Abyssinian Cat Breed Information

Lifespan

9 – 15 years

Weight

6 – 10 pounds

Length

12 – 16 inches

Overview

At a quick glance, the Abyssinian looks more like a wild cat than a household pet, which carries its own unique charm. They have a medium build and can live for around 9 to 15 years or so.

They have a characteristic of liking to follow their owners as they’re very affectionate. It has been said that they can have a dog-like attachment to their owners because of this.  They are a breed that does require stimulation, so plenty of toys and attention are needed.

Personality

The Abyssinian is a loyal and affectionate breed. They do require a lot of stimulation so need owners that are willing to devote time to them. Plenty of cat toys and activities for them to do around the home will ease their need for something to do.

They are suitable for households with children but you may need to keep an eye on them around children of a younger age. Not because they’re dangerous or aggressive but rather that they aren’t as keen on being held close for tight cuddles, as some younger children may attempt to do.

A loyal, charismatic and friendly pet that would be ideal for homes that like a more active cat.

Health

Abyssinians have generally good health but there are at least two inherited conditions that you need to be aware of. 

Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK) – This is an inherited disease that can sometimes be found in breeds like the Abyssinian and Somali. This disease affects the number of red blood cells able to circulate in the body, which results in anaemia.

The anaemia that can result from PK is usually mild and can be controlled and managed. It’s a deficiency that can not be cured as it’s an inherited genetic mutation.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy – This is another inherited disease that can lead to blindness in serious cases. Again, there is no cure for this.  Abyssinian and Persian are the only two cat breeds in which this condition is inherited. 

Both of the above can be diagnosed by DNA testing. Cats carrying these genes should no longer be used to breed. 

Important:  We always recommend that pets are seen by a veterinary professional before you consider adopting, purchasing or selling. Pet health is something that is always unique to each individual cat. 

History

We can thank Lt. General Sir Robert Napier for being the person that brought the Abyssinian breed to the UK.  In 1868 he travelled from Abyssinia (which is now called Ethiopia) and carried with him the first documented Abyssinian. The cat’s name was Zula. 

It was initially thought that the Abyssinian originated directly from Abyssinian (Ethiopia) but more recent studies of the breed show the genetics are more likely from the Indian Ocean area or possibly Southeast Asia. 

Fun Facts

– From accidental crossbreeding of Siamese and Abyssinians, the breed of Ocicats came to be.

– Due to the breed being popular around the world, it has a conservation status of ‘Least Concern.’

– They can reach speeds of up to 30 mph when running.