Are Abyssinian Cat aggressive image

Are Abyssinian Cats Aggressive?

There are seemingly endless factors that can contribute to the temperament of a cat, among which are breed types.

In this article, we’re going to answer the question, “Are Abyssinian cats aggressive?” It’s a great question and is an important one to ask if you’re in the market and have small children. So, Are Abyssinian cats aggressive?

The Abyssinian cats can be territorial and will favor some people over others, but that’s not aggression. Some would argue that the opposite is true- that they’re gentle or friendly. Any breed of cat can have bad apples that shouldn’t tarnish the whole breed.

Let’s take a moment to get to know this breed a little.

What is an Abyssinian Cat?

 Abyssinian Cat

An Abyssinian cat (or otherwise called an Aby) is a short to a medium-length coated cat that can come in five different colors with a ticking pattern: Fawn, Red, Ruddy, Cinnamon, and Blue.

Each hair has individual sections of a different color, giving the Aby’s coat a unique and rich appearance.

Males and females can grow to be the same size weighing in at about 8-12 pounds, and their average life expectancy can range between 9-13 years. It’s generally recognized as a medium-sized cat with large ears and big green or gold eyes.

Brief History of the Abyssinian Cat

 Abyssinian Cat close up photo

It all started in the 1860s when a cat named Zulu was brought by its owner back to Britain, returning from a military excursion into Abyssinia.

The popularity of the cat’s appearance launched a breeding program into effect, reaping the Abyssinian cat we see today.

Throughout the 20th century, this breed was almost wiped out a couple of times. First, as a casualty of the grievances of World War 2, then later, they fell prey to the feline leukemia virus that spread across the U.K.

To counter the damage done by the virus, Abyssinians were brought over from around the world to aid in the repopulation of the breed.

Now that we know some basics behind the breed’s history, as well as an idea of what it looks like, let’s talk about the cat’s nature.

Are Abyssinian Cats Aggressive Toward Children?

 grumpy Abyssinian Cat close up photo

The answer to this question is generally no. Aby’s are not any more aggressive toward kids than they would be toward anyone else.  Nor are they any more than other breeds.

Kids Can Be Cruel

Cats as a whole share one problem with kids, and that problem is the kids themselves.

Pulling tails, poking, prodding, being too rough, etc., can make any cat aggravated enough to go into a fight or flight mode. Flight will be the most common option, but not a guarantee.

Kids can get scratched and not understand why, depending on how young they are. Any small child needs to be educated by parents about how cats operate and how to treat them. This principle is true, be it a Himalayan, Maine Coon, Abyssinian, or any breed.

Abyssinians return being respected with love and affection. The sooner a child understands this, the better.

Kittens Play with Claws and Teeth

 Abyssinian Cat pawing

Abyssinians are energetic and love to play. While older cats will know what’s appropriate or not, kittens usually don’t have a clue.

This is particularly true if a kitten is removed from its mother and siblings too soon.

When a kitten is removed from its siblings too soon, it hasn’t learned what it feels like to be bitten, nor has it received the warning signs from its siblings when it bites them too hard.

They learn these things from each other till eventually, they understand how to bite without hurting, and how to be gentler with the claws till they need them.

2 Abyssinian Cats fighting on the lawn

Play sessions between kittens is a learning experience at many levels, and breeders should not be cutting kittens loose until they’ve learned these types of things.

Sometimes, a kitten is introduced into a family with small children, and the child might not understand what kitten play is. Or, they may not understand what provokes a kitten to get into play mode.

Educating your children about how to treat cats and kittens will help to foster a healthy relationship between them.

Yes, everything that I just presented applies to all cats and kittens. But Abyssinians are particularly playful, and some training and limitations will need to be introduced to both kids and cats.

Abyssinian Temperament

 Abyssinian Cat photographed on white background

They are energetic, loving, and playful, and will spend ample time playing around with their toys. They enjoy jumping, climbing, and some even like to hang from things.

A high set cat perch or cat condo will work wonders to fulfill their desire to do what’s natural to them. Yes, the extras can cost a few bucks, but it will save you some trouble and perhaps stave off curtain rod repair.

This breed can be both sociable and dependent, and makes for a great house cat for larger homes, but does enjoy its space. An apartment would be an extremely small world for this breed.

Health Risks

 Abyssinian Cat lying on its back

With every breed of cat or dog, there comes a set of health risks that are typical to certain breeds. The Aby is no exception. Here are two:

  • Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency– A disease that can cause anemia.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy- A condition that leads to blindness over time.

Those are the two most common hereditary weaknesses that are typical to the Aby. There’s a laundry list of problems that can occur if the cat isn’t receiving the proper nutrition and care.

But the same is true for any cat. Making sure that your pet’s dietary needs are met is a sure way not only to keep the cat happy but will promote a good, long, healthy life.


anxious Abyssinian Cat on white background

So, what is it?

What’s the reason why people get apprehensive over the Abyssinian breed?

Maybe it’s the regal, no-nonsense, and uniform coat of fur they sport similar to wild African cats.

Or it could be the serious and focused face that makes people think they could be aggressive. I suppose that a forward and playful cat might give someone a sense of aggressive behavior.

If it’s any or all of the reasons above, one thing rings true…

The Abyssinian cat is getting a bad rap by anyone apprehensive. They are a family-friendly, pet-friendly, and stranger friendly breed that will love its owners for years to come.

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