Abyssinian cats stand out because of their well-defined almond eyes and well-muscled bodies. They are playful, outgoing, and curious. These cats make good pets, but there is no guarantee that you won’t have allergy attacks if you are prone to allergies.
Are Abyssinian cats hypoallergenic?
No, Abyssinian cats are not hypoallergenic because no cat truly is. Research conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology shows that no cat is 100% hypoallergenic. Studies also show that regardless of cat breed, cat allergies will always be triggered to a certain extent. Cat allergies are caused by an allergen called the Fel d 1 protein that is present on the saliva, fur, and skin of all cats.
Abyssinian cats do not shed a lot because of their shorter fur. Though this can minimize their owners’ exposure to allergens, they still produce allergens and can trigger allergic reactions.
Abyssinian Cat: History, Physical Features and Personality
The Abyssinian cat breed was developed in Great Britain. Lord Robert Napier brought a cat to Britain in the 1860s after a military expedition in Abyssinia. This cat, Zulu, became the foundation of the breed. Her unique ticking coat pattern reminded people of a rabbit’s camouflage pattern. The cat was bred with other cats that had similar coats, which led to the creation of the Abyssinian breed.
The breed became popular and was soon bred all around Europe, Canada, and the USA. Due to its importation, the breed continued to increase despite being nearly decimated during the two world wars. During the 1960s, when the feline leukemia virus almost wiped out the breed in Britain, more Abyssinian cats were taken there to re-establish the breed.
The Abyssinian breed has a jungle-cat look with a long and streamlined body and graceful limbs. This medium-sized breed has nicely-developed muscles, a gentle dip in its triangular head, large ears, and almond eyes that look large for its face. These cats weigh 8 to 12 pounds and have a lifespan of 9 to 12 years.
Their coats are short with tufts of hair in the ears. The majority of the fur has bands of color with a darker color along the spine line. The color softens and lightens under the neck and the insides of the legs. The coat colors include ruddy, red, blue, fawn, and cinnamon.
Abyssinian cats are easygoing and love to be around people and other pets. They are active, loving, affectionate, and curious. They like to play with their toys for hours. They also like interactive playtime with their humans and have a soft and quiet voice. These cats like being combed and rubbed with a chamois cloth, and their coats are naturally easy to care for.
How to minimize allergen attacks
If you are allergic to cats but have always wanted an Abyssinian cat, these steps can help you minimize your allergy attacks:
- Vacuum your floor, carpets, sofas, chairs, and other furniture regularly to remove cat fur, dust, and allergens.
- Wash your clothes in hot water and use a coat cleaner to remove cat hair from sweaters and coats. Use antibacterial cloth washers to kill allergens in your clothes.
- Bathe your cat at least every four weeks to keep her fur clean and to lessen the buildup of allergens. Use a hypoallergenic cat shampoo. If your cat is not too keen on bathtime, try using cat wipes to wipe her fur regularly.
- Place a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air filter in your rooms along with a vapor steam cleaner. These help remove unwanted particles and allergy-causing bacteria from the air.
- Do not allow your cat to stay in your bedroom.
If you are allergic to cats but have always wanted to care for an Abyssinian cat, try to strengthen your immune system first. Visit your friends who have cats or attend cat shows so you will get used to being around them.
Abyssinian cats are active, playful, curious, and intelligent. They are not hypoallergenic since all cats produce the allergen Fel d 1 protein that causes allergic reactions. You can still care for, own, and enjoy having an Abyssinian cat around just as long as you take precautions like washing your hands after holding your cat, bathing her regularly, and vacuuming your home often.
Image: istockphoto.com / Ingus Kruklitis