Abyssinian Cat: Breed Information, Care, Personality, & More

The Abyssinian cat is a regal and athletic breed of feline that loves to explore. They are active, agile, and alert cats who will playfully climb on anything they can get their paws on!

Despite their sturdy build, they move with deft grace and elegance; their shimmering iridescence gives them the appearance of miniature cougars or mountain lions when they are in motion.

They make fantastic pets since they are highly affectionate towards those they trust. They enjoy being around humans, and they will often follow them around the house just for companionship!

If you’re looking for an incredibly loyal companion who is always up for fun activities, then the Abyssinian cat may be the perfect pet for you! Keep reading to learn more about this amazing cat.

Breed Overview

Abyssinian cat laying down looking at the birds outside the window

The Abyssinian Cat is one of the world’s most popular cats, having a fascinating history that stretches back to the late Victorian era. The breed first rose to notoriety when it appeared at the Crystal Palace Cat Show in 1871, with an individual cat named Zula taking third place.

This marked the first known mention of this mysterious breed in print, and speculation began as to its origins.

While there are no existing records regarding their exact origins, many believe that British and Dutch traders may have brought these cats from ports such as Calcutta, India, or Indonesia during their travels. A taxidermied specimen of a ruddy-tickled cat with the label “Patrie, domestica India” on display at the Leiden Zoological Museum in the 1830s lends support to this theory.

These cats were likely given their name because they were said to have been imported from Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). Early pedigrees show crosses between other non-Abyssinian cats, which could explain why new coat colors and fur lengths began appearing within the breed over time. 

In 1900, American cat fanciers first acquired several Abyssinians in America, but it was not until the 1930s that major breeding operations for this species of cat began here. Around the same time, more Abyssinians were imported from Britain.

Did You Know: Abyssinian cats also come in long-haired varieties, which are formally known as Somali cats.
They are known as Somali cats, as Somalia is neighboring Abyssinia.

Identifying Abyssinian Cat

The stunning Abyssinian cat is a breed of feline that stands out for its distinctive coat pattern, which exhibits agouti ticking and emits an iridescent warmth of color. The individual fur shafts of this breed resemble rabbit coats in their bands of alternating rich colors.

This durable coat snaps back into place when rubbed against the lay, and it comes in a variety of hues, including silver ones that have an ice white coloration closest to the skin and ticking up the hair shaft.

The Abyssinians also have a very unique head type, with rounded curves and huge ears laid forward in alertness. Their eyes are striking, large almond-shaped jewels in gold or green, ringed by rings of dark eyeliner and lighter shades at their outer edges.

Abyssinian cat standing

The Abyssinian cat is incredibly beautiful, with a wide range of color variations. In the traditional division, you can find colors such as ruddy, cinnamon, chocolate, diluted blue, fawn, and lilac.

For those looking for something a bit more special, you can explore the silver division, which offers black silver, cinnamon silver, chocolate silver, diluted blue silver, fawn silver, and lilac silver.

Cat owners have adored this exotic look for centuries, thanks to the combination of all these colors!

Personality Traits

Abyssinian cats are known for their friendly, outgoing personalities, high levels of intelligence, and boundless activity. It should come as no surprise that many people adore this breed.

Aby cats are energetic and playful, so it is important to provide them with a variety of stimulating toys. They also like being high up, so you will see them perched on furniture or cat trees that reach the ceiling to survey their environment.

The Abyssinian gets along well with other animals in the home, such as cats and dogs, provided they are cat-friendly and non-aggressive. They have even been known to make friends with large parrots and ferrets! But each cat has its own personality, so stay cautious if you have smaller pets.

With patience and understanding, the Abyssinian may make excellent friends with any animal in your home! However, any new family members (pets) should be introduced gradually to allow everyone to adjust to each other’s presence.

Activity Level

Abyssinians are extremely active cats and require plenty of daily exercise to stay healthy physically and mentally. They love to play with their owners, whether it’s chasing a ball or playing hide-and-seek.

They enjoy investigating their surroundings, climbing cat trees, or simply relaxing in the sun by the window. Abys require constant mental stimulation in the form of interactive toys that challenge and delight them for hours.

With an energetic personality combined with a curious nature, Abyssinian cats make great companions for people who can provide them with enough activity and attention throughout the day!

Abyssinian cat ready to play

Abyssinian Cat Loyalty

The Abyssinian cat not only has a high degree of intelligence, but it is also extremely loyal and devoted to its owner. When you return home from work or school, they will meet you with a welcoming purr and rub against your legs as if you have been gone forever!

The Abyssinian cat breed is well-known for its incredible loyalty, which has led to them being affectionately called the “dog of the cat world”. These feline companions have a natural inclination to look after and safeguard their cherished humans, solidifying their reputation as fiercely devoted companions.

Unlike many other breeds of cats, Abyssinians are not content with simply sitting on their owner’s lap or lounging around the house. They need regular interaction and stimulation to feel fulfilled and content.

