The Somali cat is an active, playful and fun addition to your home. They enjoy life and will take every opportunity to play, climb and cheer you up with their antics. This breed’s affection and devotion to their owners make them an excellent therapy cat.

Brief History

The Somali cat has an interesting origin and is descended from long-haired Abyssinian cats. Abyssinian cats bred throughout the 1960s were required to have a short coat of hair. Those with long hair were originally neutered or given away. Evelyn Mague was an American Abyssinian breeder and recognized the beauty of these “breeding mistakes” and decided to breed them separately. This was the beginning of the Somali cat. The breed was named such because Somalia is adjacent to Abyssinia, which is modern-day Somalia. The American Somali Cat Club was formed in 1972. The breed was accepted by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1979.

Physical Features

The Somali cat is a very graceful and exotic cat. They have beautiful, long haired coats that come in dazzling colors and shades. They commonly have colors such as ruddy brown, burnt sienna, sorrel, blue and fawn. They are also known to have exotic colors such as lilac, silver and chocolate. Their eyes are typically green or gold in color.

The body of this cat breed is long and athletic. They are muscular in a way that is mostly emphasized on their shoulders and back legs. The lower sections of their legs are slim and finish off atop small oval paws. The Somali cat normally looks as if they are walking on their tiptoes. Their tails tend to be full and features a lovely coat of fur that tapers off elegantly at its tip. Some unique characteristics of the Somali cat include the ruff on their necks and breeches on their legs. Notably, the ruff makes them look like a miniature, adorable lions.

Average Height:

13 inches

Average Weight:

6 to 13 pounds

Life Expectancy:

11 to 16 years


The Somali cat is a loving, high-energy and friendly cat. They enjoy being in social situations where there are with a lot of people or even other pets. They are active cats who love nothing more than playing all day. Somali cats do not like being cuddled too much and would rather have a lively game of fetch. This breed is never aggressive, which makes them ideal playmates for children.

Special Needs

Somali cats are prone to developing separation anxiety and quite a lot of discomfort if they are left alone for too long. Additionally, they are extremely curious, so make sure you put locks on things you do not want your Somali cat to get into. This cat also loves to play in water, so caution should be taken to ensure that faucets are firmly fastened and any open water reservoirs are covered.

Possible Health Concerns

If well kept and maintained, the Somali cat stays strong and healthy. However, some are prone to  developing illnesses like Hyperesthesia syndrome or patellar luxation. They also may suffer from progressive retinal atrophy and renal amyloidosis. This beautiful cat can also develop Pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD). This is a genetic disease. Speak to your vet for tips on what to watch out for when it comes to these illnesses.


The Somali cat has lots of energy to spare. To keep them in good physical and emotional state, ample exercise is in order. They can benefit from 2 sessions of exercise every day. These should last for 30 minutes each. They can entail intense playtime, running an agility course or simply a jog around the block or in the park. The Somali welcomes any sort of physical activity and will benefit from it as exercise.


The nutritional needs of the Somali cat involve particular nutrients. This cat needs to have ample levels of carbohydrates in their diet. This provides a good source of energy for their daily antics. They are not fussy eaters. Protein and minerals are also needed in this cat’s nutrition. This is to boost muscle growth and ensure strong bones. The Somali cat needs to stay hydrated. A bowl of cool, clean water should always be available to sip on.


The Somali cat has a thick coat of fur. To keep it healthy and strong, their grooming regimen should entail regular brushing at least once every 2 days. They should also have their teeth brushed and claws trimmed at least once a week. Their ears contain a lovely brush of fur. To keep them clean, they need to be gently dabbed with a soft cloth and a mixture of 50% water and 50% cider vinegar. Any tear stains should be wiped so as to get rid of the discharge. With this hygiene regimen, the Somali cat can stay healthy and happy.

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