By | 2009-07-13

Origin of the cat breed: Egypt

Cats Coat: Short hair with soft, silky and dense texture; comb daily

Color of cat: Ruddy (orange-brown), red and blue which is a soft blue-gray

The Abyssinian is a medium size cat with a wedge-shaped head. The eyes are large almond shaped with the ears large. The tail is long. The Abyssinian is believed to be a direct descendant of the Sacred Cat of Egypt. It has the gait of a panther and the appearance of a small moutain lion. The breed is very active and can be trained to retrieve and walk on a lead. They are extremely affectionate and demand attention from their owner. The hair is usually ticked with the ears tipped with a darker color (ruddy-ticked with brown or black; red-ticked with chocolate; blue-ticked with shades of slate blue. )

This cat breed is prone to: kidney disease


Cardiovascular conditions

Dilated cardiomyopathy

• Less common than in the past

• Genetic factors may influence susceptibility to disease

• Males predisposed

Dermatological conditions

Shaft disorder of Abyssinian cats

• Uncommon

• Probably inherited

Psychogenic alopecia

• Thought to be a result of anxiety


• See under Infectious conditions


• See under Infectious conditions

Drug reactions


• Anecdotal reports suggest a predisposition to side effects with this drug in this breed

Infectious conditions


• Very rare

• Seen in areas with sandy soil close to water

Endocrine conditions

Congenital hypothyroidism

• One report of congenital hypothyroidism in a family of Abyssinian cats due to a defect in iodine organification

• Autosomal recessive inheritance was suspected

Gastrointestinal conditions


• Breed predisposition

• May affect many body systems including the liver and kidneys

Haematological conditions

Increased osmotic fragility of erythrocytes

• Initial presentation in first few years of life

• Mode of inheritance unknown

Pyruvate kinase deficiency

• Inherited as an autosomal recessive trait

• Carriers are asymptomatic

• Causes severe anaemia


• Uncommon

Musculoskeletal conditions

Mysasthenia gravis

• See under Neurological conditions

Neurological conditions

Hyperaesthesia syndrome

• Breed predisposition

Myasthenia gravis

• Rare in cats

• Usually adult-onset

Ocular conditions

Progressive retinal atrophy: rod-cone retinal dysplasia

• Autosomal dominant inheritance

• Presents with retinal changes at 8-12 weeks and progresses rapidly

Progressive retinal atrophy: rod-cone retinal degeneration

• Autosomal recessive inheritance

• Clinical onset at 1.5-2 years, progressing to complete degeneration over 2-4 years

Physiological conditions

Blood group

• In the USA, 80% are group A and 20% group B

• Group B Abyssinians are rare in the UK

Renal and urinary conditions

Renal amyloidosis (usually as part of reactive systemic amyloidosis)

• Familial

• Age of clinical onset: <5 years

• In one report of 119 affected Abyssinian cats, 73 were female and 46 male

• Renal amyloid deposits are found principally in the medulla, but there may be variable (usually mild) glomerular involvement. Amyloid deposits may also be found in adrenal and thyroid glands, spleen, stomach, small intestine, heart, liver, pancreas and colon. These deposits often do not contribute to the clinical signs which are principally due to chronic renal failure.

Respiratory conditions

Nasopharyngeal polyps

• Usually diagnosed in young cats

• No sex predisposition