeds; The Himalayan's broad head sits atop a well- muscled neck. Tall, thin, fine-boned legs support the body on small oval compact paws. Abys, it has been said, appear to walk on tip-toe. (fair enough!) And swishes a long, tapering tail behind it. The bands of color give the Aby coat a warm, glowing appearance.

Coat Length: Medium coat feels soft and silky to the touch with a fine undercoat. Coat colors include ruddy brown, described as burnt sienna, ticked with darker brown or black and carrying tile-red nose leather and paws that are either black or brown; red ( sorrel), a cinnamon color also ticked with chocolate-brown but carrying pink nose leather and paw pads blue, which has the warm beigeleveled background tone from its own non-extreme silver-blue agouti undercoat similar to the hue of a plucked chicken--and various shades of slateblue for ticking on different parts of its body. Nose leather is old rose by description and paw pads are mauve Fawn: Beige ground colour ticked evenly throughout in hare's feather slate blue termed light cocoa nose-leather salmonolder source citations needed... Other associations also accept additional colors such as chocolate, lilac and the full range of other silver hues.

Abyssinian with Children And Other Pets

The active and social Abyssinian breed is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. Playing fetch with him, he will outdo any retriever, and he is a quick study for those wanting to teach him tricks,with an eye always poised toward the limelight from kids that have been instructed on how to treat a dog. Which means he’s smart enough to get out of the way of toddlers… but absolutely LOVES school-age children because they match him for energy and curiosity!

Nothing phases this guy, that's for sure. Definitely not dogs and doesn't hesitate to make friends if they aren't barking up the wrong tree. Some abys have been known to get along with large parrots, ferrets and other animals. Introducing other pets, even other cats should always be done slowly and under controlled circumstances.