In looks, the ‘Aby’ (as it is affectionately known in the cat world) is similar to drawings of Ancient Egyptian cats and there are some who believe it originated in the Nile Valley, however there continues to be speculation and controversy concerning its history. There is no doubt, however, that it is one of the oldest short-haired breeds. The name is not because the breed originated in Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia, but because the first Abyssinian exhibited at a cat show in England was imported from that country.


Abyssinians appear both lithe and sleek, with the latter feature empahsised by their glossy coats. They have an unusual ticked fur, in which each hair has two or more dark bands. The standard Aby shade, called Ruddy or Tawny, is a warm brown ticked with black. Another very popular colouring is sorrel, which is a copper red with red-brown ticking. Rarer colours include blue, beige-fawn and silver.

Medium-sized and well muscled, Abys have large, somewhat pointed ears and big brilliant almond-shaped eyes in amber, green, or yellow, rimmed in black or brown.


Abys make ideal companions. They are busy cats, alert and active, with voices that are quiet and ‘bell-like’. Independent, easy to settle and exceptionally intelligent, they are definitely a cat that likes to be with people. Once you have obtained an Aby as a companion you will never be alone. Abys are excellent at training people to do just what they want them to do!


Due to their short hair, Abys require very minimal coating.

Health Concerns

For the latest research in breed-related problems in the Abyssinians, visit the University of Sydney’s LIDA (Listing of Inherited Disorders in Animals) website.  

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