The Abyssinian Cat

The Abyssinian cat is an affectionate, intelligent, and playful companion cat that needs relatively little grooming, but lots of attention.

If you are looking for a devoted, athletic, and engaging furry friend, this CFA Championship Class breed may be the one.

If you know anyone who thinks that cats are aloof, or unaffectionate and snooty then you might suggest they read up on the Aby. Then, introduce them to one of these very special felines. These cats are very personable and affectionate animals that love to interact with their families.

The Cat Fancier's Association classifies the Abyssinian cat breed as a part of the Championship Class, along with many other breeds (see the CFA list of cat breeds here).

While athletic in nature, these cats are not among the largest domestic cat breeds. They often weigh in anywhere from nine to sixteen pounds.

They have a graceful tail that is as long as the rest of the body. Although they can have coats in almost any shade, from red to lilac, they all are tabbies with a ticked appearance.

This means that each individual hair has bands of dark and light color. They have a wedge shaped face with eyes that are amber, green, or hazel colored.

Like the Egyptian Mau, this is an old breed, dating back much further than many. Images from ancient Egypt show cats with a very similar appearance to today's Abys, right down to the ticked appearance of their coats. The first of these cats to arrive in England came from Ethiopia in the eighteen hundreds.

As the saying goes, curiosity killed the cat, and these cats are especially curious. Of course, that's why they need nine lives. These cats want to know everything about what's going on around them. They seem to actually try to help their owners complete household chores and like to hang out with them in the garden.

It is no surprise that such a curious breed is also extremely active. They tend to spend a lot of time playing, and therefore need lots of toys. Unfortunately, if you don't provide things for her to play with, your cat may use your belongings to create her own toys.

Abys will scale any obstacle, from curtains to fences, in their quest to explore the territory. If you allow your cat to spend time outdoors, keep a close eye on her, as she will most likely be a bit of an escape artist.

This breed's personality means that it needs a lot of attention and affection from its owner. An Abyssinian is the wrong choice for anyone who spends a lot of time away from home.

If you aren't home a lot, you may want to consider adding another cat of an active breed to the household, as these kitties do enjoy playing and interacting with other cats.

Abyssinians are very intelligent, and can quickly and easily learn a few simple commands. Don't be surprised if your cat learns to come when she is called and picks up some tricks like fetching a toy.

Although most Abyssinians aren't chow hounds like some other cat breeds, you may still want to be sure your cat doesn't overeat. If she starts to become too fat, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about feeding her a weight management cat food, instead.

Urinary tract infections are not as common in this breed as they are in some other breeds. Still, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about feeding a diet that helps prevent infections, especially if you have an altered male cat.

One common health problem this breed does often have is an inherited eye disease called retinal atrophy. This is very unusual in cat breeds, although it is fairly common in many dog breeds.

With its short sleek coat, the Abyssinian needs very little grooming. However, like most cats, they often enjoy receiving the extra attention.

If you want a breed that is as affectionate and devoted as any dog, then this the perfect choice for you. If you'd like a longhaired version of this breed, then check out the Somali.

On the other hand, an Abyssinian/Siamese queen and a Siamese chocolate point were used to start the Ocicat breed (and they look nothing like Abyssinians).

If you'd like to rescue one of these Abyssinian beauties, consider adopting through a rescue group (check these pure breed cat rescues or

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