The friendly, playful Abyssinian is one of the oldest known cat breeds. However, these fascinating felines remain full of mystery and wonder. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Aby’, Abyssinians are a medium-sized short-haired breed that was developed in the UK. However, the Abyssinians’ popularity has since spread worldwide, and today, they are one of America’s most loved cat breeds.
Abyssinians are best known for their energetic, playful nature and distinctive wild looks. However, the following 11 facts about Abyssinian cats may just surprise you.
1. You can train your Abyssinian cat.
Abyssinians are an intelligent breed that can quickly learn tricks. You will also be able to clicker train your Aby to keep them off the kitchen counters. Plus, they can pick up on how to walk on a leash much faster than other breeds. However, what’s more impressive, is that many Abyssinian owners have trained their Abys to complete agility courses!
2. Abyssinians have a dog-like attachment to their owners.
One key factor that sets cats and dogs apart is that cats are much more independent and less reliant on humans. What’s more, certain cat breeds can actually get stressed when they are petted.
However, this is definitely not the case with the Abyssinian. They get just as attached to their owners as dogs do and need physical touch and regular attention from their human parents. However, while the loyalty of an Aby is a beautiful thing, it does mean that you cannot leave them alone for as long as other cats.
3. They will joke around with you.
Abyssinians are known for many things, one of which is the “Clowns of the Animal Kingdom”. They have picked up this nickname because of their clown-like behaviour. They will actually joke around with their owners by acting goofy and pulling off stunts. For example, they might meow to get your attention, then leap over your head to make you laugh and receive extra attention!
4. They can jump super high.
Yes, most cats are great at jumping onto high platforms, but Abyssinians absolutely adore conquering new heights. Their playfulness combined with their curiosity means that they will figure out a way to get up onto the highest shelf in the house and atop every door.
They also love to be up high because it makes them feel safer and more in control. Your Aby will seek out a high spot so they can observe what’s happening in the environment and watch over their much-loved owner, too!
5. Their history is largely unknown.
There is no clear evidence of where Abyssinians first originated from. If you start to research their history, you will come across different theories. We know that the breed was refined in England, but how they got here remains unclear. A familiar story is that a British Soldier brought the first Abyssinian back with him after he returned from the war in what is now known as Ethiopia.
However, there is also some anecdotal evidence that the breed originated in India. Here, they were believed to live along the coast of the Indian Ocean. What’s more, because this cat breed looks so similar to the cat’s found in ancient paintings and sculptures throughout Egypt, there is a possibility that they originated there.
6. They are thought to be a mix of other breeds.
Another interesting part of the Abyssinians history is that they are believed to be a hybrid of several other breeds. The most common thought is that they are mixed between Siamese, Burmese, and Russian Blue cats.
7. Abyssinians were nearly wiped out during World War Two.
Abyssinians almost became extinct during World War Two. Sadly, when Germany bombed London, most Abyssinians died in the blasts or were abandoned by their fleeing owners. It is believed that by the end of the war, only twelve Abyssinian cats were still alive in Britain.
Thankfully though, there were some imported Abyssinians in America. Together with the owners of the remaining Abys in England, they helped rebuild this intelligent cat breed.
8. There are 7 colour variations of Abyssinians.
There are 6 primary colours that Abyssinians can come in. The most common is referred to as ‘usual’ and is a ruddy/ tawny colour. The other shades are blue, fawn, lilac, chocolate, and cinnamon. Then, there is the seventh colour which is silver. However, silver Abyssinians are a separate cat breed in their own right. With these cats, the white colouration of their skin blends into the fur closest to the skin, developing a white base coat.
9. It’s essential to brush an Abyssinian’s teeth.
Certain cat breeds are prone to the gum disease Gingivitis, and Abyssinian are one of them. Gingivitis is not a life-threatening disease, but if left untreated, it can lead to severe pain and tooth loss, among other symptoms. Luckily, it’s easy to prevent your Aby from getting Gingivitis by brushing their teeth regularly. Daily brushing is best, but once a week is sufficient.
10. They love company from both two-legged and four-legged companions.
Abyssinians make one of the best family cats because of their love for humans of all ages, including children. Moreover, they usually get on well with dogs and other cats. Unlike some cat breeds, Aby’s don’t feel timid when many people are around. In fact, they like busy, high-energy environments because that matches their energy levels.
11. Their ticked coats contain an array of colours.
You have probably heard that Abyssinians have a ticked coat, but you may be unsure what that means. A ticked tabby pattern does not contain the traditional stripes or spots on the body. Instead, they have agouti hairs that contain different colours. If you look up close, you will see that the hairs are striped with alternating light and dark bands. This unique style gives a stunning sheen to their fur.
So, how many of these 11 facts about the Abyssinian cat did you already know? Aby’s are among the most alluring types of cats, so it’s no surprise that they are an exclusive pedigree breed. With their intelligence, playful personality, and utmost devotion, Abyssinians make excellent feline companions.