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Abyssinian

Clowns of the Cat Kingdom with Exquisitely Unique Coats

Abyssinians — Clowns of the Cat Kingdom

Jon Crimes - Last Updated on February 4th, 2021

What you Need to Know about the Abyssinian Cat

Resembling the African wildcat, there are many stories about the origins of the Abyssinian cat. Most of these revolve around Ethiopia, which was known as Abyssinia.  

Yet Abyssinian cats have become one of the most popular breeds of short-haired cats in America. 

They have also developed a reputation for being clowns of the cat kingdom and will regularly perform 'antics' for your amusement. 

Generally, the Abyssinian is a wonderful cat for an owner seeking an intelligent and very active companion. Get an Abyssinian kitten from an early age and they will prove to be very easy to care for.

Appearance Matters. What does an Abyssinian Cat look like?

The Abyssinian is a medium-sized cat that has a strong, lithe, and muscular look with a very distinctive 'ticked' coat. 

Expect your cat to receive lifelong compliments for its beautiful fur. 

One of the Abyssinians descendants is thought to be the Somali cat and you can see the similarities in the two breeds. But the Abyssinian is most different in that it is a short-haired cat.

With the alert, large and wide-set ears, the Abyssinian cat also has a broad and wedge-shaped head. 

Abyssinian cat green eyes?

Yes and expect to see gold, hazel, and copper-colored eyes with this breed as well. Their eyes are also a striking almond shape. 

They have a clearly defined tufted chin and a neck that is arched and elegant. Viewed from the side, the nose and chin form a straight vertical line. Also expect to see 'frown lines' on their forehead in the form of an 'M-shaped' marking. 

With its otherwise majestic look though, the Abyssinian has little to frown about.

The fur is dense and silky to the touch and has a unique pattern known as 'ticking'.

This pattern results from a light base color for each hair with the tip having darker colored bands.

Only the Abyssinian, Singapura, and Somali cat breeds have this distinctive ticking pattern.

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Abyssinian Cat Colors 

Abyssinian cats have many color variations. The original coat color is known as 'Ruddy' (or 'Usual' in the UK).

The Ruddy coat has a black ticking pattern on top of a red/brown base coat. 

Other Abyssinian cat colors include:

  • Sorrel (yellowish-brown base with a chocolate-brown ticking)
  • Blue (light beige base color with a blue ticking)
  • Fawn (light cream base color and a darker cream ticking)
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Red 
  • Cream
  • Chocolate
  • Lilac

There is also a Silver Abyssinian cat that makes up a separate group within the breed. They have an undercoat that is silvery-white and fur markings that can be cinnamon, cream, blue or black.

Kittens are born with dark coats that lighten as they mature. 

As the Abyssinian kitten gets older, the coat color will develop.

It's all Personal. The Abyssinian Cat Personality

The Abyssinian cat's personality can be described as active, playful, and intelligent. They are also a bit willful and natural extroverts. Well known for their interest in anything new, they love to investigate even the most challenging of environments.

Are Abyssinian cats cuddly?

They can be but with everything that is going on, don’t expect much ‘"lap time’".

It doesn’t take much for them to race off and start batting imaginary butterflies or take flying leaps at the tallest bookcases.

How high can an Abyssinian cat jump?  

They are natural athletes with agile paws and very curious minds. No closed room, cupboard, or high-up surface will be safe from one of the best 'jumpers' of the cat world.

They are also very attracted to trees. 

The Abyssinian cannot tolerate confinement and they need plenty of space. The breed is not for someone looking for a decorative cat to match their rust-colored sofa. These cats have spirit, are naturally curious, and always looking for new things to explore.

They need a great deal of love and interaction with the family to keep them satisfied. A home with someone there during the day will be the best environment for this cat.

The Abyssinian is loyal and will become very attached to its family. This includes forming bonds with dogs and generally getting along well with other cats

But they definitely demand their space, and some females can get irritable around other felines.

Able to learn to talk, they will carry on dialogues with you. Not in the loud fashion of the Siamese, but in a gentler, more provocative voice.

Caring for your Abyssinian Cat

The Abyssinian is fairly easy to care for.

A common question asked by people searching for a new pet is for cats that don't shed hair. All cats shed some hair but the Abys are one of the best breeds to have in your home if excess fur is a problem for you.

Is the Abyssinian cat hypoallergenic?

Abbys are not a completely hypoallergenic cat but as a short-haired breed, they make a better choice than others.

Their healthy coat is easy to care for if you brush and comb them on a regular basis. You can also use a damp chamois cloth to bring out that incredible shine on their coats.

The Abyssinian doesn't seem to mind having a bath either which can be very convenient. 

With their inquisitive nature and adventurous streak, they will need regular parasite control, vaccinations, and health checks.

The Health and Happiness of your Abyssinian Cat

Generally healthy, the Abyssinian is only affected by a few hereditary diseases.

These include:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This affects the cat's eyes and can lead to blindness. It isn't treatable but cats have been known to lead happy and fulfilled lives with the condition. 
  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency. This condition affects the cat's red blood cells and can lead to anemia. The symptoms can be vague. Look out for the cat being lethargic and not eating. A test is available if PKD is suspected.
  • Neurological and kidney disease have also been reported in the breed. They may also develop a stress-related disorder. This can lead to hair loss because of their own over-grooming. 

Abyssinian cat lifespan

The typical Abyssinian cat lifespan is 9 to 15 years.

How much does an Abyssinian cat cost?

If you fell in love with one of these gorgeous exotic kittens, you are probably wondering what the price is. Well, usually, the price of an Abyssinian cat can be anywhere between $900 and $1,500 on average.

This means that these kittens are on the expensive side. The prices can go a bit higher than that though if you are aiming for a purebred Abyssinian cat from a reputable breeder. Expect to pay a price ranging from $1,200 to $2,200 in that case.

This means that the price of these kittens will change according to their price and/or pedigree.

Feline History. Where does the Abyssinian Cat come from?

Where the breed comes from is not that simple.

The Abyssinian cat origin is often linked to the ancient Egyptians. They do resemble the mummified cats found on archaeological digs and look like the animals that the Egyptians worshiped. 

There are also reports that the breed was imported from Ethiopia (formally known as Abyssinia) to be displayed in English cat shows in the 1870’s. And then there is a strong resemblance to the African wildcat.

The first Abyssinians to arrive in North America were probably imported in the early 1900s.

The breed is still not fully recognized by the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats, the Cat Fanciers' Association. This is despite the Abyssinian having existed for many decades.

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