Abyssinian cat

One of the most ancient breeds, originating in Africa. Smart and curious cats.

Energy level
Level of affection
Level of friendliness
female: 3—5 kg
male: 4—7 kg
female: 26—28 cm
male: 30—32 cm
requires little time
Gives birth to
Gives birth to:
2—4 kitten
in 1882
Life span
Life span:
15—20 years


Abyssinian cats are energetic and curious. They are innate athletes. It is hard to see them laying on the couch for the whole day. Abyssinian cats enjoy climbing on cupboards and shelves. But, despite their well-developed activity, they are staid and smart.

Abyssinian cats are sweet pets. They do not show any aggression while playing. Parents should not feel worried if their child wants to play with a pet. Because of their curiosity, Abyssinian cats get on easily with other animals. 

Loud meowing is not about these pets, even during estrus periods of females and hunting periods of males. One of their special characteristics is loyalty to the owner. They don`t like being held in hands for a long time, though. It is comfortable for them to simply be close by. Abyssinian cats are perfect for people who are looking for an unobtrusive pet.


Abyssinian cats are of medium size. Their body is flexible and muscular. Because of well-developed muscles and long legs, they can jump for more than two meters.
Feels nice when touched. It is of medium length, soft and silky. It is close to the body and does not require much grooming.
Wild, brown and orange, one with a reddish tint, fawn, creamy, and blue.
Head is wedge-shaped, with rounded wide space between ears. Nose is of medium length, it is connected to the    forehead. Chin is rounded.
Eyes are round and almond-shaped. Color can vary from amber to green.
Ears are big and wide. Skin is covered with short hair. There are hairy brushes inside each ear.
Long and muscular.
Legs are proportional to the body, thin and long. 
Tail is wide at the base, gets thinner down to the tip. Its length is proportional to length of the body.

Basic Care

Abyssinian cats need very little time to be groomed. Their short hair should be brushed once a week. They moult fast and unnoticeably. 

These pets are neat. They should be given a bath only during the moulting period — in spring and in fall. They have to be washed with a special shampoo for short-haired pets. After the bath, Abyssinian cats need to be dried with a towel. Hairdryers damage their hair. The frequency of how often teeth and ears have to be cleaned depends on how quickly they get dirty. Abyssinian cats quickly get used to a tray if you use a natural filler. 

Abyssinian cats are not picky in feeding. They should be fed with premium quality feed or natural food. High quality feeds contain vitamins and minerals, that are needed for the cat`s health. The natural diet of the pet should contain many proteins. They can be fed with: not greasy meat, fish, porridge, boiled vegetables, fat free dairy products. Meat and fish should be boiled, raw products — cut into small pieces. A kitten should eat three times a day until it gets one year old, then — two times a day. You can give them vitamins and nutritional supplements from time to time. However, you should consult a vet first. 

Abyssinian cats need much space for comfortable living. It is recommended to create a play area for the cat to spread its energy. These pets can walk outside. If you live in a private house, you can easily let them walk in the yard.

Health and Illnesses

Abyssinian cats can live up to 17 years if treated well. Most common health issues of this breed arise because of bad feed and genetic background. The most common health problems are: retinal atrophy, polycystic kidney disease, dysfunction of erythrocytes. 

Retinal atrophy affects a layer of an eyeball. If not treated in time, your pet might eventually become blind. 

Polycystic kidney disease is a formation of cysts in kidneys. Their growth leads to dysfunction of kidneys and their failure. These health issues can be diagnosed with genetic tests at a young age. 

Because of bad feed and problems with teeth, Abyssinian cats might develop gingivitis. It is an inflammation of the gums. If not treated in time, it leads to tooth loss. If your cat walks outside, it should be vaccinated for helminths and rabies.

History of the Breed

There are few versions about how the breed appeared. None of them has been proved, that`s why opinions of people considering this topic vary so much.

The first version suggests that Abyssinian cats appeared in Europe after a war of England and Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1868. A cat called Zula was brought to the African continent by captain Barrett-Lennard. The other version suggests that this breed has Egyptian roots. In 1951, 200 cat mummies were found in a storage room of a British museum. Autopsy showed that mummified cats have similarities with modern Abyssinian cats. They were mummified approximately 200–600 years BC. The third version says that there are similarities between Abyssinian cats and a subspecies of a Lybian wildcat. Some felinologists follow this version. The fourth version suggests crossbreeding European Shorthairs with tabby coat color with aboriginal breeds with wild colors in the 1880-s.

First Abyssinian cats participated in a show in 1882. In 1896, they were registered in a Breed registry. In the 1990-s, first representatives of the breed appeared in the USA. Because of World War II, Abyssinian cats were on the edge of extinction in Europe. Their population was restored with the help of cats living in America. In 2012, Abyssinian cats took second place as the most popular short-haired cats in Europe and the USA.