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Abyssinian Cat: A Guide for New Owners

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Abyssinian Cat


Abyssinian cats, or Abys, look a lot like the cats in ancient Egyptian paintings. They have big eyes, pointy ears, and a slim body. Some people think Abyssinians are the ancestors of these old and respected cats, while others say they came from what is now Ethiopia and traveled with British soldiers to England, as the Abyssinian Cat Club says.

Abyssinian cats have a special kind of coat, called agouti. This means each hair has different colors on it: a dark band, a light band, and a dark tip. This makes their fur look smooth and speckled, or ticked.

How to Take Care of an Abyssinian: 

Abys are medium-sized cats who are 8–10 inches high and weigh 8–12 pounds. They are smart, friendly, and active. They need a lot of fun and exercise to be happy and healthy, but they are not hard to look after and do not need much brushing. This makes Abyssinians a great option for new cat owners.

Abyssinian Health Problems: 

Abyssinians can live for 9–13 years, but they may have some health issues, so you might want to get pet insurance.

Luckily, you can check for some common diseases in Abyssinians with a DNA test. If you buy your Abyssinian kitten from a good breeder, you can make sure they have a healthy start in life.

What is Amyloidosis? 

Amyloidosis is a problem that happens when too much protein gets stuck in the body’s tissues. This can make the organs stop working well, and cause things like liver failure and kidney disease.

Most cats do not get this problem. But Abyssinians and some other breeds, like Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese, Devon Rex, and Oriental Shorthairs, get it more often. Usually, it affects the kidneys.

Some signs of amyloidosis in cats are:

  • Being tired
  • Drinking and peeing more
  • Losing weight
  • Having a dull fur
  • Having a yellow color in the eyes, skin, or other parts
  • Being sad and weak
  • Throwing up
  • Having loose stools
  • Being thirsty
  • Having swelling under the skin, in the belly, or in the chest
  • Eating less or more

What is PK Deficiency? 

PK deficiency is a problem that happens when a cat does not have enough of an enzyme called pyruvate kinase. This enzyme helps red blood cells work well. Without it, the cat can get anemia and other problems with their blood. If you want to buy an Abyssinian kitten from a good breeder, ask them if they have tested their cats for PK deficiency.

Some signs of PK deficiency in cats are:

  • Being weak
  • Losing muscles
  • Having a yellow color in the skin or eyes (rare)
  • Having a pale color in the mouth or nose
  • Having a fast heartbeat
  • Not being able to do normal activities

What is PRA? 

PRA is a problem in the eyes that makes cats blind. It is passed down from their parents. Abyssinian cats can get a kind of PRA called photoreceptor dysplasia. This happens when some cells in their eyes do not grow well when they are kittens. Aby kittens with photoreceptor dysplasia usually go blind in a few months. There is no way to fix their eyes.

Blind kittens can still have good lives with more help from their owners. But it is important to ask your breeder if their cats have the gene for PRA. Cats with the gene for PRA should not have kittens.

What to Give Your Abyssinian to Eat: 

The best way to make sure your Aby gets all the nutrients they need is to feed them a cat food that meets the standards of the AAFCO.

The food should suit your cat’s age: 

  • kitten, adult, or senior.
  • Abyssinian kittens need “growth” or “all life stages” foods.
  • Adult cats can have “all life stages” or “adult maintenance” cat food.
  • Older cats may do better with foods that say “senior diets.”

How to Give Your Abyssinian Food: 

Abyssinians are very smart cats. You can keep their brains busy by using a puzzle feeder. Most cats like to have two (for adults) to three (for kittens) portions of food per day.

How Much Food to Give Your Abyssinian: 

How many calories your cat needs depends on how old, healthy, active, and big they are. The best way to find out how much to feed your Aby is to ask your vet. You can also look at the guide on your cat food bag or can for advice.

Some Food Tips for Abyssinians: 

A cat food that is complete and balanced will give your cat everything they need. If your cat gets sick or needs help with their joints when they get older, your vet may tell you to give them some extra things in their food.

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