The Abyssinian Cat Breed: Information, Health, and Facts

The Abyssinian is one of the most popular cat breeds for would-be cat parents. This is because they are affectionate felines that love other animals and people.

Abyssinian cats are an active cat breed that is easy to take care of in your home. They also tend to live for approximately 15 years. They are social cats that like to play with other animals and people. Being an active breed, they will keep their weight down with exercise. You should consider getting cat trees and high perches, so they can climb and jump.


Quick facts about the Abyssinian

Weight: 8 to 12 pounds Height: 8 to 10 inches
Life span: 9 to 13 years
Intelligence: high Temperament: social
Playfulness: high Activity level: active
Vocalness: when necessary Coat length: short
Shedding amount: seasonal
Good with: families
Traits: Abyssinians are very easy to groom, due to their short coat. They are also very friendly toward humans.

They can spend hours playing with their toys. Abyssinian cats will also enjoy relaxing play with their parents. If you’re looking for a loving and affectionate cat, then you might want to consider getting an Abyssinian. They love to spend time with their parents.

Because Abyssinian cats are social felines, you might want to consider getting another cat, so they’ll have some company. Another feline companion will help when their humans aren’t at home.


The Abyssinian is modest looking with their triangular heads and smooth fur. They have big tilted eyes that will melt your heart. Her bright eyes will show that they are paying attention to everything that is happening around them. Their eyes will show off the Abyssinian’s intelligent and maybe mischievous nature that’s in their genes.

They have little locks of hair in their ears and short fur coats. The Abyssinian has a unique coloring of golden brown, with darker fur along their spine. The color will lighten at the neck and on the underside, and the inside of their legs.

Because they have a short coat, Abyssinian cats are low maintenance. They enjoy being rubbed with a chamois cloth and combed. After the rub down, you’ll be rewarded with a loving purr from your feline friend.

The common belief is that the Abyssinian cat originated in the Nile Valley. But they were developed in the United Kingdom. Lord Robert Napier brought a cat from Abyssinia to Britain during the late 1800s.

Napier named the cat Zulu and became the founder of the breed known as the Abyssinian. The interesting coloring of the cat reminded people of the wild rabbit coat. This led to Zulu breeding with cats that had a similar coat.

The Abyssinian cat soon became a popular breed of cat. Soon the breed could be found throughout Europe. Then it was eventually found in Canada and the United States.


Southeast Asia


Dr. Adedapo Adisa:

For feline lovers, who’d like to have an attractively athletic cat breed that doubles as a talk partner during domestic chores, then make no mistake, you just called on the Abyssinian cats.
Despite the gorgeous looks and social nature of the Abyssinian cat breed, do they have any serious health issues? 

Many believe the Abyssinian cats have relatively good health with no inherited health conditions. However, in reality, there are a couple of health concerns the Abyssinian cat breeds are predisposed to.

Alright then, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the health conditions associated with the Abyssinian cat breed.

Notable among these feline health issues are; a tooth condition called Gingivitis.
Gingivitis, in simple terms, is the swelling of the lower parts of the gum closest to the tooth. 
Abyssinians with Gingivitis would be seen with symptoms such as 

●    Redness and swelling around the gum.
●    Some Abys would be seen drooling saliva.
●    Gingivitis sometimes comes with having bad breath, which is known medically as Halitosis.
●    Other common signs noticed with Abys having this condition would be a loss of appetite, cats trying to isolate themselves, and also feeling a little irritated on touch.
This could eventually predispose to excessive plaques forming around the teeth and a more severe condition, periodontal disease, if not properly managed.

Having routine oral hygiene for the Abyssinian cat breed, feeding them appropriate diets,  and scheduling regular dental visits to your Veterinarian, have been known to prevent this health condition in the Abyssinian cats.

Another health issue linked with the  Abyssinian breed is an inherited genetic condition known as progressive retinal atrophy. 

This health condition is known to affect the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive part of the eye, which contains numerous photoreceptor cells (rods and cones)  responsible for detecting colors, movements, and vision when properly interpreted by the brain.

Progressive retinal atrophy in the Abyssinian cat causes the retina’s photoreceptor cells to deteriorate gradually over time. This often can be a cause of Abyssinian cats having to suffer from blindness as a result of a mutation in the rdAC gene, meaning they must have inherited the defective gene from both parents.

Progressive retinal atrophy is not a painful condition in Abyssinian cats; hence catching them at a very early stage can be a little difficult. However, here are a few signs to watch out for in the Abyssinian breed;

●    Night blindness.
●    They may bump into stationary objects when moving around places with low light.
●    They appear very nervous at night 
●    Their pupils would look a little more dilated. 

The poor vision eventually progresses until the cat’s vision is lost completely, all within a space of 1-2 years.

However, with modern detection techniques, the health issue has been adequately reduced and managed. Through early testing and detection, Abyssinian cats diagnosed to have this condition are removed from breeding activities and programs.

Although the Abyssinian breed is generally known to have excellent health with good social ability, even to the extent of co-living with other indoor pets, emphasis should be given to monitoring their health status as well as keeping up with regular Vet visits, to make them remain healthy.

124 thoughts on “The Abyssinian Cat Breed: Information, Health, and Facts”

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