Your Ultimate Guide to the Abyssinian Cat


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The Abyssinian cat is an absolutely gorgeous creature with its large, velvety ears and ticked tabby coats… So much so that we couldn’t resist making this Abyssinian cat NZ FAQ. Step right up and get your Abys fix here.

If you think these felines look like something depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics, you’re onto something. Abyssinians are an ancient cat and were kept as a pet by ancient Egyptians (and Egyptians now, we’re sure!). They were also worshipped, and mummified Abys appearing similar to the modern breed’s standards have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs.

These creatures were named after Abyssinia (now called Ethiopia), where they originated. They’re known as incredibly loving, loyal cats, to the point where they’re sometimes described as clingy! But that’s just another reason to love the Abys even more. We’ve rounded up some of the most asked questions in New Zealand about the Abyssinian cat.

Let’s pounce right in.

The sarcophagus of Prince Thutmose’s cat, exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts of Valenciennes, France

Are Abyssinian cats hypoallergenic?

Many people are allergic to cats, specifically a protein called Fel d 1 present in their their saliva. When cats groom and lick themselves, the protein is left on their fur when their saliva dries. You’ve only to experience the hives, sneezing, and swollen or itchy eyes to know being allergic to cats is no fun. It’s estimated that globally up to 10-20% of adults are allergic to cats.

No cat is hypoallergenic, but some cats have less protein Fel d 1  present in their saliva, and may be less allergy inducing than others. And, it just so happens that the Abys is one of those cats (find out about others in our hypoallergenic cats article).

Research proves that grooming your Abys two to three times per week can also help, removing close to 84% of current allergens and reducing future allergies as well. 

Small kitten cat of the Abyssinian breed lies, sleeps sweetly on soft blanket on bed. Funny fur fluffy kitty at home. Cute pretty brown red pet pussycat with big ears.

If I get an Abyssinian cat will it be aggressive?

Abys generally aren’t aggressive. However, they can be territorial and since they’re so loyal to their owners they tend to be protective over one human more than others.

Abys that do show aggression sometimes do so from loneliness. For instance, their owner is away on a business trip or vacation and the cat is left alone with strangers.

Other causes of aggression are usually due to provocation like a loud noise, another cat, stress from moving, illness or pain.

Will it be cuddly?

That’s a yes, yes and yes! There’s a reason we’ve included the Abys in our list of friendliest cat breeds – because they really are incredibly cuddly and lovable. The Abys is said to have ‘dog-like’ characteristics as it’s the type of cat that will run to the door to greet you when you get home and purr around you for a scratch.

However, do not expect the Abys to sit on your lap all day while you caress it. Abys are very energetic and are always up and doing something. They’re playful and lively and won’t suit you if what you’re looking for is a docile cat to pet.

Cats come with so many temperaments; just check out these different cat breeds and their personalities.

Psst … ever thought your personality matches the Abys? Well, now you can find out with our PET PAWSONALITY test! Find out what cat (or dog) breed you are at heart and share it with your friends – click here:

Do Abyssinian cats like water?

Yes! Abys are one of those rare cats that love water. They love to splash in their water bowls or paw the water if you leave the tap running.

Puddles, fountains or the bathtub are all great splashing spots for the Abys. They also enjoy swimming in large bodies of calm water and have even been known to play fetch. Just check out this spunky little Abys enjoying the water:

Do they shed?

Abys have a short, thick coat and do shed. They don’t shed as much as long-haired cats, and brushing them once a week will help control excess hair on your furniture or bed.

Hair fall may be slightly more during shedding season, so you may want to brush them more regularly during that time. All in all the Abys is a low maintenance cat and doesn’t have excessive grooming needs.

If you’re looking for an absolutely hairless breed, though, here are some hairless cat breeds you’ll want to check out.

What colour are Abyssinian cats in NZ?

Abyssinians have what’s called a ‘ticked’ coat. This means each individual hair can have multiple bands of colour. Abyssinians like the one below are called ‘Usual’ or ‘Ruddy and have white, red-brown and dark brown coats. They can also have sorrel, blue or fawn coats.

Silver Abyssinians are a separate group and colouring includes black silver, blue silver, fawn silver and sorrel silver. Rare Abys may be tortoiseshell, red, cream, chocolate and lilac.

What is a long-haired Abyssinian cat called?

The Somali is a long-haired Abys. It’s unknown how the longhaired gene ended up in the Abyssinian gene pool, but Somalis were bred when some Abys cat litters occasionally threw out a longhaired cat.

Like the Abys, they love to jump and play. They’re social, love humans, and are very active. They’re basically an Abys, but with long hair!

PS: Before you leave, check out this fun piece on three ‘ugly’ cat breeds that make cute pets!

Insurance for your Abyssinian cat in NZ

A curious cat like the Abys needs cat insurance to cover their playful kabooses. PD Insurance offers low cost, value rich cover so you can be the best pet parent you can be.

Check out our three affordable pet insurance plans to keep them covered. So even if your Abys does get themselves in a bind, your pet plan will be there to help out.

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