VCA All About Pets Animal Hospital



Basic Abyssinian Information

  • Lifespan: 12 - 15 years
  • Weight: 8 - 10 pounds

Medical Conditions Seen in Abyssinian

Abyssinian Traits

  • Lap Cat
  • Intelligence
  • Ease of Training
  • Grooming Requirements
  • Shedding
  • Good with Children
  • Good with Dogs
  • Chattiness

Abyssinian History

  • Hailed as one of the oldest known cat breeds, dating back to ancient Egypt 4,000 years ago.
  • Mummified cats in Egyptian tombs discovered by modern archeologists bear similar looks to today's Abyssinian.
  • In 1868, after Great Britain defeated Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in the Abyssinian War, a British soldier returned home with a kitten named Zula who is regarded as the grand dame of all modern Abyssinians.
  • The first Abys to reach North America arrived in the early 1900s, but did not begin to become popular until the 1930s.
  • Today, the Aby ranks among the top five most popular breeds as recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association.

Abyssinian Behavior Concerns

  • Athletic and attention-seeking, the Abyssinian loves to master tricks for people.
  • Studies the actions of people and learns.
  • Fast and agile, capable of soaring 6 feet in the air.
  • Enjoys perching on shoulders as well as tall shelves and other high places.
  • Game for playtime, preferring being active over roosting in a lap.
  • Highly curious, the Aby can use its paws to open cabinet doors and turn on light switches.
  • Loyal and affectionate, but demanding.
  • Easily bored. Needs interaction and home-alone toys.
  • Requires you to keep breakables out of paw's reach.
  • Needs suitable exercise outlets like floor-to-ceiling scratching posts and wand toys to stalk.
  • Welcome the company of friendly dogs.
  • Great student for clicker training.

Look of Abyssinians

  • Body is long, lean and muscular on fine-boned, long legs.
  • Wedge-shaped head, expressive almond-shaped eyes and oversized pointed ears and tabby "M" on the forehead.
  • Coat sports a ticked or agouti pattern highlighted by alternating bands of color on the hair shafts that give off a translucent quality.

Grooming Abyssinian Cats

  • Shorthaired coat is thick and dense.
  • Top four coat colors are ruddy, red, blue and fawn.
  • Requires once-a-week brushing.

Suggested Nutritional Needs for Abyssinians

  • Usually can be "free fed" cause they are so active and burn off excess calories.
  • Rarely have a tendency to become overweight.
  • Serve high-protein diet that contains fatty acids to keep coat shiny and healthy.

Fun Facts of Abyssinians

  • Nicknamed the "Runway models of the feline world."
  • Also called the "Clown of the Cat Kingdom."
  • A pair of Abys named Amber and Rumpler shared the role of Jake, the stranded alien cat in The Cat From Outer Space, the 1978 Disney movie. Actor Ronnie Schell did the voice of Jake.

Did you know?

  • A decrease in cat grooming behavior may indicate they are in pain.
  • Some cat parasites are transferable to humans.
  • Many common pet ailments may be detected early and prevented by visiting your veterinarian twice yearly - saving both time, money, and most importantly, ensuring the best quality of life for your cat.

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Ask the Vet

Have unanswered pet health questions? Dr.Donna Spector, with 10+ years of hands-on Internal Medicine experience, is here with your answers every Friday.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after our normal business hours, please call:

VCA Bay Area Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Hospital
Phone: 510-483-7387
14790 Washington Avenue, San Leandro, CA 94578