The Somali cat is an elegant, striking and slightly wild-looking cat with a full, beautiful coat and tail.
This is an active and busy cat, but one that is a bit on the independent side, making it a good choice for folks who don't have lots of time to pamper.
Somali cats make wonderful family pets as well, forming strong bonds with children, dogs and other family members. These are very active and highly intelligent kitties.
There is some disagreement on how this breed was formed. Many believe this stunning, very exotic-looking cat originally appeared as a spontaneous long-haired mutation in the litters of Abyssinian cats, where long-haired individuals would occur side by side with standard coated kittens.
These mutations occurred for decades, but it was not until the 1960's when an effort was made to create a separate breed.
Through careful selection, breeders in both Canada and Australia established the breed. So the name Somali doesn't have much to do with this cats tame history, but it does have an appropriately exotic sound.
Somali cats are beautiful, wild-looking cats who are quite civilized, with a regal demeanor and a lithe, muscular and athletic body.
The personality of a Somali cat is typically very busy, smart, active and independent.
Although mutated from the Abyssinian and sharing many of its traits, the Somali is not simply a long-haired version of an Abyssinian.
It is active and alert like the Abyssinian, but It is also fairly self-sufficient as well, and can be a good cat for active folks who might not be home so much.
Somali cats have a great sense of humor and high intelligence.
They love inside-jokes and are fond of games that are a little challenging, like some of the puzzle-type cat toys available.
The Somali cat is recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), the world's largest cat organization. It is a relatively uncommon pure-bred or "pedigreed" domestic cat breed.
This cat can be seen in a variety of shades from lilac to chocolate, but ruddy, red, blue and fawn colors are most common. The coat is ticked, meaning individual hairs are banded with color.
The fur is medium-long, silky and plush. Shedding is heavy in springtime, and moderate grooming is required.
These are slender, elegant cats that have few breed-related health issues, although dental problems were common in the 1990's. Because it is active and desires interaction, the Somali can make a nice family cat that can do very well with considerate children, multiple housemates and a bustling environment.
Somali kittens tend to be extra active and curious. They are often little dare-devils, getting into trouble around every corner. Kitten-proofing is absolutely essential until these little firecrackers learn their limitations.
In appearance, Somali kittens look a little scruffy, and may have very wooly fur. When their adult coat comes in at about 8 months, they assume the exotic look of the breed, and grow out of any teenage awkwardness.
Somali kittens are very quick learners, and now is the time to get them into any particular routine concerning potty, feeding and sleeping habits.
It's also a great idea to get cats used to things like wearing a harness, going on car trips, and possibly being confined temporarily to a crate or a particular room of the house.
A little one can become quite comfortable with having limitations in place, and if you need to transport your cat, or limit their activity later in life due to injury, visitors, remodeling the house etc. having your cat be relaxed and happy in a crate or an upstairs bedroom in a stressful time can be invaluable.
Head Shape: The head should be a mild wedge shape with no pronounced "stop". The skull should be rounded and in general proportion to the body. The muzzle is delicate but well formed. Not pointed or foxy in appearance. Adult males sometimes have additional jowling. The ears are large, alert and moderately pointed, broad at the base and well cupped. The ears should be well-furnished and tufts are quite desirable. The eyes are almond shaped, large and expressive, with a slight upward slant. The eyes have darker skin on the lids which gives a mascara look, and is highlighted by the fact that the fur around the eye itself is lighter than the rest of the face. There are dark, vertical "pencil marks" above the eyes. Accepted eye colors are gold, green or hazel.
Body and Tail: Graceful, lean and of medium length. Muscular but never course. The cat should be solid to the feel with well-sprung ribs and a slightly arched back. There should be no pronounced tuck-up of the belly when viewed from the side. The legs are muscular and of medium length without coarseness. The feet are compact, well-knuckled and oval in shape. Five toes in front and four in back. The tail is relatively thick at the base, long in proportion and evenly tapered.
Coat: The fur is dense, fine and feathery. The tail is full and bushy and a pronounced ruff around the neck is desirable. The color is ticked, with at least four alternating light and dark bands of color on each strand of hair.
Color: Ticked pattern with shading in tones of ruddy, red, fawn and blue. The tail may be tipped with black. No defined or outlined patterns, only shading.
Overall: This is a medium sized cat with an exotic appearance. They should have an athletic, lean and lithe quality and be graceful and quiet in movement. The ticked fur with individual bands of color around each strand of hair gives a shimmering, almost iridescent appearance. The full coat and plume tail are beautifully luxurious.