Abyssinians

An Abyssinian cat looking into the camera

Are you considering getting a new family pet? If so, the Abyssinian may be just the cat for you! This breed of cat is known for its intelligence, loyalty and affectionate nature.

The Abyssinian is an ancient breed of cat that originated in Ethiopia. They are an ancient breed of cat that has been around since the early days of Egypt. They were brought to Europe when the Europeans discovered Africa. Since then, they have been bred to be smaller than their African ancestors. 

They have a distinctive coat pattern with ticked fur and agouti coloring. Their fur is short and silky.

The Abyssinian is a medium-sized cat, weighing between 8 and 15 pounds when fully grown. They are active cats that enjoy playing and exploring their home.

The Abyssinian cat, also known as Aby, is a fun-loving, affectionate, and friendly breed. They are very active and extremely intelligent. They are both entertaining and energetic and like to climb to the highest spot they can reach to survey their surroundings.

Abyssinians are known for being loyal and affectionate cats. They love to be around their owners and will often follow them from room to room. They are also very social cats and enjoy interacting with other cats and people. In addition to physical stimulation through play, they also need a fair amount of brain stimulation as well several times per day. They love to play, so having toys available for them to play with is important.

Abyssinians are relatively low-maintenance cats, but they do need regular grooming to keep their coats looking healthy. Brushing once or twice a week is usually enough to keep their fur in good condition.

Abyssinians are an ideal choice for first-time cat owners. They are relatively easy to care for and their intelligence makes them easy to train. They also get along well with other cats and people, making them a great addition to any family.

If you’re looking for a loyal and affectionate companion, the Abyssinian is a great choice. With their intelligence, loyalty and affectionate nature, they make wonderful family pets.

Abyssinian Information

  • Average Height: 8 to 10 inches
  • Average Length: 12 to 16 inches
  • Average Weight: 8 to 15 pounds
  • Coat Type: Medium 
  • Coat Appearance: They have a short, silky coat with a fine texture
  • Coat Colors: Rudy brown, blue, fawn, and cinnamon
  • Grooming Needs: Medium
  • Shedding: Low
  • Brushing Requirements: They need to be brushed once a week
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Excessive Meow: No
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: No
  • Good Pet: They are friendly and affectionate, so yes.
  • Safe with Children: Loves being around children, so yes!
  • Good with Other Cats: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: No
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes but they tend to jump a lot 
  • Exercise Needs: Medium 
  • Weight Gain: Medium
  • Health Concerns: Hyperesthesia Syndrome, Patellar Luxation, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PKD), Renal Amyloidosis, and Periodontal Disease 
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 9 to 13 years

Physical Appearance of Abyssinians

an Abyssinian cat crouched and waiting to pounce

The Abyssinian is a medium-sized cat with a long body that has a sleek appearance. The cat has long and slim legs. They stand well off the ground giving the appearance that they are standing on the tips of their toes. Their paws are small and oval. Their front paws have five toes and their back paws only have four toes.

They have a somewhat rounded and wedge-shaped head. The ears are broad, pointed, and slightly bent forward. The cat has large almond-shaped eyes which can be golden or green in color. Their tail is long, thick and smooth and it tapers to the tip.

Abyssinians have a medium-length coat that is silky and soft. Their coat has a ticked pattern with alternating colors of light and dark. This looks similar to patterns you commonly see on wild cats like cougars. The coat can be one of four different colors. Each color has a unique shade on the snout and paws of the cat.

Temperament of Abyssinians

The Abyssinians are known for being sweet and kind. Abyssinians are very intelligent and always curious about things. They are quite active and love exploring around the house and getting into things. Unlike other cats that like to spend most of their time on the lap of their owners, Abyssinians are always looking forward to playing with someone. Even though they’re ready to play, they are very affectionate towards their owners.

They can adapt to any environment making them a great choice for singles, couples, and larger families. They don’t mind having strangers around and enjoy being around other family pets like dogs. In fact, they love to make friends and play with them.

They need a lot of toys to play with to keep them occupied. Puzzles, ping pong balls, bottle caps, and similar toys are good, anything to keep them busy when you don’t have time to play with them. They are very quick to learn new things and you can even teach them to retrieve toys or other objects you throw.

