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

Periodontal disease in cats is a common problem affecting their gums and teeth. It’s caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth, which leads to bacterial infection in the surrounding gum tissue. The condition can result in pain, inflammation, tooth loss, and other serious health complications if left untreated.

Symptoms of Feline Periodontal Disease

The symptoms of periodontal disease can be subtle and could go unnoticed until the condition has progressed to a more advanced stage. Some common signs to look out for include:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Drooling or excessive salivation
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Difficulty eating or reluctance to eat – Pawing at their mouth or face
  • Swelling in their face or jaw

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for a dental examination.

Hyperesthesia Syndrome

Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome, also known as FHS, is a rare neurological condition that affects cats. It’s associated with episodes of excessive grooming, biting or scratching at their own skin, dilated pupils, and twitching their tail. These symptoms are often preceded by a period of agitation or restlessness.

The exact cause of FHS is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to abnormal activity in their nervous system. Some possible triggers include stress, anxiety, or changes in their environment or routine.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a condition that affects a cat’s retina, the part of their eye responsible for detecting light and transmitting images to the brain. In cats, PRA is an inherited disease that can lead to blindness over time.

Early signs of PRA in cats can include dilated pupils, difficulty seeing in low light conditions, and increased clumsiness or reluctance to jump or climb. As the disease progresses, cats could become completely blind.

PRA can occur in any cat breed, but certain breeds are more susceptible to the disease. These breeds include Abyssinians, Bengals, Siamese, and Persian cats.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for PRA in cats. There are things that pet owners can do to help their blind feline companions adapt to their condition. Giving them a safe and predictable environment, including keeping furniture and other objects in the same place, can help your cat navigate their surroundings more easily. Using scents or textures on different surfaces can also help your cat identify different areas of their home.

Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PKD)

Feline Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PKD) is a rare inherited disorder that affects a cat’s red blood cells. This condition causes a deficiency in pyruvate kinase, an enzyme that plays a vital role in the creation process of red blood cells. Without enough of this enzyme, the red blood cells become unstable and fragile, leading to their premature destruction.

PKD is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait, which means that cats must inherit two copies of the defective gene, one from each parent, to have the disease. Cats with only one copy of the gene are carriers and don’t have any symptoms of PKD but can pass the gene on to their offspring.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation, or kneecap displacement, is a common orthopedic condition seen in cats. This occurs when the kneecap (patella) moves out of its normal position and can cause discomfort, pain, and difficulty walking for affected felines.

While patellar luxation can occur in any cat breed, it’s much more common in smaller breeds like Devon Rex, Abyssinian, and Siamese cats. It’s also more commonly seen in younger cats, usually less than one year old.

The condition can be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, trauma or injury to their knee joint, and abnormal bone development. Symptoms of patellar luxation can include limping, reluctance to jump or climb stairs, and an abnormal gait or hopping motion.

Renal Amyloidosis

Feline renal amyloidosis is a condition that affects a cat’s kidneys. It occurs when there is an abnormal accumulation of amyloid protein in their kidney tissue, leading to progressive damage and dysfunction.

Amyloidosis is a complex disorder with multiple forms, but the most common type seen in cats is called AA amyloidosis. This form of amyloidosis occurs secondary to chronic inflammation or infection in their body, which triggers the production of an abnormal protein called serum amyloid A (SAA).

In cats, chronic infections such as dental disease or urinary tract infections can lead to the development of AA amyloidosis. Other underlying conditions that can contribute to the development of renal amyloidosis in cats include immune-mediated diseases and certain cancers.

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.

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Contributing Author & Social Media Expert

Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.