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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 really want to own one!


We’ve got to admit that despite the fact that we love these little guys the truth is there isn’t a “perfect” cat breed that is going to meet everyone’s hope and wishes.  This is why we wanted to take a moment a discuss what it might be like to 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 Abyssinian cat breed is a topic that is sure to 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.

That said however…

The majority of folks seem to agree that the Abyssinian Cat breed originated from the ancient lands of Abyssinia which is now modern day Ethopia, 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.  And even others who say that Abyssinians were actually first bred first in the United States back in 1935.

This latter idea…

However, is not one that we here at IndulgeYourPet subscribe too, despite the fact that we as American’s would love to be able to take credit for being the origin country to this magnificent cat.

Beyond that…

We’ll choose to remain “neutral” as to what the true origin of the Abyssinian cat breed is and respectfully declare that the Aby could have possibly originated from Ethiopia or all along the Indian Ocean.

Physical characteristics of the cat breed.

An adult Abyssinian cat can weigh anywhere between 6 to 10-pounds, which is actually quite 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 a bit more “muscular” compared to 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.

The Abyssinian coat…

Will generally have a fine texture to it, unlike other cats with a little bit of coarseness mixed in as well. 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…

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 sort of behavior cute.  And before we continue, we should make it clear that we here at IndulgeYourPet do find this type of behavior “adorable”.

You see…

We here at IndulgeYourPet aren’t all that excited about those cats that just 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’re also going to find that the Aby is an incredibly intelligent, curious, and athletic little cat that is going to be extremely active most of the time.


We should warn you that for terrestrial animals with four legs, your average Abyssinian cat is going to spend an awful lot of time anywhere but the ground! These little guys just love to climb high places, discovering every nook and cranny of your home, and seemingly engaged in supervising whatever you got 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 just seem to have a natural “pleasant” disposition and playful nature particularly when they have an owner who loves to spend time with him or her.

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 on the lookout for a sweet, gentle, lap pet, then the Abyssinian cat is not your guy. The Aby will always be guilty of tricking and training people to do their bidding.

Health of the Abyssinian cat breed

Any time you decide to purchase or adopt a pedigree cat, you’re always going to increase your chances that he or she may be susceptible to some type of hereditary medical condition as a result of 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.

Now this is a condition where a key 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 do decide to purchase an Abyssinian kitten or better yet adopt an Abyssinian rescue cat, you’ll want to make sure that you only work with a reputable breeder and you specifically ask about whether or not 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 which 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 him or her too?

After all…

Wouldn’t it be nice to “share” the cost of treating your little buddy if he or she happens to get sick or injured in the future?  We think so, which is why we wrote our  Best Pet Insurance Companies article so folks can quickly get an idea about “what” a pet insurance policy is and “whether” or not it makes any 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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