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    History & Overview

    Documents and mummified animal remains from ancient Egypt have convinced many people that the Abyssinian is the ancestor of the domestic cat. Whether this is true or not, the characteristics of the breed Abyssiniand little since it was first recognized in Britain in 1882.

    The elegant, wild-looking Abyssinian favors the cats that Ancient Egyptians worshipped. It is a medium length, muscular cat with moderately pointed ears, a soft, smooth coat and a very long tail that tapers to a point. This is a high energy cat that remains active throughout its life. It likes to be in high places. Intelligent cats, Abys are notorious for doing everything on their own terms. When well cared for, Abys can live into their twenties.

    This medium-sized cat (the male is larger than female) shows a fine but firm muscular development and athletic look. The Abyssinian is active, curious, and as well balanced physically, as it is psychologically. This exceptionally energetic cat requires plenty of space if it is to develop as it should.


    The Abyssinian cat has a lively personality showing interest in all activities around him. He is also a very “people-oriented” cat. Abyssinian cats enjoy being with their humans and are very intelligent, affectionate and loyal. Abyssinian owners around the world greatly enjoy the loyal temperament of this cat.


    The Abyssinian comes in several colors. Usual, sorrel, fawn and blue are the most widely accepted colors in the UK while the American color terms are ruddy, red, fawn and blue. In Australia, the popular colors are tawny, cinnamon, blue and fawn. The American Cat Association also recognizes lilac and cream.

    The coat is fine and resilient to the touch, with a lustrous sheen. Medium length, long enough to accommodate 4 or 6 alternating light and dark colored bands. Coat longest at the spine, gradually shortening over the saddle, flank, legs and head.

    At A Glance

    Other Names:


    Breed Classification:



    • Ruddy (Usual/Ruddy Brown/Burnt Sienna)
    • Red(Sorrel/Russet)
    • Blue
    • Fawn
    • A perfect specimen should be entirely free from tabby markings

    Average Litter Size:


    Life Span:

    15+ Years


    Intelligent and curious but not mischievous. Very loyal and attached to its family. Freedom-loving, not a lap cat. Abyssinian cats love to perch on your shoulder and they love water.

    Grooming Requirements:

    Occasional brushing and bath.

    Social skills:

    Adjusts well to other household animals.

    Suitability for Children:

    Good with children.

    Energy Level:

    High. Not suited for someone who is looking for a cat with a low activity level.


    Not particularly vocal.

    Health Issues:

    Healthy and active.



    Causes Allergies:


    Abyssinian Colors Recognized by CFA

    The original color form of this breed was described as “ruddy.” It stood alone as the sole acceptable color until, in 1963, it was joined by “sorrel” or “red.” Blue was not added as a championship color until 1984. Today a number of further colors have been added.

    • Ruddy (=Usual/Ruddy Brown/Burnt Sienna)
    • Red(=Sorrel/Russet)
    • Blue
    • Fawn
    Video Credits: Animal Planet, Discovery Channel


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