Abyssinian Cat Breed

Abyssinian Cat Breed Information

The Abyssinian cat is a short-haired breed with ancient origins. They are very intelligent animals, which surprisingly combine majestic habits, love for the owner and mobility. They are loyal, balanced, ready to give and receive attention. Pets have good health, inexpensive to keep. Abyssinians are suitable for families with children, active positive people.
By Catsmeowings Staff

By Catsmeowings Staff

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Most Abyssinian adult cats have a medium-sized body, but they tend to be a bit more “muscular” compared to other cat breeds of similar shape and size. Adults can weigh between 3 and 6 kilograms and grow between 28 and 32 centimeters tall.

The head is wedge-shaped with green or amber-colored almond-shaped eyes. The neck of these cats is curved and long.

The wool is thick, has a fine structure and at the same time short. Abyssinian cat can have a color of blue, faun, sorrel and wild.

Brief Facts

  • Name of breed: Abyssinian Cat
  • Country of origin: Ethiopia
  • The birth time of the breed: 1882 year
  • Weight: 4-7.5 kg
  • Size: Average
  • Type of Wool: Short-haired
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years old
  • Group: Short-haired, popular
  • Price: $350-$1200

Abyssinian Cat Characteristics

General Health
Need for Care
Game Activity
Family Attachment
Wool Loss

Quick Facts about Abyssinian Cats

  • Majesty and gracefulness combined with kindness, affectionate character.
  • Gets along well with other pets, small children.
  • Unusual color, coat with characteristic shimmers (tikking).
  • Somewhat fearful, afraid of sharp loud sounds.
  • Very agile, playfully able to break something or harm themselves, for example, fall out of the window.
  • They like to sit on high, walk on the cabinets, climb on the shelves.
  • Participate in all activities and poorly tolerate prolonged loneliness, indifferent attitude of the owner.
  • Easily accustomed to the litter box and scratching post, does not spoil the furniture.
  • Respect the rules established by man and are amenable to training.
  • Clean, shed little, to bathing usually treat positively or at least without fear.
  • They are in good health, undemanding in diet and care.

History of Abyssinian Cat

Abyssinian catAbyssinian cats became popular quite a long time ago, but researchers have never been able to pinpoint the exact geographic region and when the breed originated. There have been several main theories. The first said that the animals first came to Europe after the war between England and Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in1868, from where they originated. The proponents of the theory used as their main evidence an English book from the second half of the 19th century with a lithograph of a cat named Zulu, which had been acquired by Captain Barrett-Lenard after the end of a military campaign. Despite the resemblance to modern-day the breed, there is no conclusive evidence that the depicted cat was actually an Abyssinian.

Other researchers have suggested that the animals had Egyptian roots, because ancient statuettes depicted similar pets. Perhaps one of the world’s most enigmatic civilizations. At the same time, the genetic analysis that scientists have done shows that these cats have always been closely related to the animals that lived on the shores of the Indian Ocean. In any case, the ancient lineage of the breed was thought to be extinct. Modern Abyssinian cats first appeared at a show in Great Britain in 1871, coming third out of 170 other breeds.

A detailed description of these animals was made in 1882,the original standard was formed by 1889, and the official recognition with the breed was not officially recognized until 1896. In the early1900s, the first representatives came to America, which in the future ensured the breed’s survival. World War II almost wiped out the Abyssinian cats from the European continent – there are only about a dozen or so left in the

UK there are only about a dozen individuals left. Just American copies helped restore the population.

Due to the changes that cats had to undergo in the United States, after the war, it was necessary to recognize the existence of two branches that have survived to this point: American and European. These animals managed to gain worldwide fame, although they remained exotic in the CIS. According to CFA, Abyssinian cats ranked second in the ranking of popularity of the United States and Europe among short-haired breeds in 2012.


Despite the fact that cats belong to the royal cats, they do not behave royally, but at the same time they love respect for their person. If you do not like hustling and active, then this breed is definitely not for you. Abyssinian cat will not sit in place, it is playful, active, likes to climb high and sit on high places.

These cats are very curious. They are always close to their human, no matter what he was doing. They are ready to watch TV with you, sort out food from bags, read a book with you, watching the owner’s eye movements.

Cats do not like loneliness. If you’re away from home a lot, it’s best to get another animal for company. Cats get along well even with dogs.

Abyssinian cats are intelligent, sociable, loyal, not capricious. They get along with children and will bring a lot of love, tenderness and joy into your life.

