Somali cats are, in essence, longhaired Abyssinians and they share many characteristics. These include intelligence, playfulness, energy and desire to be the center of attention. Somalis first came about in 1963 but it wasn’t until 1979 that they were recognised by the US Cat Fanciers Association.
Somalis have a fox-like appearance thanks to their fluffy, bushy tails and tufts on their ears. Their coat is ticked – each hair has 3 – 12 bands of color that appear to shimmer in the right light. Somali cats come in four widely recognised colors: ruddy brown, red, blue and fawn. Some cat associations recognize other colors, namely lilac, chocolate and silver. Their playful personality makes Somali cats a good choice for families with children. However, children need to learn how to play in a careful and responsible manner.
If you have the energy for a Somali cat you can do some research and find a reputable breeder who is properly registered with recognised cat associations in the USA. You can also approach rescue organisations to find out if they have any Somali kittens or cats available for adoption.
Somali Facts & Information
Life expectancy: approx. 19 years
Size: Height: 24 in. Weight: 6 – 12 lb.
Temperament: Somalis are extroverts by nature. They’re active and inquisitive and love participating in whatever you do. Somali cats are excellent climbers and often find the highest spot in the house to survey activity. They’re intelligent and are good problem solvers. Don’t be surprised if yours opens doors, cupboards, and taps. They respond well to force-free reward-based clicker training, so you can teach them tricks and even agility. They can get on well with other animals, if introduced properly. Another Somali or an Abyssinian makes a good companion because they have the energy to keep up. However, Somalis don’t like sharing the spotlight too much, so don’t go hog-wild getting her friends.
Exercise: Somali cats are active enough during the day (zipping, climbing, playing, hunting) that they usually meet their own exercise needs. It’s still a good idea to enjoy some interactive play, however, as it improves your bond. If your Somali is an indoor cat, you should provide plenty of cat trees of varying heights, scratching posts and dangly toys to keep them entertained. Regularly rearranging the toys or swapping them will help prevent boredom. Brain exercises in the form of puzzle feeders are also a good idea.
General care: Somali cats have semi-long or longhaired coats that will require some grooming. Twice weekly combing sessions will remove dead hair and tangles. You will also need to check their ears and eyes and clean them, and keep their nails neatly trimmed.
Health concerns: Somali cats are prone to certain health problems. These include early onset gingivitis and other gum diseases, pyruvate kinase deficiency, degenerative eye disease, and renal amyloidosis. Find out more about pet cat insurance so you can meet all your Somali’s medical needs.
Somalis are active, awesome, agile, astounding, alert, animated, affectionate, amusing, athletic, astute, amiable and attentive. They like to be in, on, under and involved in everything and they love to be entertained, which is why many Somali cat owners invest in bird feeders or fish tanks. Somali cats adapt well to most living conditions, including flats – if that’s what they’ve grown up with. They blossom with love, so if you make your Somali the center of your life, she will respond in kind.