They absolutely love playing games like fetch or chasing toys around the house. However, their true desire is to be involved in every activity, whether it is helping out with household chores or working remotely.

This remarkable level of devotion is one reason why Abyssinian cats make excellent pets. Their inquisitive nature means that they will always be looking out for potential dangers and alerting you if something seems amiss.

Love Of Water

The Abyssinian breed is known for its love for water, and according to experts, owners should not be surprised if their cats figure out how to sneak into the water faucet or any other source of water in the house. This is a rather odd behavior for cats, as the majority of felines avoid damp areas, yet these cats love to splash around in big bowls of water or near a fountain.

Abyssinians are naturally attracted to water and will gladly seize any opportunity to be near bodies of water; this affinity probably stems from their origins on the African continent, where many of their ancestors would have spent time near rivers and streams.

They especially enjoy drinking from running sources of water rather than still puddles or dishes. This may be because the running flow gives them access to oxygenated and fresh H2O with each gulp!


The Abyssinian Cat is an incredibly intelligent and inquisitive breed of cat that loves to explore its environment. They are highly trainable using positive reinforcement methods, making them the perfect pet.

Moreover, it is highly recommended for owners to offer their feline companions enrichment activities like puzzle feeders or food-filled toys that engage their natural instincts. These interactive games not only provide mental stimulation but also strengthen the bond between owner and pet.

Given the Abyssinian’s sharp intellect, they will eagerly partake in these activities, so be prepared with ample rewards!

Abyssinian Standing next to window looking at its owner

Adult Size

The Abyssinian is a medium-sized cat that has a surprisingly heavy build for its slim body. They typically stand between 8 and 10 inches high and can weigh anywhere from 8 to 12 pounds, with females being slightly smaller than males.

The length of their bodies usually measures between 12 and 16 inches, making them an ideal size for most homes.

The growth rate of the Abyssinian breed is truly remarkable. These cats mature at an accelerated pace compared to other breeds. In their kitten stage, they experience rapid growth, reaching half their adult size by just three months old.

Throughout this period, they gain approximately 1 lb per month until they reach their full size, typically between 6 and 8 months old.

After that, their growth rate slows significantly, and they may only gain a few ounces each month for the rest of their lives. As adults, these cats remain active and playful despite having reached their full size, which makes them an ideal companion for any household!

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy of the Abyssinian cat is between 9 and 15 years, with some living even longer than this.

To ensure your Abyssinian cat reaches its maximum lifespan, it’s important to provide them with a balanced diet. Make sure to include a variety of fresh proteins, fruits, and vegetables in their meals, and do not forget to keep them well-hydrated with plenty of water.

Exercise plays an integral role in the overall health of an Abyssinian, and providing them with ample opportunities for playtime will help keep their bodies fit and healthy.

It’s also important to give them regular veterinary checkups so that any potential health issues can be identified early on and treated accordingly.

Abyssinian Care

Caring for an Abyssinian cat requires a bit of effort, but the rewards are worth it. These beautiful cats are intelligent, active, and curious, making them ideal companions for those who enjoy spending time with their pets.

Grooming is essential to keeping your cat’s coat in top condition. Regular brushing with a soft brush will help remove dead hair and distribute skin oils evenly throughout the fur.

Bathing should only be done when necessary, as too much bathing can strip away natural oils from the coat, which can result in dryness and irritation. Using a shampoo formulated especially for cats is best for this purpose.

Trimming nails every couple of weeks keeps them at optimum length while also preventing scratches on furniture or people!

Taking care of an Abyssinian cat involves paying attention to their dental hygiene. Regular tooth brushing is crucial to preventing periodontal disease and ensuring your pet’s comfort and well-being.

Abyssinian breed sitting near window looking at its toys in the living room

Use a finger brush designed specifically for cats, along with toothpaste made especially for felines. Never use human toothpaste, as this can be toxic to cats!

It’s recommended to brush your cat’s teeth daily, but weekly brushing is better than nothing at all, so make sure you stick to some kind of routine!

It’s also important to keep your cat’s litter box clean; scoop it out regularly and change the litter completely once every week or two, depending on how many cats you have.

Cats are fastidious about their bathroom habits, so make sure there aren’t any unpleasant odors coming from the litter box. Otherwise, they may start looking elsewhere around the house instead!


Abyssinians are active cats who require proper nutrition to stay healthy and energetic. Feeding your Aby cat high-protein cat food is a great approach to support their activity levels and give them lots of energy for playtime.

High-quality natural diets include all the important proteins, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that cats require, including taurine. Salmon is another food source that contains omega-3 fatty acids, which support healthy skin and coat conditions.

Foods that have a combination of salmon and eggs give your Abyssinian complete protein sources that help build strong muscles.

It is important to ensure that your Aby stays hydrated by providing multiple water bowls throughout your home. Consider placing them in different areas and, if feasible, offering access to fresh running water.

