Characteristics (Quick Facts)
Ability to Adapt:
Need for Grooming:
The Somali Cat has a semi-long ticked coat and is closely related to the Abyssinian Cat. This is a medium-sized breed with a muscular and athletic body. The body is supported by slim finely boned legs and ends in a fully plumed tail.
These cats have slightly rounded wedge-shaped heads, broad ears, and large almond-shaped eyes. The ticked semi-long coat is silky and gives these cats a glowing appearance.
This is a highly active, fun-loving, and smart cat that likes being busy. These cats jump higher, run faster, play harder, and generally enjoy every day to the fullest.
The Somali likes to be in the center of everyone’s attention and will use any means necessary to do so. Thus, it comes as no surprise that this outgoing and social cat likes to spend time with its owner.
Where Did Somali Cat Breed Originate?
The Somali is, in fact, a long-haired variety of the Abyssinian and was developed into a distinctive breed.
In 1953 the first long-haired Abyssinian appeared in the United States. At first, breeders assumed that the long-haired gene was passed down through ancestry. However, most breeders weren’t happy to see long-haired kittens emerge from their Abyssinian litters and refused to mention them.
Luckily a few breeders were intrigued by the new look and decided to breed long-haired Abyssinians.
Evelyn Mague was an American breeder of Abyssinian Cats who also encountered long-haired kittens in her litters. She enlisted the help of other breeders who were interested in these cats and started working with them. She decided to name the new breed Somali.
The name is a reference to Somalia which borders modern-day Ethiopia which was known as Abyssinia. The Somali was officially recognized in 1979 by Cat Fanciers Association. By 1991, this breed was accepted internationally and is recognized by all major cat registries.
What Does the Somali Cat Look Like?
The Somali is a medium-sized breed with an athletic and muscular, yet graceful body. These cats have slim finely boned legs that end in small oval paws.
The breed has an appearance like walking on tiptoe. They have long fully bushed tails that are thick at the base and taper slightly at the end. The slightly rounded wedge-shaped head is topped with large, pointed ears that give the breed a curious expression.
Their almond-shaped eyes are also large and come in gold, amber, and green color.
The medium-length silky coat forms a ruff around the neck and breeches on hind legs. Thus, giving the Somali a fuller appearance and sets it apart from its Abyssinian cousin.
As far as the size standards are concerned, the Somali should be a medium to large cat with a firm muscular development. Their bodies must be well proportioned and at the same time graceful and showing a muscular strength.
Somali Cat Colors
The Somali’s silky long coat comes in a ticked pattern. This means that every hair shaft has alternating bands of light and dark color. This distribution of lighter and darker bands gives the coat a glowing appearance.
The coat comes in four main colors, ruddy brown, sorrel red, blue, and fawn. However, some associations allow additional colors including, chocolate, lilac, and various silver shades.
Somali Cat Personality Traits
The Somali is a fun and lively cat breed to live with. These cats have a sense of humor and won’t shy away from pulling practical jokes on their owners. They are also mischievous and agile felines that will do anything to be in the spotlight.
Like its Abyssinian cousin, the Somali lives life to the fullest. Therefore, these cats run faster, jump higher and play harder compared to other cat breeds. This curious and smart cat will entertain you and make you struggle to find ways to stay one step ahead of her.
This is an endlessly curious breed that will observe your actions from high vantage points. Hence, get your cat a ceiling high cat tree (or a few of them). The Somali likes to be involved in its owner’s life and will carefully observe your every move.
These are smart cats that will quickly learn how to open doors and cabinets and will rifle through them without any shame. Therefore, everything that is left unsupervised will become the next best plaything. Thus, you should consider investing in a variety of cat toys to keep your cat away from your stuff.
The Somali is a smart cat that will enjoy learning tricks or how to walk on a cat leash. Furthermore, taking your cat for a stroll around the block can help her burn a bit of energy. This affectionate and attention-seeking cat will do anything to maintain its star status. They are also very persistent and will have you doing their bidding in no time.
The Somali is a people-oriented, smart, inquisitive, and confident cat. This curious cat knows how to have fun and will be an endless source of entertainment! Staying a step ahead of this silly cat is a constant challenge and may be too much for faint of heart!
These cats don’t like being left alone and need an owner who spends a lot of time at home. If left alone, be prepared to find your house in ruins and the Somali sitting on the pile, unfazed and waiting for her meal.
Thus, if you have to leave your cat alone, get her a companion, preferably another Somali or Abyssinian. Granted you will have to deal with twice the trouble, but at least your house will still be standing when you come back from work.
