Abyssinian cats affectionately referred to as Abys are short-haired elegant cats with a strong personality.
The breed is named for Abyssinia (now called Ethiopia), where it is believed to have originated.
Although the Abyssinian is one of the oldest known breeds, there continues to be speculation and controversy concerning its history.
Some believe they may have lived at the courts of the Pharaohs, since mummified cats that have been found at Egyptian excavations sites are strikingly similar in appearance.
However, the origin of the Abyssinian is shrouded in mystery. Early cat books do not shed much light on the history of this breed because there were few or no records kept.
It was thought that the first cat was brought to England by a British soldier, in 1868, after the English army had fought in Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia). It is believed that this cat, named “Zula” is the founder of the Abyssinian line.
It was not until the 1930s that show-quality Abyssinians were exported from England – these cats form the basis of modern day breeding programs in America.
World War II almost wiped out the Abyssinian cat population in the UK and a concerted effort was made to import Abyssinians from the US to bolster the breeding population.
Since then, Abyssinian populations have grown rapidly and they’ve become one of the most popular cat breeds in the world.
The Abyssinian cat has a typical lifespan of 9 to 15 years.
The typical Abyssinian cat has an overall height of 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 in) and body length of 30 to 41 cm (12 to 16). An average Abyssinian cat weighs between 4 and 5 kg (8 to 12 lb).
The Abyssinian is a lithe cat with relatively slender legs and a long, tapering tail.
The coat is short, fine, and close-lying. The breed is permitted four coat colors by the Cat Fancier’s Association. The original color and the most common one is known as ruddy. The coat has a warm, reddish-brown base, with black ticking. In addition to the most common color ruddy, Abyssinians can also come in cinnamon, fawn, and blue.
Abyssinians are a popular breed thanks in large part to their unusual intelligence and generally extroverted, playful, willful personalities.
Their dog-like characteristics also involve a particular sense of affection and desire for interaction.
They are said to become depressed without constant activity and the attention of their owners.
With their interest in playing with their owners combined with their curious intelligence, Abyssinians are known as the “Clowns of the Cat Kingdom”.
In appearance, the Abyssinian kitten is basically a miniature adult. They tend to grow at an average rate and reach mature height at about 6 months, filling out and maturing to full size and weight at about one year old.
Abyssinian kittens from recognized breeders will usually cost $1200 to $2200. Kittens with premium lineages, coming from famous breeders, will have a price, about $2200 to $5000.
Abyssinian cats are one of the most popular short haired breeds found in the United States today.
Somali cats are the same genetic stock as Abyssinians but are recessive for a gene responsible for long-hair.