The Nature of Abyssinian cats

Abyssinian cats are very active animals that are eager to learn about the world around them. Their playfulness is retained throughout their lives. Despite the predatory wild appearance, these cats are balanced, intelligent and smart, very affectionate to family members. Abyssinians do not show aggression, during games usually do not release their claws, are patient with children. Cats constantly patrol their territory in search of interesting activities, like to climb as high as possible for observation – provide them with such an opportunity.

Abyssinian cat

Representatives of the breed are characterized by neatness and cleanliness, respect the rules established by the owner: will not fight furniture (especially if there is a scratching post), ride on curtains and knock down pots with flowers. But it is better to remove sharp, especially fragile objects, close windows on the last floors or protect them with a special net – in the heat of the game the cat can hurt itself or make a mess.

Abyssinian cats have an independent character, a sense of dignity, so they will not tolerate disrespectful treatment, will not constantly sit on your hands. They are a bit like dogs in character: devoted, happy to play, bringing objects thrown by the owner. Abyssinian cats are good parents, so they do not need help in childbirth, nursing or raising offspring. Intelligent, elegant pets require human attention, contact with the owner. Without this, the animal can become depressed and sick.

Appearance of the Breed

Abyssinian cats are strong and flexible, with a medium-sized body. Well-developed muscles and long legs allow the animals to jump a distance of 6 times their own length. Cats are larger than cats, but sex dimorphism is not as clearly expressed as in other breeds. Usually the weight is in the range of 3-4,5 kg. Abyssinians have a chiseled silhouette, harmonious physique, move incredibly gracefully, then resemble miniature cougars. The American line has a more graceful and lighter build than the European line.


Proportional, wedge-shaped with no pronounced flat surfaces or pointing. The line of the back of the head blends gently into the neck. The nose is of medium length, straight, connected to the forehead by a smooth line. The chin is well-developed, firm, rounded. The muzzle is well defined, corresponding to the soft contours of the head. Adult males may have pronounced cheeks. Pinch, pointed muzzle with a “foxy” expression are considered unacceptable.


The eyes of the Abyssinian cat are large, almond-shaped with a fairly wide landing at a slight angle. Oriental or absolutely round cut is unacceptable. Shining eyes can be colored in any shade, from amber to green. Have a black outline regardless of the suit. If silver coloring is present, a green eye shade is desirable. This area always has a narrow light colored halo in the tone of the undercoat. Dark lines in the corners of the eyes visually continue the outline of the upper eyelid.


Large, wide set, slightly tilted forward, giving the cat a wary appearance. The ears are wide at the base and tapered and rounded at the tips. The skin is covered with very short hair with a distinctive bald spot in the center (called a “thumbprint”). The inside of the ear may have woolly bristles.


The neck of the Abyssinian cat is graceful and quite long.


Moderately elongated, flexible, with harmonious proportions. The body is of medium size, musculature is developed, but not rough. The chest is rounded, the back is slightly pronated, but the hips should not be in an understated position.

Legs and Paws

The legs are strong, long and slender. The oval paws have small, well-padded toes that give the impression of a cat stretched out on tiptoe.


The tail of the Abyssinian cat is thin, long, and tapers pronouncedly towards the end.


The coat is short and elastic, with a magnificent luster and characteristic shimmers of tikking. The silky coat is dense and soft, with a small undercoat, tightly adhering to the body. The coat is longer on the back, but it is almost imperceptible.


An important feature of the breed is a warm saturated color with an unusual shimmer and no pattern. This is possible due to ticking – a phenomenon in which each coat has stripes of light and dark colors (from 2 to 5). The soles of the hind legs, back, tail tip have a slightly darker color than the rest of the body, and the inner surfaces of the legs, belly and chest – lighter. Ticking is distributed quite evenly, pronounced light areas are allowed only on the chin, lips, around the nose. Generally recognized are considered 4 colors of the Abyssinian cat:

  • wild (ruddy) – brown-orange shade;
  • Sorel – more reddish cats with a reddish or chestnut tint;
  • blue – grayish-blue color with a ginger tone;
  • fawn – creamy reddish color.

Also recognized are variants of the listed colors “on silver”, when the cat has a silvery-white, not warm creamy tone undercoat. Purple and chocolate shades are not considered the norm in all felinological systems.

Possible vices

Too narrow and elongated or too short round head, pronounced stripes on the legs, residual pattern on the body, pronounced cheeks. Very light undercoat, insufficient ticking, round eyes, small ears are considered to be a significant disadvantage. Animals with flabby body, shortened legs, insufficiently long tail, without thin edging on the eyelids will not be able to get high marks at the show.

Disqualifying Defects

Siamese-type physique, too light-colored areas on the coat, unbroken necklace.

Breed Care 

Abyssinians are unpretentious, but their health needs to be given attention so that the pet is less likely to live and long.

