Somali Cat: Information, Pictures, and Care

The Somali is an inquisitive and active cat that descended from the Abyssinian. Find out everything about the origin, character, nature, keeping, and care of the Somali cat breed in the profile.

Somali cats are extremely popular pedigree cats among cat lovers. Here you will find the most important information about the Somali.


The standard-compliant Somali corresponds overall to their “ancestors”, the Abyssinians, but can sometimes become somewhat larger and heavier. The Somali is of medium height, medium length, lithe and muscular. She has the following physical characteristics:

  • sinewy, elegantly long legs in proportion to the body
  • wedge-shaped head, broad at the forehead and soft in contour
  • medium length nose showing a gentle curve in profile
  • relatively large ears, wide at the base
  • large, almond-shaped eyes

The Somali’s tail is quite long and bushy, somewhat reminiscent of a fox’s tail. Therefore, the Somali is sometimes referred to as the “fox cat”.

Fur and Colors

The Somali has medium-length fur that is particularly fine, dense, and soft. The breed-typical ticking allows for up to seven hair bands with the coat length of the Somali. It can take two years for the coat color to fully develop. The Somali is recognized in the colors “Feral/Apricot”, “Blue”, “Sorrel/Cinnamon”, “Fawn”. The colors “Lilac” and “Chocolat” also occur but do not belong to the breed standard. Especially in the winter coat, Somalis often have a ruff and panties.

Essence and Temperament

Like their ancestors, Somalis are extremely cheerful, affectionate, affectionate, and intelligent cats. They are particularly curious like to play and climb. Somalis generally take great pleasure in games of all kinds, be they moving or intelligence games.

Attitude and Care

The Somali is not suitable for keeping alone. These sociable cats are best kept in pairs. The Somali also usually get along well with dogs and children. The active cat absolutely needs a scratching post that is as large as possible and has lots of activities.

Caring for the Somali is relatively easy, but must not be neglected. That means: Depending on the age and the condition of the fur, combing once a week is sufficient, and more frequently when the fur changes. The balanced, high-quality diet should meet the individual urge to move and be tailored to the age so that the cat remains agile and symptom-free into the mature years.

Disease Susceptibility

Somalis are energetic cats that are usually very robust when kept appropriately. With regard to hereditary diseases, however, they can be just as burdened as the Abyssinians. The most common hereditary diseases in the Somali are:

  • Feline neonatal isoerythrolysis (FNI): When mating a tomcat with blood group A and a cat with blood group B, blood group incompatibility occurs between mother cat and kitten. The kittens can become acutely and fatally anemic.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (atrophy of the retina): the retina of the eye is disturbed by metabolic disorders, blindness is possible.
  • Deficiency of the pyruvate kinase enzyme in red blood cells, leading to anemia

If you get a Somali, you should always check with the breeder to see if one of the parents has a hereditary disease!

Origin and History

The Somali descended from the Abyssinian cat. The only difference between the two cat breeds is the length of their fur. At first, long-haired offspring were not wanted when breeding Abyssinians in England. But the US breeder Evelyn Mague had taken a liking to the long-haired Abyssinians and decided in 1965 to create a new breed with the help of interested fellow breeders: the Somali. Targeted breeding began in the 1970s.

The cats quickly made a splash, and in the 1977-78 show season, a whopping 125 Somalis wowed American audiences. A year later, a German breeder brought the first Somalis back to Europe, another 30 followed and provided an initial breeding base in several countries. Recognized in the FIFe since the early 1980s, they are now bred worldwide.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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