The cat lover who wants a companion who is the epitome of the feline species can not make a better choice than an Abyssinian. A sleek, elegant mini-cougar with:
- Magnificent alert ears
- Sculptured exotic face
- Radiant royal dignity
- Regal beauty
- A mischievous twinkle in his eye
About Abyssinian Cat
The Abyssinian cat has a mysterious history that makes it a very interesting breed as it’s origins ore not entirely certain. As of late the Abyssinian has become one of the more popular cat breeds with some major cat publications ranking it among the top ten most popular breeds today.
Let’s talk about this breed, the history and overall characteristics that make it such a popular breed among cat lovers.
Abyssinian Cat Origins
There is a lot of debate and uncertainness over the actual origin of the Abyssinian cat breed. The main theory as to where it came involves Ancient Egypt. It is widely believed that the breed is a few thousand years old and that the Egyptians loved and adored this cat.
This theory can be supported by the fact that there are many paintings and art that depict cats that resemble what we know as the Abyssinian today. The name ‘Abyssinian’ is actually tied to Ethiopia, but Egypt is the most logical place that the cat came from.
Abyssinian Cat Appearance
The Abyssinian is very slender, long, and muscular in appearance with a medium length coat that is very silky in both touch and feel. If you have ever seen a Somali cat you will notice that there is a striking similarity.
Another prominent feature is the large and alert ears compared to the rest of its skinny body. The tail is also long, just like the rest of the body. Overall this breed is medium in size and weight compared to other felines.
Abyssinian Cat Color
The coat of Abyssinian cats is very unique compared to other breeds of cats; it is medium in length, dense and very silky. The coat of Abyssinian cats have a special feature where each hair has multiple shades of colors.
The hair usually has three or four bands, with the lighter color being at the root and darker color being at the tip.
This feature is found only in the Abyssinian, Somali and Singapura breeds, however this does not mean the coat needs special care or anything.
The dark and light colored coat, also referred to as ‘ticking’ involves a base color that is darker with a lighter colored root. There are only a few cat breeds that have this type of cat, which makes it even more unique.
There are a few color variations but the overall appearance hasn’t changed much over the years. Color variations include a cinnamon base, a beige color base, and there is also a light cream base color which is rare compared to the first two that were mentioned.
Other rare colors include red, chocolate, lilac, and tortoiseshell with just a few breeders focusing on these types of coats. There is also a silver Abyssinian but it current is not recognized by the CFA, making it unattractive as a pedigreed cat.
Abyssinian cats, or kittens are born with darker fur that turns into a lighter shade as they age and mature. It usually takes several months for the final color to settle in. The coat of Abyssinian cats may be: Sorrel, beige, black, blue, silver and the rare colors include tortoiseshell, chocolate, red, and lilac.
Abyssinian Cat Personality
The temperament of this cat is what makes it very attractive to prospective owners who want a feline that is not going to lay around and be a typical lazy cat. They are very outgoing, playful, and intelligent cats who thrive on interaction with their owners.
While their personality is very extroverted, this usually applies to affectionate towards their owners only. Strangers, for example can typically result in shyness from these cats as they feel uncertain and timid in unfamiliar situations.
Abyssinian Cat Personality Traits
- Very Affectionate
- Water Loving
These are ideal cats for families that are willing to give the affectionate and attention that is needed. Abyssinians are one of the best breeds to have in a family setting, but don’t always play nice with other animals. They like to be the focus of attention and other cats can sometime cause jealousy or erratic behavior.
This doesn’t mean that you cannot have other animals or cats if you get one, but you should be aware that there may be extra social adjustment required to make it work.
You should definitely devote time to play with an Abyssinian (great for kids) and have plenty of toys available while you are away, as they will get into trouble!
If you watch some videos of the breed you will see that they definitely are thrill seekers, including exploring heights and other less traveled parts of your house.
If you have just gotten a kitten from the breeder there are some things to consider. You should keep it in an area that is safe and free of unexpected dangers. What we mean by unexpected dangers are things that could potentially harm the kitten as they play or become curious.
Look around your house or specific room where the kitten will be and look for things that might be able to fall on them, tip over, and also cords and other electrical items that could be chewed on. Dangerous plants and other flowers that can be chewed on should also be put away.
As you may know, the Abyssinian breed is notorious for being curious and a bit risky as it plays…a real thrill seeker. You want to eliminate anything that is dangerous to your new baby. And just like a real baby, the new kitten does not know any better. Keep it safe by using common sense and knowing your environment.
