Dog Breed Info Center(R) DBIC

Abyssinian Cat

Information and Pictures

Whisky the Abyssinian cat is laying on a bed and looking up at the camera holder

Whisky the Abyssinian at 6 months old

Description

This elegant and flexible, medium-sized cat closely resembles the cats of the ancient Egyptians. Adult Abyssinians are lithe, hard and muscular with all physical elements of the cat in proportion. The tail is medium length, broad at the base and tapered, with kinks. The legs are slender, elegant and moderately long.

Coat

The coat is short, silky, dense and resilient, with a unique ticking of two or more dark bands, giving it a warm glow.

Colors and Patterns

Colors include ruby, red, fawn and blue. In addition the TICA also recognizes sorrel silver, blue silver and fawn silver. One of the newer additions to the range of Abyssinian colors, the lilac is the diluted shade of the chocolate. Both colors were introduced through outcrosses to Oriental cats in the 1970s, and they are still not accepted by the more traditional registries. The eyes are gold, hazel or green.

Temperament

Highly intelligent, active, eager and inquisitive. Gentle with a well-balanced temperament. This attention-seeking, curious cat shows a great interest in its surroundings. Well-mannered and confidant, it is responsive and will love to play spontaneous little games.

Weight

9-16 pounds (4-7.5 kg)

Health Problems

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Living Conditions

Can withstand moderate climates.

Grooming

Little grooming needed.

Origin

This is one of the oldest known cat breeds. It looks like the old paintings and sculptures of ancient Egyptian cats. Its exact origin is uncertain, but the early specimens of the breed were taken to Britain by soldiers returning from the Abyssinian War in 1868. They were first recognized in Britain in 1882 and although they were first exhibited in the U.S. in 1909, they were not recognized as a separate breed until1986. The foundation of today's breeding program is from several top-quality Abyssinians that arrived in North America from England in the late 1930s.

Outcross Breeds

None

Recognition
  • TICA = International Cat Association
Oscar the Abyssinian kitten sitting on a blanket and looking forward

Oscar the Abyssinian kitten at 3 months