These cats are very smart and you will have to entertain them to keep them occupied. Have them play games two times in a day. You can play puzzles, train them to retrieve toys, or play other interesting games. Since they like to jump you can get an indoor cat tree for them. They are highly active and climbing the cat tree will help meet their physical exercise needs as well as mental needs.

Another interesting thing you will notice about them is they love to perch and look down on the home. They will usually climb to the highest point they can get to and just observe things. If you have thought about getting a cat tower, this will be the cat that will always use it. Just make sure that they’re not going to knock anything down from wherever they will perch.

Training an Abyssinian

An Abyssinian kitten watching other cats play outside

These cats are intelligent and easy to train. As long as you have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside you should have no problems with them using it. Just remember to keep it clean because this is the main reason why a cat may not use the litter box.

You may see a few accidents in the beginning but do not punish them. Give them praise and treats whenever they use the litter box. This will help them to understand what kind of behavior is expected of them.

To take care of their scratching desires, set up scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or any other object, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post. This will take care of their scratching habits and also prevent damage to your furniture. It may take time for them to get used to it in the beginning but eventually, they will learn.

If you already have pets in your home then there are some basic steps to take to teach the new cat how to interact with the existing pets. After you’ve introduced the new cat to each pet, observe their behavior. If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in and tell them no. You want to do this before an existing pet tells the new one for you.

Clicker training is becoming more popular now. Make a noise with the clicker when the cat does something which is considered good behavior. It will let them know that this is something that you like and hopefully will do it more frequently.

Their Compatibility with Children

They are one of the best cats for families with children. Abys always love to play with children. They enjoy the attention they receive from children and give back affection and love.

The cat is smart and knows that they should stay out of reach of toddlers hands. Even if some children do get a bit aggressive they don’t act aggressively toward children.

Older children are a perfect match for the high energy these cats have. If they could, the Aby would spend all day playing together with your children. Beyond play time, they also really enjoy cuddles and lap time.

Best Climate for Abyssinians

an Abyssinian cat looking at something

Moderate temperatures are considered best for Abyssinians. Unlike Himalayans, they do not have a long and dense coat to keep them warm in cold temperatures.

As for the hot climate, their body has a thin layer of fur that helps them stay cool in warm temperatures. Some cats may try to enjoy the sunshine by laying near the windows or doors. Be careful not to let them lay for too long in the sun because with their short fur they can get a sunburn.

The Attention an Abyssinian Needs

The cat needs a lot of attention. They are an active cat and while they will love the affection you give them as they sit next to you, they prefer to be doing things. While they are smart enough to solve puzzle toys to get treats, you should keep these for when you cannot actually spend time with them.

If you have a mouse on a stick or a laser pointer toy they can play with these for a long time. Batting balls around will be a common occurrence in your home with them. It might sound like a lot of work but usually you can just make their day by getting their attention and rolling a ball in their general direction. They will often retrieve it and bring it back so that you can roll it again.

If you have a family that stays away from home for many hours each day, it might be a good idea to get a second Aby. These cats like attention and leaving them alone could be a concern. For just about any pet, they are their most destructive when they are bored and have nothing to occupy their time. Having a companion means they will always have someone to play with, and not be so needy for attention.

Health Issues

Most Abyssinian Cats will live a healthy life but like any other animal, they can also have certain hereditary and acquired health problems.

Periodontal Disease

Like many domesticated cats and dogs, Abyssinians can get periodontal disease if their oral health is not taken care of. Periodontal disease is a tooth and gum condition that can become serious in a few ways. One of the biggest problems is that this disease can destroy the gums and teeth of your pet if left untreated.

Another major problem is when the bacteria in the mouth enters the bloodstream. Plaque buildup in the mouth can damage the gums and let bacteria into the bloodstream. If this happens it can cause kidney and liver diseases and even narrow their blood vessels which can lead to heart problems.

One of the easiest ways to prevent periodontal disease is to regularly brush your pets mouth. They generally don’t like it, but regular brushing is the best way you can prevent plaque buildup in your pets mouth.