Getting a Kitten to Know the New Home

Bringing a kitten into the house, remember that he is very shy, so introducing him to the outside world, family members, pets should be leisurely.

Pay attention to him, but do not overload with games so that the baby has time to get stronger and get used to the new setting. The animal independently explores the house, it is worth providing it with a separate comfortable stalk, claw.


Abyssinian cats easily accustom to a tray with natural filler or to the toilet. If you accustom a pet to water procedures from a tender age, in the future there will be no problems with swimming at all – most of the breed representatives like to swim. Washing an animal is not desirable too often, enough once during the molting period. Use a special shampoo for short-haired cats ( without air conditioning ). After bathing, carefully wipe the pet and let go dry.

Periodically, it is worth brushing the Abyssinian cat’s teeth, since it is prone to the formation of a raid and stone. Particular attention should be paid to clean ears.


A short tight fur coat practically does not need care. Once a week, walk in the coat with a special brush. The skirl passes quickly, does not cause much inconvenience.


Abyssinians will be happy to eat special food or your cooking. In the latter case, it is worth consulting with a veterinarian who will prescribe additional vitamins, nutritional supplements. Pay a little attention to the diet so as not to overfeed the animal. Under-year age, three meals a day for kittens should be provided. It is advisable to use the same brands with which the breeder fed the kids. Upon reaching one year of age, you can switch to products for adult cats, giving out a slightly large portion twice a day.

It is advisable to cook meat and fish, give raw products only by being confident in their quality and after cutting into small pieces. Many Abyssinian cats are happy to eat – fruits and vegetables over time, you yourself will understand which of them your pet prefers.

Abyssinian’s Health and Illness

In general, Abyssinian cats – healthy cheerful animals. If diseases arise, they are more often associated with poor nutrition or genetic problems. So, retinal retinopathy is developing in some lines, due to which the Abyssinian cat will completely go blind to 5 years. This disease can be detected in a kitten in advance and responsible breeders screen out such individuals. Rarely with age is anemia able to develop due to a lack of pyruvate kinase. Infrequently, but renal amyloidosis occurs, leading to serious consequences for the health of the pet. The breed is predisposed to hip dysplasia, dislocation of the patella.

In this case, the breed, as you know, suffers from the following diseases:

  • Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums in a cat;
  • Kidney amyloidosis ( kidney disorders caused by mutation in the AA ) amyloid protein gene;
  • Progressive retinal atrophy ( PRA ) – this condition was seen in the breed in the past, but, fortunately, today, thanks to responsible reproduction, the condition is not so common among Abyssinians these days.
    In this disease, the eyes of the cat look quite normal, but according to indirect signs, such as avoiding dark spaces and stairs, you need to pay attention;
  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency (PC) – hereditary disorder that causes anemia;
  • Sensitive skin (cat hypers thesis).

You should regularly brush your teeth, monitor the absence of « licking ». Periodically bring an Abyssinian cat for a preventive appointment with the vet and do not self-medicate. With proper care, the animal will live 15-20 years.

How to Choose a Kitten

Contact only famous breeders or large nurseries. A kitten should be taken no earlier than at the three-month age. At this point, the seller manages to make the Abyssinian a few vaccinations, accustom to the tray, and transfer to independent food. In addition, the baby will psychologically become stronger, will be ready to move to a new house. Taking the beast at an earlier age, you seriously risk its physical and emotional health.

Make sure that the breeder gives out all medical certificates to the animal, pedigree, in which the absence of near-breeding crosses will be recorded. The kitten should be playful, contact, not too shy. Brilliant hair, a confident gait, the absence of probable hernia on her stomach, discharge from her eyes or ears are the main signs of a healthy Abyssinian cat.

Will an Abyssinian cat get along with a dog?

In general, they get along well with dogs, although it may take time. Because of the Abyssinian's activity, there may not be an immediate understanding between cat and dog. But this breed is persistent and bossy, so if the dog will not violate the boundaries of the Abyssinian, they can become a good company.

Will an Abyssinian cat get along with other cats?

Yes, the main thing is to give the Abyssinian proper attention, as well as to allocate each cat its own bowl and litter box. This breed gets along best with other cats if it was brought into the house as a kitten.

How does an Abyssinian cat treat children?

These are active and curious animals that will gladly share children's games. The main thing is that in the process of playing the child accidentally does not hurt the animal.

Is it possible to take an Abyssinian cat out of town for a cottage?

Yes, but with some reservations. To walk this breed, it is better to use a harness and leash or build a small enclosure for it. In this case, the cat will always be under supervision, will not be able to eat what will harm it, and will not run away in pursuit of prey. But in any case, it should be vaccinated and treated against parasites.