The Abyssinian is among the oldest breeds and most recognizable cat breeds in the world. In fact, archaeologists even found mummified cats who resemble Abyssinians in ancient Egyptian tombs. That said, the exact origin of this breed is up for debate.
No matter where they got their start, their timeless beauty has made Abys (as they're known to their fans) some of the most popular cats in the world. Only the Siamese exceeds the Abyssinian for popularity among shorthaired breeds.
This breed can grow to between 8-10 pounds and lives an average of 12-15 years.
Did someone say “toy?” Yes, please!
I looooove being with you
I talk when necessary
You can SEE me thinking
I'm a cat and proud of it
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS THE ABYSSINIAN'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Abyssinians aren't the cuddliest cat breed—they'd usually prefer exploring the house to warming your lap. But when she's up for a cuddle, this chatty kitty will demand your attention and reward you with affection and loyalty. The Abyssianian's constant curiosity and intelligence can provide entertainment like none other—and also a challenge for cat parents. This breed needs enrichment and fun, or she'll make her own.
WHAT IS ABYSSINIAN BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Can't find your Abyssinian? Check the top of the bookshelf. Abys love to be up high; many will sit on your shoulders, if you'll let them. Ceiling-height cat trees can be especially beneficial for anyone living with an Abyssinian. This way she'll have appropriate places to climb and will be less likely to decide to “clear the clutter” from your favorite tchotchke shelf.
This is a fast, agile, athletic breed, capable of jumping as high as your head in a single leap.
HOW CAN I KEEP MY ABYSSINIAN ENTERTAINED?
Abyssinians love to show off. Teach your smarty-paws tricks she can use to entertain “her” guests. This breed is particularly receptive to clicker-training. She might also be amenable to leashed walks, if you start training early and keep it fun.
Scratching posts and wand toys she can stalk will always be welcome treats. Toys she can play with while you're out of the house are also essential. This curious kitty likes to paw open pantry doors and cabinets, and will push breakables off the edge of tables if given the chance. It's better (and cheaper!) to find her other ways to entertain herself.
CARE & HEALTH
WHAT DO ABYSSINIANS LOOK LIKE AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Abyssinians have a ticked coat, which makes them look much more like wildcats than your standard tabby. They don't shed much and require little grooming beyond their own personal beauty rituals.
Your cat's coat and skin can tell you a lot about her health and well-being. Healthy cats have coats that are smooth and shiny; they should have supple, clear skin. Nutrition and wellness factor heavily into the texture and luster of your kitty's coat, but you can help keep her looking and feeling her best with regular skin care and grooming.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO ABYSSINIANS HAVE?
Some Abyssinians are prone to heart disease and thyroid disorders. Others are susceptible to gum disease, tooth decay, or renal disease.
Remember that cats often hide disease symptoms! It's important to bring your furry friend in for veterinary checkups at least once a year.
ARE ABYSSINIANS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
Abyssinians aren't among the breeds generally recommended for allergy sufferers.
Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies. You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with daily brushings. This will reduce pet dander and loose hair landing on your clothes and furniture. (Bonus: Think of the money you'll save on lint rollers.) If your pet allergies are mild, a regular brushing session and sending kitty to the groomer once a month could have a big impact on your quality of life with your pet.
WHAT IS MY ABYSSINIAN'S BEST DAY?
She'd probably not object to getting fed cat treats for tricks she performs on your new floor-to-ceiling cat tree. Even better if it's right next to your dinner table where she can clown about and try her hardest to distract you from dinner.
SHOULD I ADOPT AN ABYSSINIAN?
If you're a quiet introvert who's looking for a cuddly lapcat to warm you up while you curl on the couch under a cozy blanket, you should probably keep looking. The Abyssinian's chatty, outgoing, and demanding nature is likely to cause some mischief halfway through your favorite movie. However, if you're looking for a constant sidekick who will tell you when it's time for pets, or if you need a cat who's sure to be the first inside your next delivery box, making sure it's safe for you, or you simply want a cat you can look up to—the Abyssinian could be your purrrrrfect fit.
Have you decided that an Abyssinian is the purr-fect cat for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.