The Abyssinian has quite the legacy; Scientists found 4000 year old hieroglyphs in ancient Egyptian ruins that bear a striking resemblance to this highly extroverted breed. Also known as the Cat of the Blue Nile, the Abyssinian is loved in Northern America for their expressive eyes, unique coat, and highly extroverted personality.
There are rumors that these cats are direct descendants of the cats that were revered as gods by the Egyptians (and they were also kept as pets by their Pharaohs!). Think you’re up to the challenge of keeping this divine cat? Here’s what you need to know:
The Abyssinian has a lithe, slender body of about 12 to 16 inches in length with long legs, a long tail, a wedge-shaped face, broad pointy ears, and beautiful almond-shaped eyes that are always alert and give them a regal appearance. Their small bodies and fine-boned legs are complemented by a graceful walk and an athletic frame that needs constant exercise.
The coat of the Abyssinian is short to medium length and silky to the touch. One of the characteristics that make this breed stand out from others is their “ticked” hairs, meaning each individual hair has alternate bands of various colors starting darkest at the tip and becoming lighter towards the base. This unique hair structure gives the Abyssinian an impressive coat that looks especially stunning in daylight.
The coat is composed of various shades of ruddy, blue, cinnamon, red, and fawn. These colors resemble those of an exotic wildcat, perhaps slightly reminiscent of a cougar. Their eyes are either green or gold.
Did you come here looking for a lazy, furry lapful of cat? Then you should probably start searching elsewhere, because this one has a reputation for being the energizer bunny of the cat world. The Abyssinian is constantly on the move and thoroughly enjoys jumping, climbing, and exploring whatever it can find.
You may walk into your kitchen and find your Egyptian friend sitting on top of the refrigerator, monitoring all family activity. They can also frequently be found chilling on windowsills, watching birds and other wildlife.
The personality of this breed can best be described as friendly, active, and highly adventurous. If you happen to already own an Abyssinian, you have likely discovered by now why they aren’t exactly known for their calm demeanor. This is a breed with a highly dynamic and playful nature.
Abyssinians love interaction so much, that they will likely want you to involve them in every aspect of your life. Of course they will still enjoy their solitary moments like any other cat, but if they want your attention, there’s a good chance they will continue to pester you until they get it!
Besides being energetic and extroverted, this is also an intelligent cat that loves to be challenged. If you decide to adopt this breed, we suggest picking up one or multiple feeder puzzles, as this cat will definitely appreciate having access to a few interesting toys and things to keep them occupied.
If you live in a smaller house like an apartment, investing in a treehouse with lots of levels and openings would be a good idea. Abyssinian prefer to climb vertically, so you need to go high up rather than spreading out with the treehouse. If you don’t have room for a treehouse, another option is to install wall-mounted shelves so that they can jump from shelf to shelf and perch.
Finally, if you’re having trouble keeping them entertained, this cat can easily be trained to walk on a leash, providing another possible outlet for their natural drive to explore.
While this is an extremely active cat breed, that doesn’t mean there will never be moments of bliss: this furry friend might still occasionally enjoy cuddling up on your couch every so often. Since they are excellent with children and known to quickly develop an emotional bond with their family, Abyssinians are relatively easy to adopt into a new family.
When it comes to grooming, the Abyssinian is relatively easy to care for. Their minimal shedding and short coat make grooming a lot easier than most other breeds. Once-a-week grooming is sufficient to keep this cat clean, although you might need to groom more frequently during shedding season.
Why you should adopt an Abyssinian
If you are keen on adding this feline friend to your family, adoption might be the best way to go about it. Here are a few pros and cons to consider:
This is a very easy-going, friendly, and social breed that mingles well with people, children, and other animals. Due to minimal shedding, the Abyssinian requires very little in terms of grooming and is an excellent choice for people who suffer from allergies. Their active personality is a perfect fit for people who have a lot of energy.
This breed has a relatively high need for exercise, which could become a problem for a busy family. Constant stimulation and human interaction are needed to keep this cat happy, so you’ll have your hands full. If you can not provide that, this cat may become depressed. While the Abyssinian is not necessarily reckless, he may still require some supervision.
If you want a cat that is intelligent, agile, and will keep you on your toes, then this cat is for you! Your Abyssinian will be your constant companion who’s always up for some games or a proper challenge. In conclusion, the Abyssinian is an excellent choice if you are looking to adopt an active feline.
If you’re thinking of adopting an Abyssinian, there are a few things to keep in mind. These cats can suffer from an inherited disease called pyruvate kinase deficiency which leads to red blood cell deficiency (anemia). Reliable tests are available, so you should definitely ask the breeder if your cat has been tested (and if they can share the results).
The Abyssinian is also known to be extra susceptible to gingivitis and tooth decay. Maintaining dental hygiene and care is essential for this breed. Abyssinians can also suffer from amyloidosis, an organ (renal) disease that is thought to be hereditary. (Source: petmd.com)
Cats from this breed may also suffer from a condition known as progressive retinal atrophy, which causes progressive blindness. Since this can be tested, be sure to ask your breeder about this as well.
Frequently asked questions
No, they are not hypoallergenic. Since allergens are produced on every cat’s skin and fur, there is no such thing as a genuinely hypoallergenic cat. However, the Abyssinian is a great option for those with allergies because they have shorter hair than most other cat breeds. Since this reduces shedding to a minimum, they generally do not incite cat dander or fur-related allergies.
Finding a purebred Abyssinian cat at a shelter is difficult. If you’re lucky, you may find one at a rescue group for $75 to $150. If you go the breeder route, the cost can easily range from $500 to $1,200.
If you do decide to get one from a breeder, research your breeder to make sure they are responsible people. An ethical breeder will produce healthy cats and hold to the breed standards.
The Abyssinian has a long average life span of 15 years, so be sure to take that into consideration. You’ll never be bored during those years, because of their love for exploring and getting into mischief. They aren’t known as the cat kingdom clown for nothing!