Beautiful, athletic and fun. This exotic breed originates in Southeast Asia and is one of the most recognisable cats in the kingdom. This blog post will highlight the key characteristics of the striking Abyssinian.
History or Mystery?
The Abyssinian, or Aby, is a breed that has a mysterious history. While the name suggests that the Abyssinian originates from East Africa (Abyssinia is the former name of the country now called Ethiopia), geneticists discovered that the Abyssinian in fact originates from the coast of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia.
But, in a confusing twist, legend says that the Abyssinian was given the name of the former African country due to the fact that the first Abyssinian to be bred in Britain was brought back to the UK by a soldier who had fought in the Abyssinian War in 1867.
If you’re confused about this origin story, then you aren’t alone! Even so, if we fast forward to today, the Abyssinian is now one of the most popular breeds in the western hemisphere and is loved throughout the world.
Coat and Appearance
A short, dense coat is one of the defining features of this cat breed. Whilst the most recognisable and well-known coat that an Abyssinian can have is reddish in colour, a range of other colours can also be found on an Abyssinian such as chocolate, cinnamon, lilac and fawn. Being short-haired, Abyssinians don’t require a huge amount of grooming to be kept in top-tip condition. They shed a minimum amount and only require grooming once a week.
An Abyssinian’s coat is also ‘ticked’, meaning that every hair strand is lighter at the base and becomes darker at the tip. It is this unique feature which gives Abyssinians their wild, exotic look.
Slender yet muscular, an Abyssinian has a refined and graceful body shape that looks to be modelled on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Their deep ear shape and golden/green eyes are cavernous and the perfect match for their unique coat.
High Energy, Loyal and Curious
Being extroverted and energetic, the Abyssinian is one of the most active cat breeds that love to be the centre of attention. A highly sociable and intelligent cat, an Abyssinian loves company and is a natural explorer. Due to their need to be constantly active and stimulated, an Abyssinian shouldn’t be left alone for a long period of time. Loyalty is also a key part of an Abyssinian’s character, and the love that they have for their owner is often shown through displays of affection. Whilst not a vocal breed, this cat’s beauty and loving affection will warm the heart of most families. This is one of the most friendly and inquisitive breeds who will want to be involved in everything going on around the home.
Being inquisitive by nature, Abyssinians can often be found in every nook or cranny around the home and will thrive in an enriching environment where there are plenty of opportunities to explore. They are fond of height and will enjoy perching on higher vantage points to survey their environment below. Due to their active and high-energy nature, Abyssinians require sufficient room to exercise and play to keep boredom at bay.
Indoor or Outdoor?
Due to their inquisitiveness and friendliness, this breed tends to be kept as indoor-only cats. Providing a route to secured and safe outdoor spaces is recommended to help keep an Abyssinian stimulated. Adding interactive toys and games throughout the home will also provide another layer of fun to their environment.
A Family Cat?
It is important to point out that this breed will demand attention. To bring this cat into a family home, you need to ensure that you have enough time and energy to pass around! It is often suggested that if you are away from home or have a demanding job, getting a companion cat could be a sensible way to keep an Abyssinian energised.
Fun Fact To Finish
Australia’s first pedigree cat breed, called the Australian Mist, was bred through a Burmese and Abyssinian mating pair.