Abyssinian Cat Breed Information

Learn all about Abyssinian Cats, read about the Abyssinian Breed information, find out about the Abyssinian Breed Standard, Abyssinian behavior and lots more about Abyssinians.

Abyssinian Cat Breed Introduction

Abyssinian Cat Picture

Distinctively fine-boned but lithe and muscular, Abyssinian cats resemble the regal cats depicted in ancient Egyptian statues.

Abyssinian Behavior/Personality

Source: Cat Fancier's Almanac by Norman Auspitz

Abyssinian cats are known to be quite active, not only in a playful way but sometimes rather restless. Some people say that these cats are particularly inclined to break things. Natural climbers, they are known to enjoy tall scratching posts.

Abyssinian Breed Standard/Physical Description

Here are some facts on the Abyssinian breed based on the Cat Fanciers Association's breed standard.

  • HEAD: rounded wedge-shape
  • MUZZLE: rounded
  • EARS: large and broad.
  • EYES: almond-shaped, big and shiny.
  • BODY: medium-long and muscular.
  • LEGS: slim and long
  • Paws: small and oval-shaped with five toes on the front paws and four toes on the rear paws
  • TAIL: long and tapered
  • COAT: soft, medium-long, fine and shiny

Abyssinian History

Source: Cat Fancier's Almanac by Norman Auspitz

While these cats resemble ancient Egyptian statues of revered felines, we don't actually know whether they are descended from Egyptian cats or just look that way.

The breed was first called "Abyssinian" towards the end of the nineteenth century. The cat might have been named "Abyssinian" for the war England was fighting in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) at the time. A lithograph printed at the time shows a cat that looks like today's Abyssinian breed, with a note that the cat was brought from Abyssinia at the end of the war.

Genetic research indicates the cats likely came from coastal regions of the Indian Ocean as well as Southeast Asia. There is speculation that the breed might have been brought to England from India during the colonial period.

The breed was crossed with several others in the early twentieth century, giving the breed its unique variations of markings and colorations.

In the early 1900s, some Abyssinians were brought to the US, but the breed did not make a big splash until the 1930s. The cats brought to the US from England in the 1930s formed the basis for the breeding program from which modern Abyssinian cats are descended.

Back To The Cat Breeds Index