Somalis are highly intelligent, super affectionate cats with stunning looks and a will to participate in everything you do. Wherever you are – they will be. They will help with everything, whether that is cooking dinner, making the bed, cleaning, working on the computer or just hanging out on the couch. Even the bathtub will have company – yes, some of them like to play in the water, too! No place every goes unexplored, whether it is the top of the cupboard or the depths of a carrier bag.
Somalis are chatty cats. They chirrup softly, they croon, they give short, urgent calls and occasionally louder ones, too. They will inevitably answer if you speak to them – Important To Be Polite, they say – and cuddle sessions are accompanied by lots of affectionate purring and chirruping.
Anyone who gets involved with a Somali cat will definitely be amazed by the combination of wild, beautiful appearance and extremely affectionate nature.
Somali Cat Introduction and Brief History
Somali cats are the long haired Abyssinian breed. The breed was brought to the forefront in the 1950s, as a result of few of the breeding programs between the bottle brush tails and long fluffy coat Abyssinians.
The Abyssinian and Somali cats share the same personality, and they both are active, curious, playful and intelligent. The only difference between Somali and Abyssinian cats is that the Somalis shed very little excess hair.
Somali Cat Appearance
The appearance of the Somali cat can undoubtedly be described as elegant and yet original and wild.
Their half-length fur, the ruff and the bushy tail are particularly typical. She comes along on long legs and small paws and looks lively at the world with her almond-shaped eyes.
The special thing about their fur is the so-called ticking, in which the basic color of the fur is interrupted by several darker bands on each individual fine and silky hair.
There are the Somali in different basic colors – from wild colors (reddish-brown) to sorrel (copper red), blue (blue-grey), fawn (cream) to silver.
Somali Cat Character
Extroverted, alert, lively, even-tempered, trusting, playful, intelligent, sensitive and gentle – these are just some of the typical characteristics of the Somali cat.
Although they may be a bit calmer than their fellow Abyssinian cats, they are identical in their distinctive social behavior. This shows in a very high attachment to humans and a good social compatibility with other cats and even with dogs.
The way she ‘talks’ to her humans is also particularly sweet. Her voice is very delicate and unobtrusive.
Although gentle, loving and affectionate, the Somali cat is anything but shy. Hardly anything is safe from their curiosity, which is additionally supported by their passion for climbing and their unbroken hunting instinct.
Somali Cat Interesting Physical Characteristics
Somali cats have a striking bushy tail which is combined with its ruddy coat, to earn them the name of fox cats in some groups. In addition to their fluffy tail, Somali cats have a dark stripe which runs down the back and ears of these kittens giving them a ‘fox look’. This explains why, they are also known as the fox cats in some circles.
Somali cats have a characteristic body coat: it is ticked with a variation of tabby markings, and some Somali cats also have full tabby stripes on their bodies and like Abyssinian cats, Somali cats have a dark rim around their eyes, which makes them look as if they are wearing kohl. On their bodies, they also have small amount of white on their muzzles and chins.
The average life expectancy of a Somali cats was recorded up to 20 years, but there is a Somali cat that crossed 30 years. So till yet, the life expectancy of a Somali cat has not been confirmed.
Somali Cat Specific Color Patterns
The essence of a Somali cats’ coat is considered to be the ticking and each hair is tickled into multiples of any two specific colors. For example, the usual or ruddy Somali cat is golden brown ticked with a black pattern. In total, there are 28 known patterns of Somali cats like this.
Additionally, all organizations welcome and respect the usual/ruddy, sorrel/red and blue/fawn color patterns the most. There are many other color patterns also accepted of Somali cats such as chocolate, lilac, cream, red, sorrel tortie, blue tortie, chocolate tortie, lilac tortie.
Somali cats have beautiful eyes and they may range in the color shades of gold or green and it is said that the more depth and richness present in the eyes, the better.
Genetic Problems in Somali Cat
It was noted in 1990s that many purebred Somali cats had significant dental problems, noted as a result of the congenital problems that they were facing. It led to many Somali kittens having their teeth removed once they became adults. If they were not removed, dental abscesses formed below the gum-line which acted as a barrier for the cat to eat and hence, these cats started to develop hepatic lipidosis which is a life threatening condition.
However, moderate control was taken over this problem, and now with careful monitoring being done on Somali cats, much progress has been made in rooting out this unfortunate congenital trait present within them.
One thing to be aware of is that Somalis are not suitable to roam free. They have no fear and will jump straight out in front of cars, so they are at high risk of dying young if left to roam.