Perhaps too much emphasis is given to the uncertain point of origin of the Abyssinian cat. What truly matters is that this friendly, intelligent, curious, and companionable animal is here among us today. A lover of high places and eternally interested in watching what you are doing, the Abyssinian’s exquisite list of traits is the perfect answer that cat fanciers can offer to those who love their dogs.
The origin of the Abyssinian cat breed is shrouded in mystery. It was once believed that the Abyssinians were cats imported from Abyssinia (now Ethiopia), but the cat actually earned the name in reference to the Abyssinian War, and some cats during that period were imported by colonialists to Europe.
If there is one complaint about an Abyssinian’s personality, it may perhaps be that they are almost too smart. They love to learn, and they learn by observing things at close quarters. This means that they are not shy about getting into your business while you are doing it.
The Abyssinian is a medium to small size breed of cat. Although medium in overall size, their very lithe build, and thin legs make them register on the smaller end of that medium scale so far as weight is concerned. Abys generally run from 8 to 10 inches in height and is anywhere from 12 to 16 inches in length. They tip the scales at a svelte 8 to 12 lbs.
The wild card in this is that you can obtain an Abyssinian kitten for much less than these numbers indicate, but they are not capable of being used to breed more Abyssinians. For a so-called “pet” Aby, you can find common ones in the $500-900 range.
Like most other cats, Abyssinians have litters in the range of about six kittens. Kittens tend to be somewhat darker than their parents when born but will lighten up as their distinctive coat develops.
Their curious nature and love of heights can artificially shorten their natural lifespan due to accidents. Barring any early death due to misadventure, however, Abyssinians easily last into the 13-15 year range. With proper care and diligence, living into their 20s is not too uncommon.
Very slight variations of these color schemes are enough to disqualify a cat from being a cat breeder’s standard purebred Abyssinian. Black hair on a red Aby will disqualify. With few exceptions around the face, white patches or spots will disqualify. A dark necklace, or ring that goes entirely around the neck area, will disqualify.
An Abyssinian cat is a breed of small domestic feline that was popularized in the UK first. There is some question as to whether breeders created it from several UK domestic tabby and shorthair cats, if it was an exotic import brought home from military campaigns in Africa in the 19th Century, or if it happened to be a combination of both.