Abyssinian Cat Feeding and Watering
Probably the most important part of caring for an Abyssinian cat is keeping a regular and fresh supply of dry food and water available at all times. You will want to keep the food and water in an area that is both private and accessible for your cat.
The brand of food that you choose isn’t as important as making sure they have a constant supply. There are many popular brands that have a specific kitten formula for new cats, an adult mixture for normal feeding, and even a senior formula that helps give the cat nutrition and help with joint problems.
Abyssinian Cat Grooming
Grooming this breed is really pretty easy because of their silky medium length coats. You probably want to do regular brushing a few times a week with a wire or coarse brush.
Bathing is generally not necessary unless they get into something very bad or that will not come off through brushing.
Nail clipping is a regular chore that may not be pleasant but is necessary to keep the claws at short length which will reduce the chance of getting your furniture clawed up as well as possible scratches to yourself or members of your family.
Declawing is something that some owners perform that we highly recommend against, but it is a personal decision. It is painful to the cat and really unnecessary as long as you do the proper clipping on a regular basis.
There are also plastic caps that are available as an alternative if you are really concerned about the claws doing damage or harming small children.
Abyssinian Cat Dental Care
Brushing the teeth on a regular basis of your Abyssinian is something that is very important to avoid dental problems for the future. Let’s be honest here… most cats hate having their teeth cleaned with brushes or rubber applicators that usually come with dental products for felines.
Regular cleanings can be done at the vet to help avoid serious dental problems in life. As well as feeding them treats such as greenies that they can chew on to help with bad breath and germs that collect in the mouth. Make an effort to have some type of dental plan to help your cat keep a mouth full of teeth as they age.
Abyssinian Affection and Attention
This section is very important for taking care of an Abyssinian cat. They require a high level of attention and affection to be the companion that you will love and enjoy having in your home.
Make a point to spend time playing with your cat on a regular basis and have a good variety of toys that they can play with on their own.
The Litter box
The type of litter box probably isn’t important as long as it is large enough for your cat to use and be comfortable in. For just one cat a smaller box might be ok, and with multiple cats you may want to consider a larger box or even two.
Clumping type litters should be avoided as they can cause dangerous situations where the litter expands inside the cat after being swallowed.
Again, the brand probably doesn’t matter as much as having a fresh and clean litter box as often as possible for your Abyssinian.
Consider scooping the box at least twice a day and completely changing the litter at least once a week to keep it fresh enough and free of odor.
Cats in general are very picky about this and you will know if you are not doing a good job because you will probably start finding little surprises around the house. You can avoid this completely by keeping the litter box fresh and clean.
Appearance of Abyssinian Cats
Something unique that Abyssinian cats have is something called the “M.” The “M” shaped marking above the eyes of the cat are also referred as “frown lines” and Abyssinian cats, every single one of them, have it.
Note that the “M” shaped marking does not mean something is wrong with Abyssinian cats, rather, it should be considered as wrinkles.
The head of Abyssinian cats is broad compared to the other breeds, and some-what wedge shaped. The eyes of Abyssinian cats can be described as “almond-shaped,” colors varying from gold, copper, hazel and green.
The ears of the Abyssinian cats are erect and alert, and large compared to the other breeds. They are broad and are slightly pointed at the tips.
Abyssinian Cat Size and Weight
They are a medium size breed compared to other cats. The body of Abyssinian cats is medium in length, and they tend to be very slender while having developed muscles at the same time.
The fine-boned legs are also very slender, and proportionate to the body. The paws are small and oval-shaped and their tails are rather long; sometimes as long as the body itself.
Most adult females are in the range of 8-10 lbs while adult males can get as large as 10-15 lbs.
Abyssinian Cat Lifespan
Usually 12-15 years of age is the average for the Abyssinian breed although it can be more or less depending on individual care and health of the cat.
Is Abyssinian Cat Good for Families?
The Abyssinian is definitely good with families, including children as they require and crave attention as much as possible. There are many indications that they may not do well with other cats or pets because of their desire to be the center of attention.
If you do have other pets it is recommended that you make sure to give them the extra attention that they need.
Most professional breeders will agree that Abyssinian cats are extroverted, and very active and playful. In most cases, Abyssinian cats are never “lap cats”, as they are considered one of the most active breed of cats.
Abyssinian cats love playing and exploring, and those two characteristics are the two main reasons why Abyssinian cats make great show cats. However, there are some Abyssinian cats that are very shy and timid- especially in public.
Abyssinian cats are also very intelligent; they do not take any kind of risks and are very sensible. They are physically capable of climbing to high places and they enjoy it.
They also love playing fetch and playing with strings like many cats do. They also make great hunters, though you might not expect your Abyssinian cat to be one.