If you’re a fan of active, lively cats that have a bit of a wild appearance, you will absolutely love the Abyssinian. This breed was surrounded by myths and legends. Some said they were the Egyptian pharaohs’ cats, and one myth claimed these cats were first bred in Great Britain by crossing several tabby cats. We can say for sure that the Abyssinian is absolutely gorgeous, and this is definitely one of our favorite cat breeds. Here’s what all cat lovers need to know about the Abyssinian breed.



12–16 in



6-10 lb



Southeast Asia


Life Expectancy:

9-15 years

Breed History

The first mention of the Abyssinian breed was on January 27, 1872, issue of Harper’s Weekly, after the 1871 Crystal Palace Cat Show. The cat that participated in the show took third place, and the cat-loving community at the time was amazed by the breed. The cat was taken in the late Abyssinian War, and the breed’s exact origin was unknown. That is when different myths about these cats started. Luckily, we have genetic testing, so we know these cats come from Southeast Asia. Most likely, the British or Dutch merchants took some of these cats while they were in those parts of the world. The breed was named after Abyssinia, a former British name for Ethiopia. It was named that because the first cat shown at the Crystal Palace Cat Show was Zula, and she was allegedly imported from Abyssinia.

abyssinian looking up

Cat Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Amount of Shedding
Social Needs
Affection Level
Kid Friendly
Pet Friendly
General Health

Even if you are not a huge cat fan, you simply cannot idly pass by this amazing animal and not notice its unique features. The Abyssinian is gorgeous, and it has a wedge-shaped head and slightly pointed ears. Here are the most dominant Abyssinian characteristics.


You will surely notice the short, fine coat this breed sports. Their fur is closely-lying and soft to the touch. That makes the Abyssinian a fine cuddling partner. These cats have dense coats, so grooming will be necessary.

abyssinian on a counter

Coat color

The most dominant feature of the Abyssinian coat is its “trademarkedcoat color. The ticked coat pattern resembles the coat of a wild mountain lion. This unique characteristic gives this breed a slightly wild appearance.


Another important thing all future Abyssinian owners need to know is this cat’s size. You don’t want to end up with a cat that’s too much to handle. These cats are considered medium-sized, and most adults weigh 6 - 10 pounds.


While the physical appearance might be important, what’s more important is the cat’s temperament. You might want a cat that looks wild, but that is not the type of personality you’d want them to have. You should know that Abyssinian is an intelligent, active, curious breed. There’s nothing more these cats like than climbing, playing, and exploring. If you decide to share your home with an Abyssinian, you should have a few cat trees your cat can safely climb on. These beautiful cats love being the center of attention, and they will form strong bonds with their owners.

abyssinian kittens


The Abyssinian is a relatively healthy breed with a life span of 9 - 15 years. However, mixed and pureblooded breeds can be prone to breed-specific health issues. This doesn’t mean the cat will develop them; it just means you and your vet should keep an eye on early signs of these health issues. Those potential issues are;

  • Patellar luxation - This is a hereditary disease that causes mild-to-severe kneecap dislocation.
  • Periodontal disease - Especially in kittens. Oral hygiene is vital in this breed.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy - A progressive degenerative eye condition.
  • Hyperesthesia syndrome - This syndrome causes the cat to act frantically when someone touches or pets them. It will also cause the cat to “overgroom” themselves and cause hair loss.
  • Renal amyloidosis - This condition causes the amyloid protein to deposit in the cat’s organs, mainly Abyssinian’s kidneys.

World Cat Finder Team

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Updated at21.12.2021.