The Abyssinian Cat (æbɪˈsɪniən) is a breed of domestic short-haired cat with a distinctive “ticked” tabby coat, in which individual hairs are banded with different colors. They are also known simply as Abyss.
The source of the name is not because Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia, is believed to be the original home of these cats, but because the first “Abyssinians” exhibited in shows in England are reported to have been imported into England from there.
Its true origin – according to genetic studies – is likely to be the Indian Ocean coast in parts of Southeast Asia, and it was introduced to Abyssinia by colonists and traders stopping in Calcutta.
Despite being relatively obscure in the past as a breed compared to others, in 2016 the Abyssinian was ranked in the top five most popular breeds by The Cat Fancier’s Association and The International Cat Association.
The breed’s distinctive appearance, compared to other cats, is tall, lean, and finely colored, similar to human fashion models. Personality-wise, cats traditionally exhibit an active, curious attitude in which they often follow their owners around and encourage play.
Their dog-like characteristics also include a certain sense of affection and a desire for interaction. Abyss has a distinctive wild cat look with its ticked coat and large upright ears. They are a highly social breed and can demand attention.
They do well in multi-cat households because of their social nature. Not a snuggly lap cat, the Abyssinian is constantly in motion, either exploring or playing.
|HEIGHT: 8–10 inches|
|WEIGHT: 8–12 pounds|
|LIFE SPAN: 9–13 years|
red / orange
|Adaptability: 5 stars||Energy Level: 5 stars||Shedding Level: 2 stars|
|Affection Level: 5 stars||Grooming: 1 star||Social Needs: 5 stars|
|Child Friendly: 3 stars||Health Issues: 2 stars||Stranger Friendly: 5 stars|
|Dog Friendly: 4 stars||Intelligence: 5 stars|
History Of Abyssinian Cat
While the Abyssinian cat is considered a breed that can trace its origins directly to the Nile Valley, it was actually developed in Great Britain. In the 1860s, a cat was brought to Britain by Lord Robert Napier after a military campaign in Abyssinia.
The cat was named Zulu and was the foundation of the beautiful breed known today as the Abyssinian. The unique ticking pattern on the coat of the Abyssinian reminded people of the camouflage pattern on the coat of the wild rabbit.
This characteristic was so pleasing that the Zulu was bred to random breeds of cats that had a similar appearance in their coats and the Abyssinian breed was created.
The breed itself was very popular and Abyssinian cats were soon being bred throughout Europe and in the United States and Canada. This popularity proved to be the breed’s salvation as two world wars nearly destroyed the breed in Europe.
New Abyssinians were imported and the breed continued. In the late 1960s, when the feline leukemia virus once again nearly wiped out the breed in Britain, more Abyssinians were brought to Britain to re-establish the breed.
Abyssinian Cat – Temperament
Abyssinians are a popular breed due to their unusual intelligence and generally outgoing, playful, and willful personalities. They are said to be depressed without constant activity and attention from their owners.
Veterinarian John O. Joshua wrote that Abyssinian and Burmese cats’ “dog-like attachment to their owners” causes them to be “more dependent on human contact”. This is simply in contrast to the “tolerant acceptance of human company” based on the “comfort” that many other species exhibits.
Along with their curious intelligence and their penchant for playing with their owners, Abyssinians are known as the “clowns of the cat kingdom.”
They have an active, outgoing nature, yet tend to be quiet cats. the soft chirp-like sound that doesn’t sound like the expected “meow”. They are loving and friendly towards people.
Despite being an active cat, the Abyssinian is an easy cat to keep in your home. They love people and other animals. will play with their own toys for hours but also enjoy interactive playtime with their parents.
They will speak to you in a soft, calm voice. Abyssinians are affectionate and loving and love to spend time with their parents.
While the Abyssinian coat is easy to care for, the Abyssinian can be brushed or brushed with a chamois cloth. She will reward you with a loving husband.
Abyssinian Cat – Appearance
Her most striking feature is the Abyssinian coat, with its fine, intricate markings, which is a genetic variant of the tabby pattern. Her dense, close-lying fur starts out light-colored on her body, then alternates between bands of lighter and darker shades to the tip of her tail.
A warm, reddish-brown base with black spots is the native color of the breed, but the fawn is not uncommon.
Beyond its beautiful color, the next most striking feature of the Abby is its ears, which are large relative to its body, forward-facing, and well-clothed.
They sit atop wedge-shaped heads above large, watchful, almond eyes.
Abby’s body is long and slender, giving her a particularly graceful and graceful appearance. Her claws are small, and Abby’s natural stance makes her appear to be standing on her toes. Her tail tapers and is as long as her body.
Abyssinians can develop a hereditary condition called pyruvate kinase deficiency; Pyruvate kinase is a key regulatory enzyme required for energy metabolism in red blood cells.
Cats with PK deficiency usually have intermittent anemia. The deficiency can appear in cats as young as six months and in Abyssinians up to 12 years of age.
The hereditary condition is caused by a recessive gene, which can be easily removed from the gene pool by DNA screening. This test can determine if the cat is normal, a carrier and if it is affected by PK deficiency.
Not every PK-deficient cat develops clinical signs, which may include lethargy, jaundice, pale gums, and an enlarged abdomen. The best treatment for PK deficiency is unknown, but it’s still a good idea to get your cat tested.
Care Your Abyssinian
Much of what you can do at home to keep your cat happy and healthy is common sense, just as it is for people. Pay attention to her diet, make sure she gets plenty of exercise, brush her teeth and coat regularly, and call us or an emergency pet hospital when anything seems unusual.