Somali Cat Behavior
The attention-seeking and persistent Somali likes to be in the center of attention and will do just about anything to maintain its status. Thus, it comes as no surprise that these cats can become destructive, depressed, or develop separation anxiety if they are left alone or ignored.
Luckily, you can prevent these issues by spending quality time with your cat every day. And if you have long working hours get your cat a companion pet to keep her busy while you aren’t around.
Are Somali Cats Adaptable to New Surroundings?
The Somali adjusts well to change and retains this quality during her long life. This outgoing cat likes meeting new people and will enjoy being the subject of their attention.
Generally, they react well to change in surroundings as long as they keep receiving the same amount of affection as before.
This is a highly energetic and agile cat that is always on the move. If provided with ample catnip toys, the Somali won’t have trouble staying in shape.
However, they crave companionship and want to play with their owners as much as possible. So, it is a good idea to keep your cat entertained and exercised with feather wands.
Does It Get Along with Children and Other Pets?
The energetic and playful Somali is well suited for homes with children. These cats love retrieving soft toy balls and will not tire before your child. They enjoy receiving attention from children who meet their energy levels and know how to play with a cat.
This cat gets along with other pets and will enjoy having companions who will keep her busy.
The Somali has a huge playing potential and will never miss a chance to interact with its owner. For this reason, you should keep your cat entertained with something like a laser pointer and play with her every day for 15 minutes.
When you aren’t around, keep your cat busy with puzzle toys that will reward her once she learns how to manipulate them.
General Health and Potential Risks
The Somali is a generally healthy breed. However, they are prone to a few health issues that can be genetic in nature.
This doesn’t mean that your cat is going to be affected, but it is always better to know about any potential risks from the start.
- Gingivitis: Is the earliest stage of periodontal disease but it can be avoided with proper care. Symptoms include red and swollen gums, bad breath, and variable amounts of plaque present on the surface of the teeth. Treatment includes regular teeth brushing with enzymatic toothpaste.
- Renal Amyloidosis: This condition is caused when the protein amyloid is deposited in organs. In this breed, the amyloid tends to deposit in the kidneys disrupting their normal function. Eventually, this condition causes renal failure.
- Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency: This is an inherited disease that is caused by the insufficient activity of pyruvate kinase enzyme which affects red blood cells. Symptoms of this condition include lethargy, weakness, weight loss, and anemia. A genetic test is available to identify carriers.
Somali Cat Lifespan
The Somali has an average life expectancy of 11 to 16 years. Since this breed is prone to some hereditary conditions, it is best to get your cat from a reputable breeder.
Additionally, you should start brushing your cat’s teeth with a cat toothpaste from a young age to get her used to teeth cleaning process and avoid dental problems.
The Somali’s semi-long dense and silky double coat is fairly easy to maintain.
The coat is longest around the neck, hind legs, and the tail. These areas can develop mats and tangles. So, you will have to brush your cat twice a week with a stainless-steel comb. This way you will distribute skin oils through the length of fur and keep it soft.
Somali Cat Shedding
During spring and fall, the Somali will go through the shedding season. Hence, you will have to brush your cat with a shedding comb every day during this period.
Breed Related FAQ
In this section, we answer frequently asked questions about the Somali. Continue reading to learn more about this highly energetic and mischievous cat!
How Much is Somali Cat Price?
The exact price of a Somali kitten depends on a breeder and several other factors. On average, you can expect to pay from $1000 to $1200 for a purebred kitten.
Keep in mind that factors such as gender, coat color, heritage, and quality of the cat can raise the price further.
How Big Do Somali Cats Get?
As with all other cat breeds, males are slightly larger and usually weigh from 8-10 pounds. Females are smaller and weigh from 6-8 pounds.
Under the soft and silky coat lies an athletic and muscular body. This is an elegant looking breed, and their slim legs aren’t built to hold a chubby body. Therefore, feed your cat with a hairball and weight control cat food. This way, you will prevent hairball incidents and keep your cat at her optimal weight.
Are Somali Cats Rare?
The Somali is the product of a recessive gene found in some Abyssinian cats. While they aren’t widely available as some other purebred cats, the Somali isn’t so rare that you won’t be able to find one near you.
Are Somali Cats Good Pets?
The people-oriented and curious Somali makes an excellent pet and gets along with people of all ages. This highly energetic and busy cat will be the endless source of entertainment and soon enough just owning one won’t be enough.
Are Somali Cats Hypoallergenic?
While there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat, some breeds are less allergenic than others. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Somali is less allergenic than a common cat. Thus, you may need to reconsider getting one if you or any of your family members suffer from allergies.