Including fresh fruits and vegetables as occasional treats can be a great way to add variety to your cat’s diet. However, it is important to remember that they should not be relied upon as a substitute for regular meals. While they can provide some nutritional benefits, they should be given in low quantities and only when your cat wants it.

Keep in mind that Abyssinians are prone to obesity. This is because they tend to be very active one moment and then suddenly become quite lazy. Therefore, portion control is key when feeding this breed. You can use our Cat BMI Calculator to determine your cat’s body mass index.

Make sure you’re only giving them enough food each day according to their body condition score (BCS) rather than just filling up their bowl whenever they ask for more! With these nutrition tips in mind, you can ensure your Aby remains happy and healthy for years ahead!

For Abyssinians to stay in tip-top shape, it is crucial to provide them with an ample supply of fresh, clean water every day. To make sure they stay hydrated, it is recommended to position their water bowl at a distance of at least three feet from their food. This simple trick helps minimize the strong food aroma, which can sometimes discourage them from drinking enough water.

Exercise Requirement 

Keeping your Abyssinian active is crucial for the overall health and happiness of your pet. Playing with your cat helps to keep their physical fitness in check, as they need exercise to remain healthy.

Regular play will help them stay trim and active. Not only that, but it is a great way to bond with your furry friend as well!

Playing also provides mental stimulation and enrichment for an Abyssinian cat’s mind. By providing them with different toys, scratching posts, ladders, or other objects, you can encourage them to explore new things while keeping their minds sharp. 

This will help prevent boredom, which may lead to destructive behavior or depression in cats. Additionally, interactive activities like fetching or hide-and-seek can be fun for both pet owners and pets alike!

Abyssinian cat ready to play

Shedding Levels

The shedding level of Abyssinian cats can vary depending on the age and stage of life they are in. During kittenhood, it is quite common for the fur to shed more than usual as it grows.

However, this is just a phase that will pass! As they enter adulthood, this shedding should start to lessen, and their coats should become slightly thicker.

During regular shedding seasons, their fur may become even denser and require more frequent brushing to keep it healthy and free from matting or knots.

Outside of these seasonal periods, Abyssinians don’t tend to be heavy shedders, so routine weekly brushing should be enough to keep their fur in good condition.

If your cat does start losing lots of hair outside of these times, then you may want to investigate further with your vet, as excessive hair loss can indicate a medical problem that needs attention.

Health Issues

Abyssinians are generally healthy, but they can be prone to certain genetic health conditions. The most common diseases for this breed include:

  • PK-Def (Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency)
  • PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)
  • PL (Patella Luxation)
  • RA (Renal Amyloidosis).

PK-Def and PRA can be diagnosed through genetic testing, so it is important to ask the breeder for certification before buying this breed.

At the same time, poor diet and living conditions can have a negative effect on the health of an Abyssinian breed. A poor diet may lead to malnutrition, which can cause issues such as weight loss and lethargy.

Poor living conditions, such as overcrowding, exposure to extreme temperatures, or uncleanliness, can also cause illnesses like respiratory infections or skin problems.

To prevent diseases, it is important to feed the cat a balanced diet with high-quality food and plenty of fresh water available at all times.

Regular visits to the vet for checkups are recommended for maintaining healthy cats as well as providing vaccinations. Overall, following these practices will help keep your Abyssinian Cat in optimal health.

Buying Tips

Before buying this breed, you may want to consider the following key points:

  1. Research the breed: Before deciding to purchase an Aby Cat, it is important to research the breed and understand its needs and temperaments. This will help you decide if this is the right breed for you.
  2. Visit a breeder or rescue center: When buying an Abyssinian Cat, it is best to visit a reputable breeder or rescue center that can provide information about its health history, temperament, and lineage.
  3. Check for health issues: Ensure that the kitten has undergone a thorough examination by a veterinarian who can look for any potential underlying health issues that might be present in the animal’s genome, such as genetic flaws that could result in complications in later life.
  4. Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions when buying an Abyssinian Cat so that you can make sure you are getting a healthy pet with good socialization skills and good behavior habits already established in them from birth onwards (ease of litter box training, etc).
  5. Consider costs: Costs associated with owning an Abyssinian Cat should also be taken into consideration before making your purchase; these include vaccinations, monthly preventative care visits at your vet’s office, and regular grooming requirements (depending on coat length).

Related: 250+ Amazing Abyssinian Cat Names & How To Select One!

Abyssinian cat laying down looking at the birds outside the window


Overall, if you are in search of a one-of-a-kind, smart, and sociable companion, the Abyssinian cat is the perfect choice. These cats are always on the move, curious, and deeply loyal to their owners.

While they do need regular grooming, they actually enjoy the extra attention. Additionally, they make fantastic watch cats, always on guard to alert you of any visitors. All in all, the Abyssinian cat is an excellent option for those seeking an affectionate and intelligent companion!