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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Somali

The Somali is a lean, wild-looking cat, closely related to the Abyssinian. Built on athletic lines, they are lithe and long with a muscular build, moderate wedge-shaped head and large almond shaped eyes. Paws are neat ovals, with some tufting between the toes, and the tail is long with a generous plume of fur. The Somali is a semi-long-haired cat, with fur lying shorter and closer on the body, and longer around the neck, legs and tail. The Somali fur is agouti, i.e., each hair has several bands of colour. This gives the cat a shaded appearance, paler underneath and darker on top.  

Eyes are gold, amber or green and the pigment around the eyes should be dark, giving the impression of eyeliner, surrounded by a much lighter cream or almost white, giving the cat a very striking, appealing look. 

The need-to-know
  • Benefits from an experienced owner
  • Needs high-level of enrichment including simulated hunting games and interactive play
  • Highly active and inquisitive cat
  • Independent but friendly
  • Very talkative cat
  • Average build cat breed
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Needs extensive outdoor space
  • Not ideal for family homes
  • Can be regularly left for a few hours
  • Needs a calm environment
Generally healthy breed

Somali cats can suffer from:
- Pyruvate kinase deficiency which is a disease that causes anaemia (death of red blood cells).  
- Progressive retinal atrophy which is an inherited disorder where part of the eye degenerates and wastes away which can result in blindness.

Testing available:
- DNA testing for pyruvate kinase deficiency and progressive retinal atrophy which tests whether or not a cat has the potential to be affected by these conditions.

Key Facts

Lifespan: 11 - 16 years
Weight:  2.5 - 4.5kg
Colours:  Somalis come in a range of reddish browns, blue, lilac and fawn and a silver variation on these colours where the undercoat and base of the hairs is white rather than cream. 

Ratings

Family-friendly: 1/5
Playfulness: 5/5
Intelligence: 4/5
Tendency to vocalise:  5/5
Likes Other Pets: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 4/5
Somali cat is standing near to window

Personality

Somalis are very like their Abyssinian relatives, a high-chaos level cat, involved in everything, brilliant at climbing, jumping, levitating (possibly!) and very demanding of owners’ time and affection. This is a cat for those who like their cats very cattish indeed, and are willing to design their homes and lifestyles around their cat. Loud, insistent, curious and intelligent, the Somali will not be ignored, this is no decorative lap-cat, more of a furry toddler in a cat-suit, with the climbing and jumping abilities of Spiderman!

Somali cat is lying under a blanket

History and Origins

Country of Origin: United States

The Somali’s direct ancestor is the Abyssinian, one of the oldest breeds of domesticated cats, although true records are now lost. Legends vary as to whether the Abyssinian (and therefore the Somali) is a direct descendant of the sacred cats of Ancient Egypt, or perhaps British Soldiers brought them back from Abyssinian (Ethiopia) in the late 1860’s? 

They were developed and refined in Britain, with recent genetic studies revealing a link to cats from the coastal area of the Bay of Bengal in India. First imported to the United States in the early 1900’s, they quickly became one of America’s favourite breeds, and the long-haired Somali variant soon appeared and became popular in their own right.