Abyssinian Cat: Characteristics, Personality, and Breed Information

Compare Breed
Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
Adult weight
6-12 pounds
Life Span
14-17+ years
Playful, willful, active, intelligent
Other Names
Medium-sized short-haired
Affection Level
? Breeds with a high affection level want to give and receive a lot of attention, while less-affectionate breeds are not as interested in petting and snuggles.
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Activity Level
? Breeds with high activity levels will engage more in active play and demand more space and attention.
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? How well the breed tends to get along with cats, dogs, and other pets.
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? Breeds with a higher rating in this area tend to be gentle and patient, while lower-rated breeds may feel uncomfortable with children.
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? Breeds with a higher sociability rating will want to spend time with you all day, while less-sociable breeds seldom seek out human interaction.
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? Breeds with higher intelligence ratings are more curious, investigative, and easy to train. Less-intelligent breeds are less trainable but often laid-back and easygoing.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area have strong hunting instincts that make them great playtime companions.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area are able to spend hours alone, while less-independent breeds require plenty of attention.
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? A higher rating in this area indicates a breed prone to plenty of meowing and other vocalizations, while less-vocal breeds are happy to stay quiet.
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? Breeds with higher grooming scores require more maintenance like brushing and bathing, while lower-scored breeds are virtually maintenance-free.
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Personality and Temperament

With its lean, elegant profile, the Abyssinian cat bears a close resemblance to ancient Egyptian cat statues. Unique ticked coats in a variety of exotic shades combine with large, expressive eyes, lending a sense of mystery to the breed's appearance.

Usually outgoing and active, with a fondness for being the center of attention, the Abyssinian cat develops a close bond with its family. Even so, this breed has a shy side to its personality. Abyssinian cats are often quick to disappear when strangers arrive.

About the Abyssinian Cat
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Abyssinian Cat Care
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As with all cats, Abyssinians benefit from eating a high-quality food that provides ample protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. While all cats benefit from diets with a high moisture content, Abyssinian cats need more water than average. Feeding a high-quality wet food can help cats take in extra moisture.

The Abyssinian cat has extremely short hair, so you won't have to spend a lot of time grooming your pet. Use a soft brush or grooming glove just once or twice per week to remove loose hair and keep your Aby looking and feeling their best.

Most Abyssinian cats are not fond of being held or restrained, so teach them to accept nail trimming from an early age using gentle, positive methods. Ask your veterinarian for some tips, or have your vet or groomer trim your cat's nails for you.

Abyssinian cats are extremely active by nature and luckily, they’re not prone to obesity. Give them a big cat tower to climb—preferably one that goes all the way to the ceiling—and keep the interactive cat toys coming. An Aby cat will always entertain you with their agile moves while keeping themselves fit. If you've always wanted to play fetch with a cat, it's likely that an Aby will help fulfill that desire.

Abyssinian cats tend to enjoy good physical health, but they are prone to stress and anxiety, particularly in unfamiliar situations.

In addition, Abyssinian some cats suffer from a few known health issues, including a hereditary form of anemia called pyruvate kinase deficiency (PK deficiency), a degenerative eye disease called progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), patellar luxation, and a hereditary kidney disease called renal amyloidosis.

Many Abyssinians have very long life spans. It's not uncommon for Abyssinians to live 14 to 17 years or more, with some Abys living into their 20s.


Abyssinians are one of the oldest cat breeds in existence. The most recent genetic research suggests the breed originated in Southeast Asia, somewhere on the coast of the Indian Ocean. This breed retains many hallmarks of the appearance of felis lybica, a wildcat that contributed its DNA to all domestic cats in existence today.

The modern Abyssinian cat is somewhat different than the original Abyssinian cat. Many of today's Abyssinian lines were created with Russian Blues, Burmese, and Siamese cats as foundation stock.

Abyssinian cats were first recognized by England's Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in 1929. America's first Abyssinian cat litter was born in 1935. The breed is recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association and The International Cat Association.

Abyssinian Cat History
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About the Abyssinian Cat
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Abyssinian cats can have gold, copper, green or hazel eyes, with dark lines that extend from the eyes and eyebrows. The eyes are large, expressive, and almond-shaped, contributing to this breed's exotic appearance. Around the outer edges of the eyes, darker lid skin is surrounded by a light-colored area.

Legs & Paws

The Abyssinian cat's legs are long, slender, and well-muscled. The paws have an oval shape, and are relatively small, almost giving the impression that the cat is standing on its tiptoes.


