Abyssinian Attributes: Great for Families or Singles?

November 28, 2017
The Abyssinian cat is considered one of the oldest breeds of cats since they can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt. They are gorgeous animals with a sleek, muscular body, an arched neck, elegantly shaped eyes, and large ears. While some fanciers believe that the name “Abyssinian” is derived from the country of Abyssinia (now known as Ethiopia) which was said to be the breed’s place of origin, it is far more likely that the name, although derived from Abyssinia, does not point to the cat’s country of origin but simply to the country from which they were originally imported to Great Britain on the occasion of the frequently held cat exhibitions.

While this type of cat is not necessarily considered at lap cat, it does become quite attached to its chosen humans, and is fiercely loyal to them. Unlike their other feline counterparts, these cats are not happy if left alone for long periods of time, and so it would be best to consider adding this kind of cat to a family rather than to a singles’ household.  A lonely cat will become quite unhappy and soon begin to act out, such as soiling carpets or bedding in a desperate plea for attention. This type of cat likes to be treated as a member of the family, spoken to while listening attentively, and granted the leverage to slowly get to know new people.  This cat is not sociable towards strangers will quite often turn “invisible” by hiding under beds or behind large pieces of furniture when visitors come over.  Families will sometimes bemoan the fact that Abyssinian cats do not usually fall under the lap cat category, since especially children enjoy having a cat snuggle up with them.  The cat more than makes up for this by being inquisitive and always curious around its humans, and being a companion on equal footing rather than a cat put on a lap when convenient and otherwise put on the ground at an owner’s whim.

While obedience is not the strong suit of any cat, domesticated or not, the Abyssinian is markedly independent and strong willed – some might even call her pig headed!  An Abyssinian cat may spend hours attempting to open a door, box, or anything else she may have noticed as being able to open, and so long claw marks and scratched paint are quite often the results of these expeditions.  This is another good reason to not leave the cat alone all day.  She will find something with which to occupy her time, yet very rarely with the cat’s human companion approve of these activities. Scratching posts and climbing posts are a good diversion, as are a number of cat toys which will keep her distracted and entertained during the times she is left alone.  Additionally, it will be wise not to restrict her from certain rooms as such “forbidden fruit” will become a magnet of unending pull simply to explore that which is closed to her for the simple sake of exploring it. Once the door is finally opened to her, she will quite often lose interest since the challenge is now gone, and it is time for her to move on to bigger, better and newer challenges.

If you and your family are considering showing the cat in exhibitions and competitions, you will need to make sure to adequately prepare her for the onslaught of new experiences.  As mentioned previously, this breed does not do very well with strangers, and also due to their territorial nature, rarely tolerate other cats nearby.  If you take your cat who has become accustomed to you and your family, put her in a small box, take her for a drive in the car, and then suddenly put her in a cage in a room full of other cats and people, you will most likely have a very uncooperative and unhappy cat on your hands.  Be sure to speak to your local breeder for tips and tricks to prepare your pure bred feline for showings and an adoring audience. He or she will most likely be able to give you some step by step instructions on how to ease your little Abyssinian into the role of being a crowd pleaser

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