Known for its love of heights, the Abyssinian cat is one of the oldest breeds in the world. In fact, the feline is still reminiscent of the African wildcat – the ancestor of all domestic cats. At a glance, the Abyssinian cat looks like the Ancient Egyptian cats recognized from sculptures and paintings of ancient Egyptians, appearing as an elegant feline with almond shaped eyes, large ears, gorgeous arched neck, and a muscular body. The name “Abyssinian” is based on the country from which they were first imported – Abyssinia (or Ethiopia). However, that is not their actual country of origin. According to modern genetic research, the cat is strongly believed to trace its roots to Southeast Asia or Northeastern India. If you are planning to get one (or already own it), here are five things you need to know about its personality.
1. Abyssinians love to climb, jump, and play
If you are planning to get an Abyssinian cat, you need to have the time and energy to engage him. This particular breed of cats are very active and tend to swing from curtains and jump onto high surfaces (at least 6 feet into the air!). As a result, it is ranked as one of the most playful cat breeds in the world.
2. They are affectionate with the family
Abyssinians love the company of the family, but they are not lap cats. That said, the felines are intelligent and affectionate and require lots of interaction. They also get along well with other cats and are naturally extroverted, always exploring and sharing their discoveries. They love toys and can be trained to play fetch. Although they are not as loud as the Siamese, they have their own voice and will not hesitate to make themselves heard.
3. They have a distinct coat pattern
The hair of an Abyssinian cat changes from light at the base to dark across 3 or 4 bands. Only two other cat breeds have this distinctive pattern: the Singapura and the Somali cat. The original reddish brown color at the base with black ticking is referred to as “usual” in Britain and “Ruddy” in the U.S. In this version, the cat’s feet are black, including the back side of its hind legs. There are other colors as well, such as the rarer “Fawn” with a light cream-tone base, the light beige “Blue” and the cinnamon or yellow brown “Sorrell”.
4. They are great with kids
Owning an Abyssinian cat can go a long way towards teaching your kids important skills such as responsibility, patience, and respect. They are tolerant of children and have a nonchalant attitude toward wild, screaming youngsters. The abys are inquisitive and can provide excellent companionship to your children. They are always busy and their athletic exploring can provide plenty of entertainment.
5. They are one of the smartest cats in the world
Measuring a cat’s intelligence can be hard. However, when it comes to learning, the Abyssinian cats are some of the best learners in the world. They are one of the few breeds that can learn to play fetch and love doing it. Being naturally curious, they will try and take anything that has your attention and start to investigate it. This has been the inspiration behind the nickname: aby-grabbys. Due to their love for attention and need for constant stimulation, it is ill-advised to adopt one if you are the type of person who is at school or work all day. The Abyssinian cat’s intelligence has actually been mentioned once in The Simpsons, when Lou claims to have seen one that could actually change channels.