Abyssinian Cat Breed: Characteristics, Temperament, Cat Care


The Abyssinian cat or Aby is one of the most popular short-haired cat breeds and one that is instantly recognizable because of its unusual ticked or agouti coat. The early history of the Abyssinian is hard to establish. Some similarities seem to exist between the depiction of the ancient Egyptian cats and the modern Abyssinian. Studies by geneticists seem to point to the Aby originating somewhere in South East Asia. However, all that is really known is that the first Abyssinian was listed in Britain around 1882 and was called the British Ticked cat by the British cat fancy in 1900. The first Abyssinians came to the US about that time but the cat breed wasn’t fully established in the US until the 1930’s.

Cat size Medium
Exercise Active cat: moderate exercise
Grooming Minimal but ears need regular cleaning
Temperament Gentle

Characteristics Of Abyssinian Cat

Characteristics Of Abyssinia Cat

The Aby is a medium sized cat breed that is slender, lithe and muscular. Adult Abyssinians have a royal appearance and dignified bearing. The head is round and wedge-shaped with a medium-length nose and large pointed ears. The Aby has large, expressive almond-shaped eyes that are slanted and set quite far apart. The eyes are a rich green, gold or hazel. The tail is quite thick at the base and tapers to the tip. The Aby’s coat is short-to medium length and feels soft, silky and dense to the touch. The coat hairs have two to three bands of ticking.

Color Varieties

There are a large number of Abyssinian color varieties and permitted colors are different between countries and even between cat fancy organizations in the US. The Cat Fancier’s Organization recognizes the following four colors:

  • Ruddy which can be called “Usual” in Britain is a ruddy brown (burnt-sienna) coat which is ticked with brown or black with an orange-brown undercoat.
  • Red or Sorrel is a rich and warm red coat that is ticked with chocolate-brown with a red undercoat.
  • Blue is a warm beige coat ticked with various shades of slate blue with a blush beige undercoat.
  • Fawn is a warm rose-beige coat that is ticked with light cocoa brown with a blush beige undercoat.

Other countries and organizations recognize or are starting to recognize Black Silver, Blue Silver, Chocolate and Lilac Abyssinians.

Temperament Of Abyssinian Cat

Temperament Abyssinian Cat

Abyssinians are very gentle and companionable cats despite their regal bearing and their shyness and distrust of strangers. They are intelligent, adore their owners and can get along with other cats but generally prefer human company. Abyssinians don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time because they crave human companionship. Abys have a lot of energy and can be trained to enjoy being walked on a leash.

Cat Care

Abys’ coats require minimal grooming but their large ears are subject to infection and should be cleaned on a regular basis.


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