Of all cat breeds, the Abyssinian is perhaps the most energetic cat. That is why it is sometimes compared to a mini Puma. It is known for its speed and its predatory nature. In general they are friendly, elegant and full of energy. The cat has a wild brown colour with both light and dark shades. The Abyssinian is a cat that needs a lot of attention. Are you someone who can give that attention and likes to see his cat play and hunt? Then read on about this beautiful breed.
The name of the breed does not refer to Abyssinia, the country of origin (the old name for what is now Ethiopia during the imperial period), but to a cat that was brought from Abyssinia around 1868 with a single tabby pattern. It was called Zura and was brought by a British army captain, but was not the ancestor of the Abyssinian. About 30 years later, Abyssinian cats were a hybrid of similar felines of unknown origin. Some were British and some were brought from different parts of the East in the late 1800s.
Fun fact, the first Abyssinian was shown in a cat show in 1871, making the Abyssinian one of the oldest bred cat breeds in existence. The tick tabby pattern originated in the East and appeared in areas inhabited by British settlers, administrators and traders, such as India and elsewhere in the Far East. In 1900 the first Abyssinians arrived in America and are still widely bred today.
The image you get of an Abyssinian is a colourful, short-haired cat with a clear and distinctive pattern of tabby tabbies. They are medium-sized, graceful but muscular and shows an active and alert appearance. Their head is moderately slightly rounded wedge-shaped and rounded in outline. The nose line is slanted and there is a lot of space between its ears. The short-haired cat has pointed, large and broad ears. They can grow up to 4 to 5 kilos, so in general it is not a heavy cat.
Their eyes are almond-shaped, large, bright and expressive. They can change from gold to green. There is a thin black line around the eyes, surrounded by light-coloured areas. Abyssinians are somewhere between the extremes of firmness and great grace. The whole body should have a harmonious balance.
Character of Aby
The Abyssinian has the nickname Aby. They are one of the smartest cat breeds and are therefore very interested in their owners. Aby’s are curious: they will be there for you and keep an eye on everything. They are also very affectionate and need a lot of attention because they want to be best friends with their cat owner. Wherever you go in the house, Aby will follow you, basically as your shadow. Are you often away from home all day? Then another cat might be the answer – but the close bond they form with their owner needs to remain strong.
Although Abyssinians love attention, it is important to note that Abyssinians are not equally happy with multiple cats. They don’t feel very comfortable in a big group of cats, but they certainly don’t like to be alone. In comparison with a British Shorthair for example, the Abyssinian is very present.
The Abyssinian is pretty easy to take care of. A weekly brush is no problem for this family cat. Check immediately on the vermin that might be there. It is important that they get used to human contact at an early age, this is essential for any cat breed. What is also important is that you pay attention to the teeth – the Abyssinian have a predisposition to tartar formation and gum problems. Visit the vet once a year to avoid surprises for your sweet pet. Furthermore, you make sure, of course, as with any other cat, good food, clean litter boxes with good cat litter, and fresh water. It is also important to pamper your cat well and to buy a cat tree where he can relax after all that hunting and playing.
Diseases and disorders
Despite good care, hereditary diseases can be transmitted. Inflammations of the bladder, kidney or diarrhoea are regular occurrences in cats. In this case, you go immediately to the vet. Here are some examples of diseases and disorders.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) for example. This is a condition that can lead to blindness.
Patella Luxation (PL) – a condition of one of the kneecaps of the hind legs that, if left untreated, can cause the cat to become lame.
Pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD). This is a hereditary disease that occurs in the Abyssinian. It is characterised by anaemia, which causes an accelerated breakdown of red blood cells.
Buying an Aby
In general, the Abyssinian is a healthy cat breed, but make sure you get your Abyssinian from a reputable breeder. Also be careful if the breeder offers a kitten as an Abyssinian. A cat breed must have an official pedigree. The Abyssinian is a cat breed that is not cheap and therefore the costs can run up between €750 and €1000. If you like Abyssinian cats but you prefer them in a different variety, namely the same cat with a half-long or long fur, go for the Somali cat! Make sure you are well informed when you get a new housemate. Keep in mind that the animal needs enough attention and care.
Petrebels is not a vet or a behaviourist: all content, information and tips on this blog are meant to inspire you and are of an informative nature. Does your cat have complaints or problems? Or do you have doubts about your cat’s health? Always go to the vet or a behaviourist.