Abyssinian Cat

Other names: Bunny cat

#11

Wamiz's Top Breed

Abyssinian Cat

Some people say these cats are the spitting image of the Felis Iybica, the ancient African ancestor of the modern domestic cat. Others say their face, large ears, almond-shaped eyes and the colour of their coat must have been the inspiration behind many paintings and other artwork from Ancient Egypt. Their genetics, however, indicate that they also had South-East Asian ancestors. Regardless, the Abyssinian is a breed as magnificent as it is ancient, whose characteristic colour and regal appearance are the perfect match for their endearing personality and abundant energy.

Key facts about the Abyssinian Cat

Life expectancy :

8

20

13

15

Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent

Type of coat :

Naked Short Long

Origins and history

Although this cat’s exact origins are unknown, mysterious even, we do know that the first Abyssinian reported in Europe was in the 1860s, after the Anglo-Abyssinian War. The country that would later become Ethiopia was called ‘Abyssinia’ at the time, and this new breed of cat was named in honour of its country of origin. English breeders worked to refine and standardise the breed’s appearance, coat and physiognomy, notably by making crosses with the British Shorthair and other short-haired cats. The breed was recognised in England at the end of the 19th century and some of its members were exported to North America in the early 20th century. In 1917, the Abyssinian was officially recognised by the Cat Fancier Association (CFA).

These cats weren’t very popular at first: there are few kittens per litter and they don’t live to be very old. Both World Wars also decimated the breed in Europe, with Abyssinians nearly disappearing completely. It is said that there were only 12 of them left in England after World War Two. Fortunately, the combined efforts of American and European breeders restored nobility to the Abyssinian, and it is now one of the most popular breeds.

Physical characteristics of the Abyssinian Cat

    Adult size

    Female : Approximately 12 in

    Male : Approximately 12 in

    Both males and females grow quite subtly, reaching their adult size around 6 months and reaching full maturity around 1 year.

    Weight

    Female : Between 7 and 9 lb

    Male : Between 9 and 11 lb

    Coat colour

    Brown
    Red
    Cream
    Blue

    Type of coat

    Short

    Eye colour

    Green
    Yellow
    Brown

    Description

    Abyssinians are average size and ‘foreign’ build, meaning they have a narrow overall structure. They are athletic, with well-defined muscles, but never heavy, with a build and posture that give the impression that they are constantly on the verge of jumping. These cats move with lightness and elegance, always appearing as though they’re on the tips of their toes. Their well-proportioned and proudly-held head, along with their long tapered tail further accentuate the suppleness and fluidity of these little house pumas. Their big, almond-shaped eyes, neither round nor narrow, are shiny and expressive. Their large cup-shaped ears, with a flared base, sit quite low on their head and when pointed forward, give them a very attentive look.

    Good to know

    The coat colour of each cat is completely unique, due to the variable distribution of pigments throughout their fur.

    Temperament

    • 100%

      Affectionate

      Even though they’re very lively, Bunny Cats are also very affectionate in general, enjoying the odd moment of tenderness with their humans. Some of them come asking for strokes non-stop!

    • 100%

      Playful

      These cats love heights and need to use up their energy by playing lots and often. They are fascinated by anything that moves and can sometimes seem inexhaustible.

    • 33%

      Calm

      Although certain individuals are the embodiment of calm, more often than not these kitties are full of life and sometimes even quite boisterous. Their physical aptitude has to be put to use somehow...

    • 100%

      Intelligent

      Due to their natural curiosity, these cats have a reputation for being quite the little tornadoes, wanting to be everywhere at once and to take an active role in the life of their adopter.

    • 66%

      Fearful / wary of strangers

      More prone to curiosity than wariness, these cats generally adapt well, but can sometimes take a little while to get there.

    • 66%

      Independent

      This breed is normally quite independent and capable of keeping itself amused. However, they enjoy the company of their humans just as much as their own.

      Behaviour of the Abyssinian Cat

      • 66%

        Chatty

        These cats are good little singers, with a diverse and melodious register, though their voice is on the quieter side.

      • 100%

        Need for exercise / Sporty

        These little feline athletes need to play and be active every day. They will surprise you with their agile prowess.

      • 66%

        Tendency to run away

        Bunny Cats can sometimes seek to keep exploring further and further to satisfy their curiosity, but they generally remain loyal to their humans.

      • 100%

        Greedy / Gluttony

        Given they spend so much energy, Bunny Cats are also extremely good eaters and can sometimes even try to take food straight off the table… Interactive bowls are advised for these crafty little things!

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        Compatibility

        • 66%

          Abyssinian Cat and cats

          These cats don’t need feline company, but will adapt to it if they are given time and the right introduction.

        • 100%

          Abyssinian Cat and dogs

          With a good introduction, Bunny Cats get on well with dogs and may even want to play with them. If they turn out not to be so compatible, high-up spots will allow these cats to easily find respite and tranquility.

        • 66%

          Abyssinian Cat and children

          Being so lively and active, Abyssinians in families with children, you must make sure that the children are respectful of the cat’s needs. Generally, they will be happy to play together. Just watch out for tomfoolery!

        • 33%

          Abyssinian Cat and the elderly

          Bunny Cats require a much higher level of physical activity, meaning they are not ideal for very tranquil people. Although they enjoy lots of stroking, they may get bored and resort to making up their own activities, earning themselves a reputation for being troublesome.

          Price

          The average purchase price of an Abyssinian is about £300, with price varying according to lineage, breeding reputation, age, sex, etc. For your monthly budget, you should allow around £25 per month to meet their needs, in providing a quality diet and ensuring they are kept in good health.

          Grooming

          These cats are very easy to maintain, requiring just a weekly brushing. You can also use a chamois cloth to make their coat even shinier.

          Shedding

          Shedding in this breed is minimal, particularly if they are brushed once a week and have a quality diet.

          Nutrition of the Abyssinian Cat

          Being so active, these cats sometimes have slightly higher caloric needs than other, calmer breeds. However, you must be careful not to overfeed them as if they get overweight this will quickly cause their physical abilities and general wellbeing to deteriorate.

          Health of the Abyssinian Cat

          Life expectancy

          The life expectancy of the Abyssinian is on average 13 to 15 years.

          Strong / robust

          Although these cats are short-haired, their undercoat gives them some moderate resistance to cold and heat.

          Tendency to put on weight

          Any extra weight will show up very quickly on the Abyssinian’s svelte little body, but if they stay active this shouldn’t be a problem you encounter.

          Common illnesses

          Although Bunny Cats can develop all the same conditions found in other domestic cats some day or another, certain genetic diseases are slightly more common:

          • Pyruvate kinase deficiency, which causes anaemia (genetic testing is available)
          • Progressive retinal atrophy, which causes blindness (genetic testing is available)
          • Amyloidosis, which leads to irreversible renal failure following the build-up of amyloid in the body (no genetic test exists yet, but the disease is retreating due to breeders’ cautiousness and vigilance)

          They are also somewhat susceptible to periodontal disease (gingivitis and tartar), so paying close attention to the dental care they need is recommended.

          On the whole, however, this breed generally has good health.

          Reproduction

          The number of kittens per litter is 3 on average, which is fewer than most other breeds of domestic cat. Kittens are born bicoloured, with the ticking of their fur not appearing until around 6 weeks. It takes a year to a year and a half for their final colour to settle.