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Information About the Somali Cat

Vijith Menon Mar 18, 2020
The Somali cat is a cousin of the Abyssinian cat. Know more about its personality, temperament, and other characteristics, to help make it your favorite pet.

Did You Know?

Despite its thick coat, the Somali cat can't tolerate the cold.
We all know that cats love to nap most of the day. Somali cats turn this fact into a myth. They are the most energetic of all cats, and have a curious disposition towards all things.
Somali cat play with things and have a tendency of jumping around all day. This particular cat even loves to play with water. Here's more about its history and characteristics, that make it unique.


The first Somali cats appeared as long-haired kittens among the litter of Abyssinians. In the 1940s, Janet Robertson exported some of these kittens to Australia, New Zealand, and North America.
In 1963, a breeder by the name of Mary Mailing from Canada entered the cat into a local pet show and won. The judge of the show asked for one for breeding purposes.
Out of all the stories so far, the best one regarding its birth comes from Evelyn Mague, an American breeder. She had a long-haired Abyssinian cat named George, who had run off. But Evelyn was surprised to find it on her doorstep years later.
The breeders of Abyssinians were appalled at the thick-haired creature, and refused to part with the name of Abyssinian. Evelyn, on the other hand, worked hard for the acceptance of these cats, and called them Somalis, in honor of Somalia, the neighbor of ancient Abyssinia.
In 1972, the Somali Cat Club was formed. By 1978, the cat had won the championship at the Cat Fancier's Association, and by 1991 was recognized as a popular breed throughout the US and Europe.

Physical Characteristics

▶ Somali cats are best recognized by their moderate size, medium-length fur, and full brush tail which tapers at the end.

▶ They are famous for their fox-like appearance, which contributes to their nickname 'fox cat'.
▶ They are ticked cats, with each band of fur being darker than the rest.

▶ They have a distinct M-shaped symbol on their forehead.

▶ Their eyes are almond-shaped and expressive, in a color that's usually gold or green.
▶ They also have darker strokes of color near the eyes, giving the appearance of using an eyeliner.

▶ They have a long, silky coat of color. Although they are easily recognized by the ruddy color, they also come in shades of fawn, red, or blue, which constitutes a total of 28 colors.
▶ They shed very little, and have two seasonal moltings during spring and fall, annually.

▶ The males generally weigh about 8 - 11 lbs., while females weight about 6 - 10 lbs.

▶ Their average lifespan ranges from 12 - 15 years.

Personality and Temperament

▶ These cats are highly intelligent, with a laid-back nature.

▶ They have an affectionate nature, and love it when people comb their hair or pet them. They also love to be the center of attention.

▶ These cats don't like to be manhandled by young children.

▶ They have a proud nature, and are smart enough to realize if you laugh at them.
▶ This an active cat, and suitable for those who spend a lot of time at home. They enjoy interacting with adults and children older than six.

▶ Although shy when compared to their Abyssinian counterparts, they love human company.
▶ They are playful in nature, and enjoy the outdoors. They can even be trained to fetch, and can indulge by playing with everyday objects, which forms a part of their curious nature.

Common Health Problems

▶ One of the common health problems is gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, characterized by a red line around the gums.

▶ They have inherited some diseases from their Abyssinian cousins like Feline Infectious Anemia (FIA) and Auto Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA), which can be detected by a blood test. These can be treated with antibiotics.


▶ A weekly comb to their luxurious coats is enjoyed by these cats.

▶ They are very easy to take care of, and can be trained to open cupboard doors, shake hands, and fetch small objects.

▶ Due to their highly curious nature, they tend to wander off. They need plenty of attention and toys to keep them occupied.
▶ These cats love dry cat food along with canned food, and requires 80 K cal of food everyday.

▶ It's advised to brush their teeth regularly, as they are prone to periodontal diseases.

▶ Clean the ears with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle ear cleanser, or the one approved by your veterinarian.