Cat Breed Profile
breed profile courtesy of
Osiris (V) Abysynnians
Although many believe the Abyssinian to be
direct descendent of the sacred cat of Egypt, the exact origin of the breed is
obscure. Certainly, there is a strong resemblance between the modern Abyssinian and the
cat depicted in ancient Egyptian bronzes, paintings and
the agouti coated cats found buried in the tombs, with the lithe long body large
ears and long tail. The Abyssinian shape and distinctive coat however also bears a
striking similarly to the African Wild cats. The first registration of the breed
appeared in English studbooks in 1896. The earliest identifiable Abyssinian can be
found in the Leiden Museum in Holland. The label reads "domestica India",
indicating the origin to the same area. More recent studies have indicated the
coast of Indian Ocean between Singapore and Ceylon to be the "homeland" of the
Abyssinian Tabby colour pattern - Abyssinians are one of the oldest breeds and
they are possibly the closest to a natural breed of all the purebred cats in the
The overall impression of the ideal Abyssinian would be of foreign build, not as
extreme as the Siamese not as rounded as the Burmese but somewhere in between.
The Abyssinian is an extremely beautiful and colourful cat with a distinct agouti ticked
coat. It is this agouti ticking (flecking) that gives the Abyssinian this rather
special "wild cat " look. It is of medium size, lithe, very regal in appearance,
hard and muscular showing eager activity and lively interest in its
surroundings. Watching an Abyssinian lope across the room invokes images of a wild hunting
cat, swift and capable.
The Abyssinian is an affectionate intelligent cat, very people orientated,
extremely active and a cat that
thrives on interaction and play. They are not constant lap cats, rather, they
need to know what you are doing; like to help you make a telephone call; read
your newspaper or make your bed, in fact they insist on being included in all
family activities as a right. Whatever it is, an Abyssinian has to be totally involved.
Abyssinians are not always ideal for every one so if this higher level of
activity will annoy you then a quieter breed should be sort.
Abyssinians make good family pets but tend to bond with Adults and older
children rather than young toddlers. Abyssinians are not vocal, having a small bell
like voice to communicate. They prefer and seek higher places to sit such as
backs of chairs, refrigerators and scratching poles. They get on very well with
dogs and will quickly teach the dog who is the boss. Abyssinians can be taught to fetch
and retrieve small objects and because of their dog like antics, they are often
attractive to men who previously thought that they did not like cats. Once a
relationship is formed there is no breed more loyal than an Abyssinian. Expect
to be greeted with enthusiasm and devote 10-15 minutes attention to your Abyssinian on
your homecoming. Being "people" cats, they can become very lonely if left for
long periods of time alone so it's often wise to have two as company for each
Abyssinian General Health.
Abyssinians are generally a healthy breed, and depending on their life style
will live well into their teens. As with all cats they should be kept indoors in
order for them to avoid many of the contagious and fatal diseases easily
transmitted from the stray population. Vaccinations should always be kept up to
date and routine checks should be made regularly. The first sign of any illness
should be attended to promptly by a veterinarian.
Many felines are prone to gingivitis, as are some Abyssinians. Incorrect diet is
often the main contributor, start by feeding kittens raw chicken wings and necks
at a very early age. This will exercise the gums and prevent tartar from forming
on the teeth.
The kidney disorder "Renal Amyloidosis:" has been associated with the Abyssinian
cat and is thought to be genetic. This disorder often results in kidney failure
and the cat's prognosis is often poor. This disease is also seen in many other
breeds of cats but unfortunately, some veterinarians incorrectly label it as
purely an Abyssinian disease. Only a few breeding lines are likely to produce
kittens with Renal Amyloidosis, so this should not deter the public from buying
an otherwise relatively sound breed. Responsible breeders will do their utmost
to avoid perpetuating health problems, so it is important when purchasing a
kitten to chose a reputable breeder and one with whom you can discuss all
aspects of the Abyssinian including health matters.
Related Links Abyssinian Breeders