6 most common Abyssinian Cat Health Problems

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Recently, I was highly concerned as my Abyssinian cat got sick. In search for its cure, I came across information related to their health that I think all the Abyssinian owners should know about.

So, what are the most common Abyssinian cat health problems? Abys are known to have some serious hereditary diseases while a few regular feline health issues also exist. Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency, Progressive Renal Atrophy, and Luxating Patella are among the most common diseases in Abys.

So, if you have an Abyssinian and are worried about their health, then you are at the right place!

Abyssinian Cat Diseases

Let’s take a look at the causes and symptoms of these diseases in detail, in order to prevent these from happening in future.

The six most common diseases in Abys are:

  • Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Chronic Renal Failure
  • Luxating Patella
  • Periodontal Diseases

Abyssinian 101 (Video)


Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency

In this disorder, the red blood cells of Abyssinians fail to metabolize which further leads to anemia or other blood related disorders. It is known to be a hereditary issue, and hence it is congenital. Bone marrow transplant is known to be the only treatment available to cure it. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

It is an inherited condition in which Abyssinians face loss of vision. They initially lose their night vision and eventually their complete eyesight as there is no treatment available.


It is found to be common in Abyssinians, an overactive thyroid affects their metabolism because it burns their energy quickly, resulting in failure to gain weight. These high levels of thyroid hormones are produced by their overactive thyroid glands. However, this can be cured with medication.

Chronic Renal Failure

It is also known as kidney failure, renal insufficiency, and renal disease. It is known to be hereditary, therefore there are high chances of chronic renal failure if your Abyssinian is older. Hence, it is recommended that when you initially plan to bring home Abyssinian kittens, they should have passed all the hereditary health disorders screening.

Luxating Patella

It is a predisposed condition, which means dislocating kneecaps. In this case, Abys may have difficulty in moving and jumping, which may further lead to arthritis as they age. The option of surgery is available but it depends on the severity of the joint dislocation.

Periodontal Diseases

Dental care is important for Abyssinians, as these can cause inflammation of tooth structure, resulting in tooth loss. These can further infect heart, kidney and liver as a result of bacteria of dental diseases. Therefore, dental cleaning is recommended for Abyssinians to avoid these.

In general, there are two types of toothbrushes for cats available in the market. One of them (my choice), are finger toothbrushes like this one. If you’re uncomfortable putting your hand inside your pet’s mouth, then you might go for a regular pet toothbrush like this one.

What are the Symptoms of these Health Issues?

Let’s take a look at all the early symptoms that can help us to identify these issues,

Health IssuesSymptoms
Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency  Experiencing muscle wastage, weakness, pale gums, increased heart rate, Anemia, inability to perform usual exercise
Retinal Atrophy  Increased water intake, loss of weight, restlessness, elevated heart rate
Hyperthyroidism  Weakness, Anemia, increased heart rate, jaundice
Chronic Renal Failure  Bad breaths, vomits, lethargy, high blood pressure, sores inside and around the mouth, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, blood in urine
Luxating Patella    Difficulty in moving, lethargy, weakness
Periodontal Diseases  Face swelling, difficulty in chewing, losing and missing of teeth, redness and bleeding in gum

How to take care of Abyssinians?

There are THREE major things that should be taken care and then you are good to play with your healthy Abyssinian. They are:

  1. Routine
  2. Exercise
  3. Diet

Let’s take a look at these three in detail


As much as we humans want routine, cats do too! Being an Aby-owner, it is important that you start to schedule your cat’s routine. Schedule monthly visits to the vet, supervise your Aby, keep their litter clean, keep a check on its intake of food and water, and most importantly, set time for exercise to maintain their weight and also to keep them active!


Regular exercise is highly recommended if you want your Aby to live a healthy life. There are activity toys available to engage cats into proper exercises to keep them active, but it is important to do a proper research before buying one.

I, personally bought these Real Rabbit Fur Mouse toys for my Abyssinians and they LOVE it. The great thing about this toy is that it allows the cats to explore their natural instincts of hunting and also keeps them physically engaged in excersise.


Abyssinians should be given diet that is high quality, designed for felines, and most importantly appropriate for their age.

Along with diet, water intake should be monitored regularly as any kind of deviation should be addressed immediately.

Cat foods are largely of two types:

  • Wet cat food
  • Dry cat food

Abyssinians do not drink much water, so I highly recommend feeding them wet cat food. But this alone, would not be enough since dry cat food is required for dental hygiene. Otherwise, your cat’s teeth would go dirty and ultimately cause a lot of pain to the poor creature.

My go-to choice for wet cat food is this product from Purina Pro. My cats are totally in love with it.

For dry cat food, I’ve recently shifted to Purina Fancy Feast Cat Treats and they seem to be working quite well for my cats.

What else to watch for, to avoid health issues?

There are other factors that Aby owners should keep a record of and they include:

  • Knowing about your cat’s Immune System
  • Determining Blood Type
  • Vaccination and Screening History
  • DNA tests of Abyssinians parents –if you are purchasing an Aby kitten

Aby owners should be aware about all these factors beforehand in order to avoid any kind of problems in the future.

Related Questions

How would I know if my Aby needs immediate help? There are signs that every Aby owner should know about beforehand in order to make sure that any kind of emergency is handled well. They are:

  • Any abnormality in the eyes such as redness or itching
  • Shaking the head
  • Excessive scratching
  • Sudden on-set of weakness
  • Inability to urinate
  • Any kind of discharge from the ears
  • Labored breathing

If you notice any of the signs stated above, then it is recommended to rush to the vet as soon as possible.

What should be done to keep Aby cats healthy? One of the best advice that I could give to you is to ensure that your Aby gets exercise. It is very important to keep Abyssinians busy with different activities and exercises so that they stay fit. It maintains their routine and as they are known as curious and impressively athletic pets, it is necessary to keep them engaged!

Are Abyssinians good for beginners? Abys are not for everyone, but they are low maintenance cats and are known to be one of the greatest breed of cats especially for people who love spending time with their pets. They are hearty and playful, and require a lot of attention, therefore, if you are ready to commit to this one requirement, then you are good to go! Also, they love open spaces, so if you have a big house then your Aby would love it as they are keen explorers. But if you are looking for a lap cat, then Aby is a no-no because they love to jump around and have fun!

What else should I know about Abyssinians? Abys are known to be amazing at learning tricks, so you can have a fun partner if you plan to keep them. They are known to live up to 15 years of age and they weigh up to six to ten pounds. They get along with children, too and can be easily trained.

Can Abyssinians get along with other cats? Well, they love to socialize and play with other cats. However, when it comes to attention, they want their share! Also, they can get along with other animals too, such as dogs.


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