Abyssinian cats have long tails that are thickest at the base and taper to a point at the end.

The Breed Standard


Abyssinian cats have long, lean bodies with well-developed musculature. The overall impression is one of athleticism and balance. The average male Abyssinian weighs 7 to 12 pounds; the average female is smaller, at 6 to 9 pounds.


The Abyssinian cat's head has a modified wedge shape, with slight rounding throughout the brow, cheek, and profile. Cheekbone shading is common, along with shadowing and dots on the whisker pads. The muzzle is balanced, neither square nor pointed. Intact adult males may display jowls.


An Abyssinian cat's ears are large, wide-set, moderately pointed, and cupped at the base.


The Abyssinian has a short coat with a fine, silky texture. The distinctive tabby ticked coat is known as the agouti pattern. Each individual hair is banded in alternating dark and lighter colors with up to  four to six bands of ticking. In all Abyssinian cat colors, the tips of the hairs are darkest, and often display subtle patterning.


The CFA breed standard specifies four accepted Abyssinian cat coat colors: ruddy, cinnamon, blue, and fawn. Distinct nose leather and paw pad colors correspond with each coat color. The TICA breed standard specifies six traditional colors (ruddy, cinnamon, chocolate, blue, fawn, and lilac), as well as six colors in the silver division: black-silver, cinnamon-silver, chocolate-silver, and a diluted blue-silver, fawn-silver, and lilac-silver.

Breed Colors & Markings


Description Standard Registration Code

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do Abyssinian cats cost?

A pet-quality Abyssinian kitten usually costs anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000.

Why are Abyssinian cats so expensive?

Pedigreed Abyssinian cats are more expensive than non-pedigreed cats because reputable breeders spend a lot of time and money caring for their adult breeding Abyssinian cats to ensure they are healthy, temperamentally sound, and good representations of the breed. Ensure your Abyssinian breeder performs genetic health testing on the parents prior to breeding to avoid passing on inherited diseases known in the breed, including erythrocyte pyruvate kinase deficiency (PK deficiency) and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Are Abyssinian cats good pets?

Abyssinians are curious, active, and engaged, making them wonderful pets that will entertain you with their explorations and antics. Abyssinians bond closely with their human family, but are usually shy with strangers. Providing Abyssinian kittens with lots of socialization can help them feel more comfortable when visitors come to the house.

Are Abyssinian cats cuddly?

All Abyssinian cats are individuals, and some might enjoy cuddles more than others. In general, though, Abyssinians prefer activity to lap-sitting, and most Abyssinians prefer to be handled on their own terms, choosing how much and how often they want to be held or snuggled.

9 thoughts on “Abyssinian”

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    1. Dr Cannie Stark

      Absolutely THE best breed. Incredibly INTIELLIGENT, wonderfully LOVING! SILKY hair, very ATHLETIC. DEVOTED and LOYAL companions. Make sure that you have enough time in your day to devote ALL OF YOUR ATTENTION to them and they will THRIVE. SENSITIVE and AWARE of your moods, health, and needs. My two brothers have had different lifespans: Cinnamon died ataround 9 years of age, but Curry is now 18, almost 19 and he still thinks that he is a KITTEN!

  1. Sally

    We’ve had Abyssinians for years – both pure and half breed. Delightful personality, beautiful and a joy for the whole family. OUR latest, I saw now eight months old and my only problem is that we are unable to let her run free outside. We will need to build her a good sized outside Catio. She’s such a bright, inquisitive little personality.

  2. Jill E Ledet

    I have an abyssinian grey tabby. I’m sure she’s not a purebred, but you never know. I adopted her from the pound. The first thing that caught my attention was her eyes and her light peach color on her underside and legs. This cat is very human oriented, she’s long, on the lean side, and developed unusual pin striping on her back as she got older. Her coat is silky and has that whitish under her chin and up by her nose. She really is a beautiful cat. She was extremely athletic in her younger years, and she waits for me on the corner of my yard like a watch dog for me to come home in the summer. She loves to burrow in the blankets in the afternoon. She doesn’t shed much,, and since I got her, she now has two other cat buddies. She hangs and follows me all the time. I would say this is a great cat for 1 person as a companion if you just want one.

  3. Avatar photoCarol Redlawsk

    I am interested in this breed as I am starting a forest bathing program which will incorporate pets on my woodland hikes. I believe an Aby would be a great part of my team. What do you think?

    Thank you