Cat Breeds: The Abyssinian

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Although the Abyssinian is reputed to be descended from the ancient Egyptian cat, this is not documented. Many of the hieroglyphic depictions, statues, and other representations are of cats with a similar body, head, and presence. There are documented cats in England during the 1860s as having been brought back from Africa after the wars. The British left Abyssinia in May, 1868. There is also a cat in a taxidermy museum in Leiden, Holland that was identified as being brought in from India in 1834. Some genetic studies have indicated the Abyssinian must be a descendant of the Asian wild cats.


The Abyssinian is a medium-sized shorthair in type. Males range from 9-12 pounds and females from 5-7.

Abys have a long, muscular body and long legs with dainty feet, a triangular head with wide-set eyes of green or gold. Ears should be well set and large, always pointed and erect.

Abys come in ruddy, red, blue, fawn, and silver. The aby coat is unique with many bands of color on each of the guard (topcoat) hairs and a vibrant color underneath those ticked hairs. They can have a creamy white chin and throat, but no white is allowed elsewhere. The eyes appear to be accented by eyeliner. Paw pads and nose color are dependent on the coat color.


Abys are gentle and affectionate, with soft voices (though they will scream for food or attention). They are very active, agile cats who need space to run, jump and climb. They are very intelligent, trainable and loyal.


Abyssinians can suffer from chronic gingivitis, and from a rare disorder known as renal amyloidosis.


ACFA, CCA, CFF, TICA, though not all may accept all colors.