The Abyssinian cat is a sleek feline that features a small, triangular head with smooth feature lines in the face, so called planes. The cat’s triangular ears tilt forward to give this athletic pet an alert, attentive and athletic look.

The look works. You can find the Abyssinian darting around the house as the cat likes to stay active. Constantly moving and curious, the Abyssinian likes to explore the home in detail. You may even find the cat wedged into strange places or making toys out of unexpected objects.

Aptly nicknamed “The Aby,” this house cat is fun to have around. The Aby loves people and other pets, but don’t expect a good snuggle out of this energetic feline. The Abyssinian is beautiful to look at in motion. There are bands of colour down the back with a darker streak along the spine. The Aby also tends to be a bit lighter and slenderer than most house cats which gives it a unique dexterity and grace.

The Abyssinian typically weighs between 4 and 6 kg. The lifespan of the Abyssinian is 9 to 13 years.

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Personality and Temperament

These active cats are easy to care of and are perfect for the first-time cat owner. They don’t sit still for very often, but they have no problem playing with their own toys for an entire afternoon. Then, just like that, they can shift their attention to people and other animals for interactive play.

The Abyssinian rather enjoys interaction with people and other animals. They love to show affection with a very soft purr, but they are not lap cats as they like to stay active. However, they do like to be rubbed down with a chamois cloth, and they will give you a pleasing purr in exchange.

Common Abyssinian Diseases & Conditions

Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

  • Gingivitis This curable disease appears as swelling in the gums. The redness and swelling are caused by plaque and calculus under the gums as a result of organic matter mixed with calcium phosphate and carbonate being stuck under the teeth. Risk increases with age, a soft-food diet and bad chewing habits. Left untreated, the disease can advance to a more serious condition called periodontitis.
  • Familial Renal Amyloidosis This genetic condition is caused by the build-up of proteins in the kidney. It eventually diminishes the kidney’s normal function. As a result, the Abyssinian can begin to lose precious proteins through the urine. Symptoms of the disease include weight loss, increased thirst and urination, vomiting and swollen limbs.
  • Low Genetic Diversity Tests show that the Abyssinian breed has very low genetic diversity. The lack of diversity lends itself to the propagation of genetic diseases like Familial Renal Amyloidosis. But genetic testing and breeding programs have reduced the chances of the disease, for example from 45% to 4% in Sweden.

Not all conditions are covered by Pet Insurance. For details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover, refer to the Product Disclosure Statement.

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This sleek feline looks like it came right out of the Nile Valley as the face may remind you of Cleopatra, but the Abyssinian is distinctively British. Lord Robert Napier brought a single cat named Zulu back to England from a trip to Abyssinia, the former Ethiopian Empire, back in 1860. The locals loved the cat’s colour pattern as it reminded them of a rabbit in the area.

Zulu’s desirable traits, especially the colour pattern, were bred into random cats that happened to carry similar traits. The breed quickly began to spread through the rest of Europe. Then World War II broke out.

Like many cat and dog breeds, World War II almost stamped out the Abyssinian entirely. Fortunately, the Abyssinian had spread to the safe haven countries of America and Canada by then. As it turns out, the early popularity of the Abyssinian is what saved the cat breed from extinction.

Abyssinian Facts!


  • Abyssinian cats are often confused with wild cats due to their exotic looking fur, lean body, agile nature and oversized ears.
  • The Abyssinian made quite the impression at London’s Crystal Palace Cat Show back in 1871. Drawings of the cat, which took third place at the world’s second most important show, appeared in Harper’s Magazine.
  • The cat’s coat is “ticked.” This means that each and every short hair of the Abyssinian has bands of different colour. The darkest shades are near the skin while the lighter shades can be found at the tips.
  • The Abyssinian was used to create Australia’s first true cat breed. Truda Straede bred an Abyssinian, Burmese, and an Australian domestic shorthair to create the Australian Mist. The project took nine years through the 1970’s.

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More information about Abyssinian cats: https://www.hillspet.com.au/cat-care/cat-breeds/abyssinian

Abyssinian breeders: http://www.swiftabyssinians.com/

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