Somali cat

A descendant of the Abyssinian breed. It is a smart and curious cat that looks like a fox.

Energy level
Level of affection
Level of friendliness
female: 3—4 kg
male: 5—6 kg
female: 26 cm
male: 32 cm
requires little time
Gives birth to
Gives birth to:
6 kittens
United States
in 1972
Life span
Life span:
12—16 years


Somali cats are energetic. Just like Abyssinian cats, they enjoy running, jumping and climbing on cupboards. The only difference between the two breeds is calmness of Somali cats. They express emotions quietly, reacting to affection by calm purring.

Somali cats are loyal and affectionate. They do not get through being lonely for a long time well. These pets adapt to their owner`s lifestyle and can feel his mood. Somali cats like constantly being the center of attention. However, they cannot be called intrusive. 

Somali cats socialize well with other animals. They will not be the first to start a conflict or a fight. Despite having a well-developed hunting instincts, Somali cats are friendly towards small pets like hamsters, guinea pigs and parrots. While playing with a child, cats of this breed will not bite or scratch. If the kid accidentally hurts the pet, it will simply run away.

Somali cats are smart and can be trained. These pets understand basic commands: they react when someone calls them, bring toys that have been thrown, jump through a hoop, give a paw and so on. However, while training the cat, you need to remember that it is not a dog. You should not shout at animals. Stress affects their health in a negative way.


Somali cats are of medium size. Their body is graceful and muscular. 
Thin, the undercoat is thick. Fluffy ruffs grow on the back and on the belly.
Common colors are: wild, blue, silver, sorrel and lilac. Each hair has few tones, no matter what the coat color is.
Large, wedge-shaped. Snout of Somali cats makes them look like foxes.
Almond-shaped, expressive.
Large, hair tufts grow on tips.
Wide and muscular.
Long, proportional to body length.
Long and bushy. It is wide at the base, gets thinner down to the tip.

Basic Care

Somali cats do not require much time to be groomed. Their long and thick hair does not get matted. That is why these pets need to be brushed twice a week. During the molting period — in spring and fall — every day, using a metal bristle brush. It takes away the thick undercoat and leaves down hairs. Thanks to it, the cat will not look hairless. After brushing, you should pet your cat with wet hands to take off left hairs.

Somali cats are neat. They like water, but these pets cannot be given a bath very often. Constant contact with water damages their hair structure. The cat needs to be given a bath once in 3 months, using a shampoo for longhair cats. Clean their eyes and ears when needed. Cat`s teeth need to be cleaned once a week, using a brush that can be put on a finger. Buy a claw-point so that the cat does not damage furniture and wallpapers.

Diet of Somali cats needs to be well-balanced. Taking into consideration the fact that these pets are very active, they need a lot of proteins. They are contained in dry food of premium quality, meat and dairy products. If you are going to feed your cat with natural ingredients, make sure you do not give it fatty products. They damage hair structure and make it dull. Somali cats need to be fed with boiled chicken or beef; grains; vegetables and fat free dairy products. Dry and natural food can change one another. However, it is important not to mix them into one portion. 

Somali cats need free space for comfortable life. They remain active until old age. It is recommended to create a play area for these pets, so that they can climb, jump and play with hanging toys. Somali cats enjoy being walked on a leash in streets. If you live in a private house, you can let it walk in the yard.

Health and Illnesses

Somali cats can live up to 16 years if treated well. They have a strong immune system. These pets are prone to same diseases as Abyssinian cats. They might have such disorders as atrophic retinopathy, polycystic kidney disease and disturbed functioning of red blood cells.

Retinopathy affects lining of the eye. If it is not cured in time, the pet might become blind. Polycystic kidney disease leads to formation of cysts in kidneys. Their appearance disturbs functioning of kidneys and might lead to their failure. These disorders can be diagnosed at a young age thanks to genetic tests.

Somali cats might develop gingivitis because of malnutrition and problems with teeth. Gingivitis is inflammation of gums. If it is not cured, cat`s teeth start falling out.

History of the Breed

Somali cat is result of a genetic mutation of the Abyssinian breed. In 1940, an English cat owner Janet Robertson brought her Abyssinian cats to New Zealand, Australia, the USA and Canada. Her cats were giving birth to longhair kittens. Nobody paid attention to their appearance. Trying to achieve pureness of the breed, cat owners were giving away longhair kittens without documents. Parents of those cats were then excluded from the pedigree book. 

In 1963, longhair kittens were born in an American cattery of Evelyn Maggie. Evelyn noticed the feature of those cats and decided to develop a new breed — the Somali cat. That same year, her kittens participated in a local show in Canada. In 1965, the first Somali cat was registered in Canada. Seven years later, the first Club of Somali Cat Lovers was established in the USA. In 1978, the breed was officially recognized.