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The Abyssinian Cat Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

The Abyssinian, or Aby as it is commonly referred to, is arguably one of the oldest and most popular pedigreed cats in the world (as confirmed by the Cat Fanciers Association), but that doesn’t change the fact that most Americans have no idea what an Abyssinian cat is and why they should want to own one!


We’ve got to admit that even though we love these little guys, there isn’t a “perfect” cat breed that will meet everyone’s hopes and wishes. This is why we wanted to take a moment to discuss what it might be like to be one of these “ancient” creatures so that you’ll be better prepared to know if making one of them your own is the “right” choice for you.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Abyssinian Cat Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  Ethiopia (Abyssinia)

Size:  Medium

Weight:  8 to 10 pounds

Eyes: Almond-shaped (green or gold)

Head Shape:  Rounded, wedge shape

Life Span: 9 to 15 years

Origin of the Abyssinian cat breed

The origin of the Abyssinian cat breed is a topic that will cause quite a few “cat fights” among any cat convention simply because there are so many theories out there, none of which have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. , However, most folks seem to agree that the Abyssinian Cat breed originated from the ancient lands of Abyssinia, now modern-day Ethiopia, hence their name Abyssinian.

But there are also…

A few reports and studies suggest that the first members of the breed may have dwelled along the coast of the Indian Ocean and a few areas of Southeast Asia. Others say that Abyssinians were first bred in the United States in 1935. However, This latter idea is not one that we here at IndulgeYourPet subscribe to, even though we, as Americans, would love to be able to take credit for being the origin country of this magnificent cat.

Beyond that, we’ll remain “neutral” about the true origin of the Abyssinian cat breed and respectfully declare that the Aby could have originated from Ethiopia or all along the Indian Ocean.

Physical Characteristics

An adult Abyssinian cat can weigh between 6 to 10 pounds, which is relatively light considering how long/big these cats can appear in person. The average Abyssinian will have a ticked coat clad in a wide range of colors, including:

  • Reddish ruddy (the most common variety),
  • Chocolate brown,
  • Cinnamon,
  • Blue,
  • Lilac,
  • And fawn.

You might even find some Abyssinians in silver-looking hues, as well.

As we’ve already mentioned…

Most Abyssinian adult cats will have a medium-sized body. However, these guys tend to be more “muscular” than other cat breeds of similar shape and size. The boxing phrase “pound for pound” comes to mind when looking at these guys because you’ll often be surprised at just how “powerful” these little guys are despite their “medium” stature.

Unlike other cats, the Abyssinian coat will generally have a fine texture and a bit of coarseness. You’ll also notice that their heads will have a bit of a “wedge-looking” head with eyes shaped like an almond.

Their physical appearance…

They will be capped off with moderately pointed ears and what seems like the letter “M” on their foreheads, along with an “inquisitive” look about them almost as if they’re asking…

“What are we going to do next?”

Personality and Temperament

Abyssinian cats have an incredibly elevated level of activeness; they’ll drive you crazy if you don’t find that behavior cute. And before we continue, we should clarify that we here at IndulgeYourPet find this type of behavior “adorable.” You see, we here at IndulgeYourPet aren’t excited about those cats that sit around all day. We like cats that like to run and jump and play. And when they want to do that with us, their owners, we’re tickled pink!


You’ll also find that the Aby is an incredibly intelligent, curious, and athletic little cat that will be highly active most of the time. Now, we should warn you that for terrestrial animals with four legs, your average Abyssinian cat will spend much time anywhere but the ground! These little guys love to climb high places, discovering every nook and cranny of your home and seemingly supervising whatever you have on your hands when they’re in sight.

If you were to…

Attach a personality to a cat breed; you’d probably want to call these guys a “happy” cat breed. They seem to have a natural “pleasant” disposition and playful nature, particularly when they have an owner who loves to spend time with them.

They also love kids!

Because, after all, kids love to play almost as much as they do. But it’s important to point out that if you’re looking for a sweet, gentle lap pet, the Abyssinian cat is not your guy. The Aby will always be guilty of tricking and training people to do their bidding.

Potential Health Concerns

Any time you decide to purchase or adopt a pedigree cat, you will always increase your chances that they may be susceptible to some type of hereditary medical condition due to their “restricted” breeding. And in the case of the Abyssinian cat breed, this means that you’ll want to be aware that this ancient breed can be susceptible to a condition known as:

  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency or PK deficiency.

In this condition, a critical regulatory enzyme required for energy metabolism in red blood cells doesn’t function as it should.

PK deficiency in cats subsequently leads to intermittent anemia,


The gene responsible for causing PK deficiencies is a recessive gene that can be identified with aDNA test, which will allow “responsible” breeders to avoid potentially creating litters who will be at risk for this disease. This is why if you decide to purchase an Abyssinian kitten or, better yet, adopt an Abyssinian rescue cat, you’ll want to ensure that you only work with a reputable breeder. You specifically ask whether your cat is a carrier for this disease.

You’ll also want to…

Ask your Abyssinian cat breeder about any potential history of:

Or retinal atrophy in the parents of your kitten.

Which brings us to…

The last topic that we want to bring to your attention is if you’re spending all this time researching what might be the “best” cat for you, doesn’t it make a little sense to take a minute or two and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy on them too?

After all, wouldn’t it be nice to “share” the cost of treating your little buddy if they get sick or injured in the future? We think so, so we wrote our  Best Pet Insurance Companies article so folks can quickly understand “what” a pet insurance policy is and “whether” it makes sense for them to purchase one.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Mary January 16, 2021, 7:51 am

    I have a question. When were Abyssinian cats created? Thanks!
    P.S I love your website! It’s the best place I can learn about cats, my favorite animal in the world!

  • Kate April 24, 2021, 2:07 pm

    Are their back legs longer than their front legs?

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