Abyssinian VS Somali Cat- A Complete Profile

Sometimes, we stick to making a decision between two different and equally valuable and beautiful things. Somali and Abyssinian are among those two things that make it difficult to choose anyone.

Here we will solve this problem and make it easy to make a decision and choose anyone from them. In this article, we will look at the personality, appearance, and maintenance requirements that will help you choose the best breed for you.

Before starting, let’s take a look at the origin and history of both cat breeds.

History and Origin

Abyssinian Cat Breed:

Unfortunately, the origin of the Abyssinian cat breed is still unclear. There is not any documentation that proves the origin of this breed. Some theories suggest that this cat resembles an ancient cat breed in Egypt.

It is believed that this breed was originated somewhere near coastal regions of the Indian Ocean. Many zoologists believe and support this theory.

However, this breed has gained immense popularity since first imported to America in the 20th century.

Somali Cat Breed:

The similarities between both breeds make it harder to choose anyone from the Somali or Abyssinian cat breed.

The significant difference between Abyssinians and Somalis is the fur. The Somali cat breed is long-haired. It could be because of the expression of the recessive long-haired gene in the Abyssinian cat breed.

Somalia’s breed name is derived from Somalia, a neighbor country of Ethiopia or Abyssinia. It also determines the linkage between the Abyssinian and Somali cat breeds.

The appearance of Somali and Abyssinian Breeds

Abyssinian and Somali cat breed share many physical attributes, as we mentioned earlier, the reason for their similarities.

  • Size and weight

Abyssinian females have an average weight of about six to eight pounds. The Abyssinian males weigh about eight to ten pounds. On the other hand, the Somali cat has an average weight of seven to ten pounds. Somali cat breed has more weight than the Abyssinian breed because of their long-haired fur.

  • Coat

The coats of the Somali and Abyssinian cats are soft, fleshy, and thin. Their fur is easy to clean because they do not have any woolen texture.

Somali cat breed has long hairs that are rump. Their tails are also fluffy due to hairs.

On the other hand, the Abyssinian cat breed has short hair and a thin tail.

  • Coat Color

Standard colors found in these breeds include blue, fawn, cinnamon, red, and ruddy. Lilac and cream colors are also found in new breeds.

The gene for silver color expression is also present in these breeds, giving a silver shade to their pale-colored coat.

  • Eyes

The eyes of the Somali and Abyssinian cat breeds are similar. Both breeds have almond shape eyes encircled with a band of fur. Small and thick streaks are also present vertically above the eye.

  • Ears

Their ears are larger,  pointed than other cats, and lower on their crown. The shape of their head is a rounded triangle with prominent facial features.

Temperament and Personality

Temperament of Somali Cat Breed

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Somalis are very keen observers and are famous among cat owners due to their smartness and intelligence. Having a Somali cat breed at home will monopolize your life. If you are not an active and lively guy, you should not go for the Somali cat breed because it is not a quiet and innocent cat like the Birman and Ragdoll cat breed. You cannot expect Somalis to sit in your lap and be quiet or inactive. This cat breed always wants to seek your attention and wants to be the center of attraction of your family.

You can train your cat to play with you, and when they learn to play, they will never let you go without playing with them. This cat breed is brilliant and active, so it needs more time for exercise. If the exercise requirements are not met, the cat will feel unhappy, and its mood will be affected. That is why exercise is an important key to keep your cat happy and active. You can also make a timetable to arrange and plan playing sessions for your cat according to your routine.

The Somali cat is intelligent and active enough to make a toy from anything else, whether it is a piece of paper or a ball. Your cat knows how to use anything as a toy. They can also learn to open doors or kitchen cabinets and turn on a faucet.

These are good for families with toddlers and infants. But they enjoy playing with kids who are energetic and playing partners.

They are friendly cats and do not behave awkwardly on seeing strangers. The Somali cats are very loving and affectionate and welcome the strangers at home. They also love to play with other pets. These pets could be other cats, including Abyssinian or Siamese. Playing with cat-friendly dogs is also their favorite activity.

So, reading about their temperament may help you to decide if they are the suitable breed for you or not. If you are looking for a lap furball, you are not picking up the right cat breed.

The temperament of Abyssinians

Abyssinians are similar to Somalis in their behavior. The significant feature of their behavior is the curiosity to know about things. This characteristic makes them great explorers, so Abyssinians are found to reach every corner of the house; regardless of whether they have access to go there or not, they will manage to go there.

Abyssinians have more social abilities, and likewise Somalis,  Abyssinians also enjoy quality time with their owner. They are active throughout the day and cannot play a role of a docile cat. If you are a lazy, inactive, or busy person, you must go for another breed because this cat breed will not stay peaceful or inactive. This cat breed will also not spend time in your lap.

