Last Updated: 2 years by Caitlin
The Abyssinian is thought to be one of the oldest cat breeds. As popular as the breed are they’re not much for cudding. This confident cat is high energy, super active and carries a long, lean and athletic body. An Abyssinian will seek out and scale the highest spots around the house.
Breed: Abyssinian cat
Size: Medium, 8 to 16 lbs
Energy Level: 5/5
Coat: Short and thick with agouti or ticked bands.
Seeking: Engaged, active and interactive humans.
Child Friendly: Not particularly.
Personality: Extremely active, curious and mischievous, has a fondness for showing off.
My Abyssinian Looks
I’ve been told I’m a stunner. Not that I’d know, since I m too busy exploring the world around me to fawn over my own looks. But people say I’m gorgeous enough to be a cat model.
It might be my fur. I wear it short and sporty, apparently it’s fascinating to stare at. And oh, do people stare. And fawn, too.
I’m bombarded by unsolicited compliments all the time about my ticked fur.
I suspect it has something to do with each strand of the Abyssinian breeds hair having alternating dark and light bands of color. The hues usually come in four distinct shades for the breed, namely beige rose with splashes of faun, blue beige with slate bands, red with dark brown bands as well as ruddy with bands of dark sepia or bright orange.
Looks cool when I move, I hear, if you’re into that sort of thing.
But my most notable feature is probably my large, perky ears. Quiet particular to the Abyssinian breed – combined with my inquisitive, almond-shaped eyes, they give me the impression I’m attentively listening to every word you say. Even when I m not.
As for my body, I keep myself in tip-top shape and I’ve got a long, lean, muscular body to show for it. The Abyssinian breeds athletic, graceful frame is most often compared to the regal look of the felines adoringly depicted in ancient Egyptian murals.
My Abyssinian Personality
I’m not the cuddly type. You’ll want to get a Persian cat for that. I simply don’t have the patience for all that snuggling and nuzzling as I prefer to be up and about doing stuff.
Like, scaling the high spots around the house. I love propelling my agile body through the living room jungle to reach the highest peaks of bookshelves, cabinets and curtains, ‘though occasionally I’ll chill out on a windowsill or two to take in the scenery, but that’s rare.
Mostly, I like to keep active by letting my curiosity loose around the house to investigate anything and everything that gets my attention. I have an insatiable curiosity that demands to know the answers to life’s big questions and I am fearless about finding out the answers.
Which is why I won’t think twice about conducting my very own experiments.
My intellectual pursuits may include pushing things off of high places to find out how gravity works on objects. Gravity apparently affects different objects differently so there might be a lot of pushing.
Or maybe I’ll get the urge to explore the sound of a can opener, or learn the movements of a crumpled receipt you’ve left around, or train my humans to play fetch, or even figure out how to free myself of that entrapment you use to carry me to the vet.
All my endeavors have led to some misconceptions, with some unenlightened humans dubbing me a troublemaker, but geniuses are often misunderstood.
I prefer to view my cat breed alleged mischievousness as a delightful symptom of my dexterous problem solving skills.
You should see it this way too.
Especially if you want to be my human.
You see, I the Abyssinian cat am one of the most spirited, frisky cats in all the feline world and whereas I might be troublesome for those looking for a relaxed, gentle lap cat, I am a world of exciting challenges and undiscovered fun for those humans who can keep up.
And on those lucky humans, I shower my love and affection.
Not in the cuddly-wuddly way, of course, but in my own Aby style, which means lots of play, when I want, where I want, whether you’re in the mood or not.
My Ideal Human
In case you haven’t figured it out by now – the Abyssinian energy levels can get crazy. And I need a human who can keep up with me – and bear with me, which means I’m mostly ideal for active, engaged fanciers who’re well-versed in the antics of inquisitive, go-getter felines.
It also helps if you have a spacious home for me as well since small, confined, spaces don’t really suit me. I’d prefer a place with plenty of running room and high places for me to climb.
Houses with enclosed gardens with room for me to exercise, hunt and explore the world around me are awesome as well but I must warn you that I’m good at escaping so make sure it’s a firmly enclosed space.
Oh, and I get bored easily so it’s important that you provide plenty for me to do, like stack our home with plenty of high spots for me to have vertical adventures on. Interactive games are a must for me as well. And if you plan to be out much – it’s a good idea to get me company, say, another Aby, since I can get quite cantankerous when left alone with nothing to do and no one to play with.
My Abyssinian Roots
The Abyssinian breed is shrouded in mystery. Legend has it that we are the direct descendants of the felines depicted in ancient Egyptian sculptures and murals commonly found in sacred places like temples and burial chambers.
You see the resemblance, right
Another popular myth about our lineage is we may be the result of the interbreeding of wildcats living in the Egyptian jungles, namely the Felis silvestris lybica, and domestic felines that ventured out of their homes whenever their guardians were away.
One thing is for sure though. We have been around as a breed for a very long time, but our origins remain a bit hazy. I don’t mind it at all if you ask me. I think it gives our breed a touch of mystery that makes us rather popular among fanciers.
According to the book Cats, Their Points, Etc., published by Dr. Staples in 1874, an officer by the name of Lord Robert Napier adopted a kitten and decided to bring it back home along with him when the British military defeated Abyssinia (now known as the modern day Ethiopia) in the Abyssinian War in 1868.
He named the kitten Zulu (or Zula in some accounts).
When the wives of the other soldiers noticed how beautiful Zulu was, they also adopted several cats and brought them along during the journey back to England. Now while it isn’t clear what happened to Zulu and how the breed proliferated in and around England, which was called “Abyssinian” as a nod to the place where we came from, historical records show that we were first exhibited at the Crystal Palace in 1883.
Abyssinians first arrived in the United States in the early 1900’s, but didn’t pick up in terms of popularity until the 1930’s. It didn’t take long before our breed was officially recognized by major cat registries, particularly The International Cat Association (TICA) and the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA).
How To Keep Me Happy And Healthy
My extreme activity levels may be intimidating, but that’s as far as my high maintenance needs go. I am really quite easy to take care of, with no special dietary or grooming requirements apart from a regular, meticulous grooming to keep my coat looking luxurious.
There’s just one thing you need to keep in mind – ‘though I am a generally healthy cat, my breed is prone to tooth and gum problems, as well as amyloidosis, a type of kidney disease. So regular check-ups to the vet are a must on your schedule to keep me as hale and hearty as possible.
Fun Abyssinian Facts
- I don’t mean to brag, but the Abyssinian breed is among the top 5 most popular cat breeds.
- Although the name of my breed is Abyssinian, cat geneticists have traced back the origins of my lineage from Southeast Asia and India.
- My breed was instrumental in the development of the Somali cat, who just sort of started showing up in the litters of Abyssinian’s.
- The bands of color in my coat are extremely unique and can be only seen in Abyssinian felines.