Foxy Feline

The Somali Cat

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Breed Group:

Domestic.

Size:

Medium. Average body.

Weight:

Featherweight Kitty. From 6-10 lbs.

Exercise Needs:

Professional athlete. Needs no exercise.

Ability To Adapt:

High. Quickly adjusts to surroundings.

Health:

Very good. Minor health issues.

Average Lifespan:

From 11-16 years.

Need For Grooming:

Twice a week. Moderate shedding.

Compatibility:

Great with children & other pets.

Potential For Playfulness:

Through the roof!

Breed Group:

Domestic.

Size:

Medium. Average body.

Weight:

Featherweight Kitty. From 6-10 lbs.

Exercise Needs:

Professional athlete. Needs no exercise.

Ability To Adapt:

High. Quickly adjusts to surroundings.

Health:

Very good. Minor health issues.

Average Lifespan:

From 11-16 years.

Need For Grooming:

Twice a week. Moderate shedding.

Compatibility:

Great with children & other pets.

Potential For Playfulness:

Through the roof!

Breed Group:

Domestic.

Size:

Medium. Average body.

Weight:

Featherweight Kitty. From 6-10 lbs.

Exercise Needs:

Professional athlete. Needs no exercise.

Ability To Adapt:

High. Quickly adjusts to surroundings.

Health:

Very good. Minor health issues.

Average Lifespan:

From 11-16 years.

Need For Grooming:

Twice a week. Moderate shedding.

Compatibility:

Great with children & other pets.

Potential For Playfulness:

Through the roof!

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 and 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. This is an outgoing and social cat that likes spending time with its owner.

Breed History

The Somali Cat 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. Breeders assumed that the long-haired gene was passed down through his 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.

Size Standards

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 tip-toe. They have long fully bushed tails that are thick at the base and tapering slightly at the end. It has a slightly rounded wedge-shaped head that 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.

Male Somali Cats 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 of the Somali Cat 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.

Somali Cat Personality Traits

This is a fun and lively breed of cat 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 is a curious and smart cat that will entertain you and will make you struggle to find ways to stay one step ahead of her.

This is an endlessly curious cat that will observe your actions from high vantage points. Hence, your cat will need 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. So 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 is an affectionate and attention seeking cat that will do anything to maintain its star status. They are also very persistent and will have you doing their bidding in no time.

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.

Adaptability

The Somali adjusts well to the change and retains this quality during her long life. This is an outgoing cat that likes meeting new people and will enjoy receiving 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, these cats crave companionship and want to play with their owners as much as possible. So, keeping your cat entertained and exercised with feather wands will be a good idea.

Health and Potential Health Problems

The Somali is a generally healthy breed. However, these cats 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: It is the earliest stage of periodontal disease and 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 Somali Cats, 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.

Lifespan

The Somali Cat has an average life expectancy of 11-16 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 the teeth cleaning process and avoid dental problems.

Grooming Needs

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.

During spring and fall, the Somali Cat will start shedding. Hence, you will have to brush your cat with a shedding comb every day during that period.

Somali Cat Coat Colors

The silky long coat of the Somali Cat 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.

Compatibility with Children & Other Pets

The energetic and playful Somali breed 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.