These are great observers too. They will observe and follow your every movement. As discussed above, Abyssinians are very smart and have the talent to make you play with them even if you do not want to. So, if you are going to choose Abyssinians as your pet, you will have to do what they want.

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As they are explorers and good observers, they will find their toy wherever you have hidden it, you can play other games like hide and seek with them, and they will never refuse to play with you. They are so playful all the time that they can cheer themselves with just bottle cap or tissue paper. They enjoy your company and will express their feeling of kindness and love in a different way instead of a customary meow.

They are also friendly and well-mannered cats. Their temperament is very gentle and kind, so; you can keep it not only as a pet but also as a playing partner for your kid.

Keeping Requirements for Abyssinians

Abyssinians love to spend their time in high places. That is why they love to climb up the kitchen shelves. Multi-level scratching posts will be required if you are going to keep them as your companion. Multi-level apartments for your cats will also give them a chance to spend their time at their favorite height.

Abyssinians love to spend their time in windows, and it gives them a lovely sight and opportunity to watch birds and activities of the outsiders. Abyssinians are playful cats; you should keep a variety of simple toys to make them spend their time playing with the toys.

Keeping Requirements for Somalis

The Somalis are renowned as vertical cats because if you do not provide them their desired height, they will manage to climb up the highest point in your home. It can be a cupboard, Kitchen Shelves, or refrigerator. She can manage to reach up to the highest point of your house.

This could be an incredible cat with a different social temperament. This cat breed cannot live alone without any playing partners or toys. It needs something all the time to keep itself busy.

Grooming of Abyssinians

Abyssinians are not heavy shedders. So, you do not have to brush her regularly. Brushing once a week is sufficient. However, they enjoy a soft rubbing or pat on their back; doing this will also strengthen your bond with your companion.

If you feel that your cat’s fur is getting dirty or greasy, you can bathe them with lukewarm water and wash their coat with pet shampoo. If trimming is required, trim their hair and nails after bathing.

For cleaning their eyes, use a wet wipe and clean the corners of the eyes gently. Do not use the same wipe for both the eyes to avoid infection and eye diseases.

Grooming of Somalis

Grooming Somalis is a bit difficult task because it requires a lot of brushing. They shed hair regularly, so some people prefer Abyssinians over Somali.

They need brushing about three to four times a week, but you will have to brush them regularly when the shedding season arrives.

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As they are furry, so they need more bathing sessions than Abyssinians. You will need to bathe them at least twice a month to keep them happy.

The other disadvantage of having Somalis as your companions is their furry tail that gets dirty whenever your Somali uses a litter box. So, cleaning its furry tail is annoying for many cat owners.

You can use the same process to clean the eyes of Somalis as mentioned above for Abyssinians.

Training of Abyssinians and Somalis

Training your pet is the most time-consuming and hardworking task and requires patience. Some cat breeds are trained easily as compared to others. Fortunately, Abyssinians and Somali cat breeds are among those breeds that are not hard to train.

These are intelligent cat breeds and can learn tricks very quickly. Their observation makes it easier for them. They will learn and follow your actions that are a plus point in their training. Training these cat breeds is not boring and requires relatively less time to train them.

Exercise for Somali and Abyssinian Cat Breeds

Exercise not only keeps your pet active and healthy but also relieves their hyperactivity and stress. Many people think that pets do not need exercise, but it is a wrong conception. They also need exercise as it increases the healthy life span of your pets.

When we talk about cats, especially Abyssinians and Somali, they can quickly gain weight. Playing with them not only entertains them but is an excellent exercise for them. These cats are natural packs of energy and curiosity that do not let them stay quiet and inactive. Their curiosity always motivates them to look for something different and exciting. Their quest to look for exciting things keeps them on the move all day.

You can schedule playing sessions for your cat if you are more conscious about their health. You can play retrieving games with your pet, or you can also play hide and seek. For kittens, eight to ten sessions will be enough in a day, but for adult Abyssinians and Somalis, three to five sessions are sufficient. Each session could take ten to fifteen minutes. Make sure to let them rest for some time before starting a new session.

Health issues of Abyssinians and Somali Cat Breeds

Abyssinians and Somali cats are healthy cats; hence they are a common choice of cat owners. But here are some hereditary issues which are as follows:

  • Gum Diseases

Many people consider that brushing the teeth of their pet cat is not as important as brushing and grooming their coat is. But this doesn’t seem right. Brushing teeth is even more important because it can cause mouth and gum infections that lead to further health issues.

Brushing their teeth should be done regularly, but if you are a busy person and do not have enough time to brush their teeth, then brushing teeth once or twice is necessary to avoid gum diseases and infections.

  • FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis)
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This is a viral disease, and Abyssinians are more susceptible to getting this disease. This viral disease affects the fluid build-up in the chest or abdomen of the cat and blood vessels. However, testing is available to detect if the cat is suffering from Feline Infectious Peritonitis or not.

  • Pyruvate Kinase Enzyme Deficiency

Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency is agenetic disease. In this disease, the enzyme present in RBCs, Pyruvate kinase, decreases and leads to a short time span of RBCs that causes anemia. Fortunately, this occurs gradually and can be cured.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease and affects the eyes of the Abyssinians and Somalis. It can waste the complete or specific portion of the eyes. It may cause blindness in some cats by deteriorating the photoreceptor cells of the eyes.

  • Familial Amyloidosis

Familial Amyloidosis is a hereditary disease present in Abyssinians. It targets the kidney. Unluckily, there is not any effective medication for this disease, so this is a fatal disease. In this disease, protein builds up in the body tissues, disturbing the natural functions.

Commonly, these cats are considered to be the best choice as they are not known for any serious health issues. If you do not want to take the risk of keeping a pet with many health risks, then the Abyssinians and Somali cats will be the best options for you.

If Somali and Abyssinian cat breeds have low-risk factors, it does not mean that they do not need proper care. They can also become victims of severe diseases if the proper care and food are not provided.

Providing proper diet and exercise will be helpful to keep your cat healthy and active. Moreover, regular medical check-ups of the cats are necessary to avoid any severe disease.

  • Diet and Nutrition of Somali and Abyssinian Cat Breed

Abyssinians are active all day long, so they require more nutrition and food than other cat breeds. To restore themselves with energy, you will need to provide them with a balanced and nutritious diet. Different cat breeds have different food preferences depending on the age and gender of the cats.

Somali and Abyssinian cat breeds require about 40 different elements to maintain healthy growth. To provide your cat with nutrition and minerals does not mean providing them with a lot of food that will cause obesity. In fact, a balanced diet means a sufficient amount of food full of vitamins and nutrients that will neither cause obesity nor malnutrition. You can get to a veterinarian to get a suitable diet plan for your cats. Your veterinarian will also suggest you a sufficient amount of food for your pet.

You have choices; you can feed your cats with homemade food or provide them with any canned food full of nutrients and minerals necessary for your cat. Avoid giving your companion unhealthy food because it will cause obesity and other health problems.

  • Outdoor or Indoor Cats

Abyssinian and Somali cats are cousins and love to spend quality time outdoors. These are active and intelligent cats that are independent and smart enough to go for a walk with you. You will notice that Abyssinians or Somali cats rush towards the door when it opens; they enjoy outdoor exercises or walk with their family.

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But these cats are hyperactive enough to have a happy time at home. In short, we can say that Abyssinians and Somalis cat breeds are indoor and outdoor cats as well.

If you do not want to let your Abyssinians and Somali cat breeds go out, you can teach them not to go out during their training, and they will learn it quickly.

  • Interaction with Children and Strangers

Somali and Abyssinian cat breeds are very friendly and loyal companions. They are well-mannered if trained intelligently and know to welcome strangers warmly.

Abyssinians and Somali cat breeds possess very affectionate and kind behavior. They want to be the center of attention in the family, so they love to be around you. They are children friendly and love playing with children at home. However, they are so playful and interactive that you cannot leave them alone at home for a long time because they will mess up with everything at home.

They also love to spend time with other friendly pets at home. For example, an Abyssinian cat will love to play with Siamese or Somali cats, and similarly, a Somali cat would also love to spend time with Abyssinian. You can keep both the cats together to if you are a busy person and cannot give sufficient time to your pet. Both the cat breeds will manage to play with each other without getting mad and messing up with things.


Expectantly, this article is helpful and provides you with all the information necessary to know about the cat breeds before choosing anyone. Somali and Abyssinian cat breeds are preferred by many cat owners due to their entertaining and child-like activities.

You can choose anyone of them according to your choice.  If you like a furry pet then, Somali is the best option. But if you do not want to brush your pet regularly, then Abyssinian is the best option, but you will need to brush Abyssinian’s teeth regularly as it is more susceptible to gum diseases.

These cats are cheerful and entertaining; hence they can help you relieve mental stress and depression. People who are suffering from mental disorders or not feeling emotionally stable can get rid of mental disorders by keeping Abyssinians and Somali cat breeds as their pets because, in this case, a person needs emotional support.

When these patients find their companion chasing them throughout the houses and playing happily with them, they get emotionally stable. In this way, the Abyssinian and Somali cats are the best therapists to treat mental disorders.

Somali and Abyssinian cats are among the intelligent and active cats that are worthy of having at home. These cats will change the stressful environment of home to a happy and cheerful environment.

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