Unlike some cat breeds, Abyssinians are a high-energy breed. Before you adopt or buy an Aby from a breeder, spend some time with an Aby first to see if it is the right breed for you.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 1 to 20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 16 to 25 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $1000+
  • Allergies: Severe
  • Shedding: Moderate
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

The economic downturn has resulted in Abyssinian cats, affectionately known as Abys, being surrendered to shelters or rescues. Older Abys may develop medical problems that their humans simply do not want to deal with or cannot afford to pay for veterinary expenses. In addition, an owner may fall ill or physically become incapable of caring for his Aby while others die without leaving provisions in their will for the care for their cat.


An independent breed, Abyssinian cats have an insatiable curiosity. They are active and always on patrol to see what is going on around them.


The Aby’s insatiable curiosity can also get him into trouble. Your cat can and likely will go anywhere and get into anything in your home. If you’re looking for a lap cat, you’ll probably want to opt for another breed. Abys typically are not lap cats and have a mind of their own, doing what they want when they want on their own terms.


Offer your Aby a high quality cat food, preferably one that doesnot contain gluten, soy, corn, or wheat. While some Abys may require more food due to their high metabolism, avoid leaving your cat’s food out all day. Instead, measure your Aby’s total daily food and split it into two meals. You may want to take the food away after 15 minutes or half an hour if anything is left in the bowl.

Treats should be giving sparingly. High quality baby food, containing strained meat, is a popular treat for many Abys. Other popular treats include chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon pouches, and freeze dried treats.


The Aby is a high-energy cat. If you have two cats, they’ll take care of the exercise themselves, running around and playing together. Be sure to allot playtime with your Aby each day, which will also provide an ideal opportunity to bond with your cat. Abys typically love to chase a laser and catch a ball or a toy that is tossed to them.

Possible Health Issues

The Aby is generally a healthy cat, but Abys may develop health issues as they age, which is common in all animals. They are also prone to dental problems. During teething, some cats develop stomach problems, which are misdiagnosed as gingivitis. Be sure you have a good cat-savvy veterinarian to care for your Abyssinian.


Unlike some cats, Abys typically adjust well to whatever type of litter they are given. Hardwood stove pellets and horse bedding are popular options because of their easy and smell-free absorption of urine, the latter of which can be found all year at stores such as Tractor Supply. If you use a hardwood stove pellet, make sure it doesn’t contain accelerants. You may also want to consider a clumping litter or a newspaper-based litter such as Yesterday’s News.

Abys like their litter boxes clean. Clean your Aby’s litter box by scooping out feces throughout the day and change the litter completely at least two times a week.


Your Aby won’t need much grooming. Use a damp washcloth or a rag to clean off any dirt or residue. Give him a bath once every three or four months, which will help cut down on dust and dander.


A highly trainable cat, Abys do best with positive reinforcement techniques, such as clicker training. Cats can be trained sit, stay, and come on command and, in some cases, how to walk on a leash. The key to successfully training an Aby is to make her think training is her idea.


Abys love to play. Throw a ball, and she’ll bring it back to you. Give her a ball and watch her toss it around, playing the cat version of soccer. Many Abyssinians, like other breeds, love playing with feathered toys attached to a pole. Cast the pole like a fishing net and watch your Aby jump and bat, trying to catch it.

We want to thank The National Abyssinian Cat Rescue (NAR) for help with this profile.

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