Hyperesthesia Syndrome

The Aby can also have a neurological problem called Hyperesthesia Syndrome. This causes the cat to groom themselves excessively which can lead to loss of hair, acting excited, or behaving strangely.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a genetic eye disease that many cats can have. It first causes loss of night vision and gradually results in complete blindness. If you see your cat is bumping into walls or furniture you should take them to the vet to check whether they have PRA. Early treatment will help to limit the damage to the retina.

Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PKD)

Pyruvate kinase deficiency, or PKD is a medical condition that affects the circulatory system and causes a loss of red blood cells and bone marrow. Also called erythrocyte pyruvate kinase deficiency, this is a genetically inherited condition.  

The genetic defect of PKD means that the animal’s red blood cells will not carry oxygen rich blood throughout the body as efficiently as they should. Red blood cells die off quickly with this condition and normal bodily processes are hampered. The bone marrow struggles to keep up with the necessary red blood cell production.

Patellar Luxation

Another hereditary condition is patellar luxation which causes mild to severe dislocation of the kneecap. In severe cases, surgery might be required.

Renal Amyloidosis

Renal amyloidosis is also a hereditary condition that leads to the deposit of protein amyloid in the internal organs of the body. The amyloid getting deposited in the kidney often leads to kidney failure.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

The Abyssinian cats have a medium-length coat that sheds moderately. The coat needs to be brushed once a week to remove the loose hair. Always use a soft bristle brush while brushing them.

Abyssinian are prone to have periodontal disease. They should have their teeth brushed as often as possible or every six months by your vet to keep them clean. If you want to be proactive with their health you can brush them between these vet visits. Use toothpaste recommended by your vet.

To maintain good dental health, brush their teeth twice a week. Ask your vet what toothpaste they recommend you use. To keep the ears clean, check it once a week for dirt or wax build-up. If it needs cleaning, use a small moist cotton makeup removal pad to wipe only the visible area of the ears.

Like other cats, they’ll sometimes have teary eyes. Use a small moist cotton makeup removal pad to softly wipe the stains.

Trim their nails every other week. Keeping their nails short will help minimize damage to your furniture and also accidents from happening when they play with your family.

Every week it is important to check their nose, paws, and other areas of your cat while brushing them for signs of redness or other infections. If you see any signs of infection, call your vet immediately.

Feeding An Abyssinian

We recommend that you feed your Abyssinian between ⅓ to ½ cup of high-quality cat food that is split between two meals. The exact meal size will depend upon the activities that your cat does during the day. A high energy cat who spends a lot of time playing will need more food than a low energy cat who prefers to relax.

While Abyssinians don’t have a tendency to gain weight quickly because they’re very active, you should monitor their activity level and how much you feed them. It’s a good idea not to feed them table scraps or people food because it can lead to begging and weight gain.

The food that you feed should contain taurine which is an essential nutrient that every cat needs. It is an amino acid that nourishes the brain, eyes, and also helps to improve the immune system of the cats. Consult your vet to find out if the food that you feed them has the necessary nutrients.

Related Questions:

Are Abyssinian Cats Pedigree or Cross-bred?

They are a pedigree breed but their exact origin is not accurately known. Though they are named Abyssinian they did not originate from Abyssinian, Ethiopia. These cats are one of the oldest domesticated cat breeds and people used to trace their roots back to the city Zula.

But the latest evidence shows that they might have originated from the Indian Sub-continent. It is thought that they had been brought West by British and Dutch traders in the 19th century.

How High can Abyssinian Cats Jump?

They can jump up as high as six feet. They are curious and always in search of something interesting. Abyssinians enjoy being at the highest points in your home. We recommend that if you have this breed you avoid keeping sharp or other harmful objects on the top of your furniture.

In their excitement, the cat may not see the object and might accidentally hurt themselves. It is always possible that they may accidentally bump things off from shelves too.

Can Abyssinian Cats Live in a Small Apartment?

It actually depends on how you train them. Though they can adjust to all types of environments, Aby is very active and loves to jump around. Staying in a small apartment can prevent the cat from enjoying themselves to the fullest. So it is generally not recommended to have them stay in small apartments.