This is one of the oldest cat breeds in the world. There are various theories about how and where Abyssinians originated. According to one, a British soldier brought one back home from Egypt; according to another, they were sold by traders on the Indian Ocean; the name, in any case, comes from an old word for Ethiopia.
Abyssinians are born with dark coats that lighten over time, taking on their characteristic “ticked” pattern. These cats are highly intelligent and need activity and stimulation; they may even become depressed if their owners do not give them enough attention.
Should You Buy Pet Insurance for Your Abyssinian Cat?
Selective breeding has left Abyssinians susceptible to a number of infirmities:
- Feline Gingivitis: Some cats experience an inflammation of the gums that, if left untreated, can lead to the loss of teeth and decay of the roots, as well as inflammations of the tonsils and larynx. Symptoms include drooling and severe halitosis. Treatment (and prevention) involves deep cleaning, a special diet, and medication to clear up any underlying infections.
- Renal Amyloidosis: This condition occurs when a cat’s body makes an abnormal protein, amyloid, that builds up in the body. Amyloidosis is particularly serious when it affects organs like the kidneys, though the symptoms—such as anorexia, vomiting, and buildup of fluid in the abdomen—can be caused by any number of problems. Diagnosis depends on thorough urinalysis and blood work and may require an ultrasound or biopsy. The disease can frequently be managed with blood transfusions or with surgery to remove damaged parts of the kidneys.
Health problems like gingivitis and amyloidosis can be difficult to diagnose and expensive to treat.
They are, however, predictable in a breed like the Abyssinian, so it is the responsibility of owners to be prepared when issues arise.
One way to be sure that you will be there for your cat is to purchase pet health insurance so that there will be no financial surprises awaiting you and your feline friend.