Abyssinian Cat Breeds: Everything You Need to Know

Abyssinian cat breeds featured cats

Abyssinian cat breeds are the stuff that ancient legends are made out of.

One of my favourite things to write about is cats. They come in all shapes and sizes, big and fluffy, small and sleek, long and slender or short and cute-sized. So, today will be about Abyssinian cat breeds, their origin, appearance, and characteristics.

Abyssinian cat breeds


Resembling the African wildcat (aka the ancestor of all domestic cats, the Abyssinian cat has a set place in our hearts. The history of the Abyssinian cat in the UK is a little obscure, but it is likely that it was brought back via army personnel from Abyssinia (now Ethiopia), in the 1860s. Other sources claim that the Abyssinian cat breeds originated from ancient Egypt.

Furthermore, early Abyssinian cats were often crossed with British Shorthairs or oriental breeds to create new breeds. Long-haired Abyssinian kittens have been found in litters for many years, and since the 1970s they have been developed as a separate breed called the Somali.


The Abyssinian is a slender, fine-boned, medium-sized cat. The head is moderately wedge-shaped, with a slight break at the muzzle, and nose and chin ideally forming a straight vertical line when viewed in profile. Their alert large pointed ears are super cute. The eyes are almond shaped and are gold, green, hazel or copper depending on coat colour.

They tend to have long legs in contrast to their graceful bodies. Small oval paws and a long and tapering tail are more characteristics.

Abyssinian cat breeds

Coat colours

Abyssinian cat breeds coat colours
(credit: Pagolmon)

Abyssinian kittens are born with dark coats that gradually lighten as they mature, usually over several months.

An adults coat isn’t short but is fine, dense and close-lying, silky to the touch. They are extremely fun to cuddle with!

The ticked or agouti effect that is the trademark of the Abyssinian cat breeds is usually uniform. The back of their hind legs, the ridge of the spine, tail, as well as their paws, are usually darker.

Each hair has a light base with three or four bands of additional colour growing darker towards the tip. Additionally, a little M-shaped mark can be found on their foreheads sometimes.

The original colour of Abyssinian cat breeds is a warm deep reddish-brown base with black ticking, known as “usual” in the United Kingdom and as “ruddy” elsewhere. Another colour would be Sorrel (also called cinnamon or red), a lighter coppery base with chocolate brown ticking, is a unique mutation of this original pattern.

Furthermore, other variants have been introduced by outcrossing to the Burmese and other shorthaired breeds, notably blue (on a warm beige base) and fawn (on a softer creamy peach base). Two other colours (chocolate and lilac) are not recognized in the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) breed standard, but they are definitely recognized by our hearts. Though they have been granted full champion status in The International Cat Association (TICA)[5] and in the UK.

Last but not least is the Silver Abyssinian. Their base coat is a pure silvery white with black (called “usual silver“), blue, cream or sorrel ticking. Many more colour combinations are coming up including the “torbie“, in which a patched tortoiseshell pattern in any of these colours is visible under the tabby banding.


Abyssinian cat breeds

First of all, they are loyal and affectionate cats. They are pretty smart as well, which means you and your kids can easily teach them some tricks. Additionally, this is rewarding for your child as they see their hard work paying off.

Abyssinians are a popular breed thanks in large part to their unusual intelligence and generally extroverted, playful, willful personalities. Please beware that they may become depressed without constant activity and the attention from you.

With their interest in playing with their owners combined with their curious intelligence, Abyssinians are called the clowns of the cat kingdom. They are active, outgoing nature, yet tend to be quiet cats. Furthermore, they sound quite different too! They have soft chirrup-like vocalizations instead of the typical meows. Abyssinians love to be shown off, as they love attention. They are affectionate and friendly toward people.

Abyssinian cat breed cute cats
Two cute cats

Abyssinian cat breeds


An Abyssinian cat’s coat is easy to care for. They both really enjoy brushing or combing. please remember that like with all cats, this breed needs regular vaccinations, parasite control and annual health checks.

Abyssinian cat breeds


It is important to remember that every cat is unique and each has their own particular likes, dislikes, and needs when it comes to food. However, cats are carnivores and every cat must obtain a certain number of different and specific nutrients (41 to be exact) from their food. These nutrients need to be given in the right amount as well as at the right time. A growing kitten will need more of certain nutrients than an adorable retired cat.

A cats’ health also plays an important role in this. Also, even though we love cats in all shapes and sizes, you should make sure to stick to an ideal body condition. This ensures that your cat isn’t under- or overweight. Please remember to regularly feed your cat a balanced diet of dry and wet food, for optimum health and to consult a vet about your cats’ ideal diet.


So, this article talks about many aspects of the Abyssinian cat breeds. I hope learning a bit more about them has helped you and maybe you will be adding a new little one to your family sometime. Please always remember to adopt before shopping, as many animals living on the streets or in animal shelters consistently look forward to finding their forever families. I got both of my precious little ones from the street and have not regretted it once. Read this if you would like to know more about long-haired cat breeds. Read you next time!

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