Be sure to follow the schedule of exams and vaccinations we recommend for your pet. During your cat’s exams, we will perform the necessary “check-ups” and test for diseases and conditions common to Abyss. Another very important step in taking care of your pet is signing her up for pet health insurance.
There will certainly be medical tests and procedures that she will need throughout her life, and pet health insurance will help you cover those costs.
Routine Diet And Exercise
Build regular pet care into your schedule to help your Abby live longer, stay healthy, and be happier throughout her lifetime. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine for your pet.
- Take care of your pet like you would a small child. Keep doors closed, pick up after yourself and close the room as needed. This will help keep her out of trouble, off inappropriate surfaces to jump on, and away from things she shouldn’t put in her mouth. She has a low-maintenance short coat. Brush as needed at least weekly for a healthy shine.
- Abyssinians often have serious problems with their teeth, so you will need to brush them at least three times a week! Check his ears weekly for signs of wax, debris, or infection and clean them when necessary. Don’t worry – we’ll show you how!
- She needs daily play sessions that stimulate her natural desire to hunt and explore. Keep her mind and body active or she may develop behavior problems.
- Cats are scrupulously clean and demand a clean litter box. Be sure to provide at least one box for each cat and take out the litter daily.
- It is important that your cat drinks enough water. If she won’t drink water from her bowl, try adding ice cubes or a running fountain.
- Feed her high-quality cat food appropriate for her age.
- Exercise your cat regularly by pairing it with high-activity toys.
Best Food for Abyssinian Cats & Kittens
Abby’s short coat is easy to maintain – brush it weekly with a stainless steel comb to remove dead hair and keep her coat shiny. Trim nails as needed, usually every 10 to 14 days.
Abyssinians can develop periodontal disease, so brush their teeth with veterinarian-approved pet toothpaste and schedule regular veterinary cleanings.
Coat and colors
Abyssinian kittens are born with dark coats that mature slowly, usually lightning over several months. An adult’s coat should not be excessively short, and should ideally be fine, dense, close, and silky to the touch.
The ticked or agouti effect that is the trademark of the breed – genetically a variant of the tabby pattern – should be uniform on the body, although the spine and part of the tail, the back of the hind legs, and the pads of the paws are always present. significantly darker.
Each hair has a light base with three or four bands of additional color that darken toward the tip. The base color should be as clear as possible; Any extensive mixing with gray is considered a serious fault.
A tendency to white on the chin is common but should likewise be minimal. A typical tabby M-shaped mark is frequently seen on the forehead.
A photograph of a champion adult male Abyssinian cat, showing the classic ruddy coat pattern
A champion adult male showing the classic ruddy, or “typical”, coat pattern.
The basic color standard of the breed
The basic color standard of the breed is a warm deep reddish-brown base with black markings, known as “common” in the United Kingdom, “tawny” in Australia, and “ruddy” elsewhere. Sorrel, a light coppery base with chocolate brown ticking, is a unique variation of this original pattern.
Other types have been introduced by outcrossing Burmese and other shorthaired breeds, notably the Blue and Fen. The less common chocolate and lilac are not recognized in the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) breed standard but are given full champion status by the International Cat Association (TICA) and in the UK.
The UK also recognizes the Silver Abyssinian, which has a pure silvery white with a base coat of black, blue, cream, or sorrel ticking. A variety of other color combinations are in development, including “Torby”, which features a patched tortoiseshell pattern in any of these colors under the tabby banding.
The breed owes its distinctive coat to a dominant mutant gene known as ta. The first cat to have its complete genome published was an Abyssinian named Cinnamon.
Abyssinians are active cats and will usually keep their weight under control through compensatory exercise. They should have some high perches and cat trees available so they can jump and climb.
Abyssinians are social cats and love to have some company. Having another cat or pet around can provide this company when the human companion is not home.
Fun Fact About Abyssinian Cat
- In 2007, the Abyssinian’s DNA was decoded to help create a “rough draft” genome for the domestic cat. That decoding has helped our understanding of the domestication of the species and provided insight into a number of feline diseases.
- Disney’s 1978 film The Cat from Outer Space featured a cat named Ann Abby.
- The Abyssinian played a major role in developing Australia’s first pedigree cat breed, the Australian Mist, a Burmese/Abby mix.
See More Cat Breeds For Further Research
Adopt Or Buy An Abyssinian Cat
Abyssinian Cat Breed Review
Abyssinian Cat FAQs
Are Abyssinian cats friendly?
Among the most popular cat breeds, the Abyssinian is easy to care for, and a joy to have in your home. They are loving cats and love both people and other animals.
Are Abyssinian cats rare?
The playful Abyssinian cat – nicknamed “Abby-silly-n” – is a very popular breed in the United States. In fact, according to WetStreet, the AB is one of the top five most popular cat breeds in America.
What are Abyssinian cats known for?
Abyssinians are known for their large ears, alert eyes, and distinct reddish-brown coat. Beyond its beautiful color, the next most striking feature of the Abby is its ears, which are large relative to its body, forward-facing, and well-clothed. They sit atop wedge-shaped heads above large, watchful, almond eyes.
Why are Abyssinian cats so smart?
Regardless of where they come from, Abyssinian cats are recognized as one of the smartest cat breeds due to their inquisitive nature and superior detective skills. They are incredibly independent, and they enjoy mind-stimulating activities like puzzle toys.
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