Cat breeds
General Description

The Abyssinian is a short-haired cat with a ticked coat meaning that individual hairs are banded with different colours. The name stems from the country where it was thought to originate from (now Ethiopia) but in reality the origins are somewhere near the Egyptian coast.

The Aby was bred in the U.S. for the first time in 1935 but the first mention of the breed is in 1872 in the UK at a cat show.The Abyssinian cat as it is known today was developed in Great Britain. The name 'Abyssinian' refers to Ethiopia,in reference to widely-spread stories of British soldiers deployed to North Africa in the nineteenth century returning home with kittens purchased from local traders.

However, more recent genetic research suggests the breed actually originated in Egypt and other areas near the coast of the Indian Ocean, where colonists may have purchased animals from wild animal traders. The modern breed is believed by some to have originated from one female kitten named Zula, who was taken from Alexandria by a British soldier and brought to England in 1868.(Source: Wikipedia)

Life Span is 9 to 15 years

  • Active
  • Friendly
  • Playful
  • Independent
  • Calm
Living Conditions

The short, fine coat of the Abyssinian is easily cared for with weekly combing to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils.

Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. These cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene, and a dirty box may cause them to start using other places in the house instead.

It’s a good idea to keep an Abyssinian as an indoor-only/leash walking cat as  Abyssinians who go outdoors  run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it. However, as it's a curious and active cat an outdoor enclosure with loads of fun places is ideal. Also climbing spaces indoor is a must.

Suitable for

Any person willing to spend lots of time with them. Good for single pet homes as well as adaptable in multiple pets homes, as long as it is the centre of attention. 

The active and social Abyssinian is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs.S/ he will play fetch as well as any retriever, learns tricks easily and loves the attention he receives from children who treat it politely and with respect. . Abys have also been known to get along with large parrots, ferrets and other animals. Always introduce any pets, even other cats, slowly and in a controlled setting.


Abyssinian are very intelligent and generally have extroverted, playful, loyal, devoted and  wilful personalities. They will become depressed without constant activity and attention from their owners. In my own experience it may be better to have one Abby and give it all the attention to have a happy Abby.


The breed can be prone to gingivitis, which can lead to more serious periodontist. Familial renal amyloidosis  a kidney disorder due to a mutation in the AA amyloid protein gene, has been seen in Abyssinians. The Abyssinian has had severe problems with blindness caused by a hereditary retinal degeneration due to mutations in the rdAc gene. 

Contributors: Cataclysm and Marketa