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Somali Cat Personality: How Do Somali Cats Act?

Est. read time: 8 min.

When you see a Somali cat, you notice their thick, fox-like fur and poised stature. There’s something wild about the appearance of the Somali cat that is both intriguing and intimidating.

While these cats look like they could easily fend for themselves if left unattended, they actually crave attention and time spent with their humans. 

When it comes to adopting a cat or kitten, it’s always important to consider what you desire from the relationship. Do you want an independent cat? Do you live in a quiet area, or are there people coming and going frequently? How often are you at home? Do you travel a lot? 

None of these questions will lead you to the perfect cat, but they will help you understand what kind of personality you are looking for in your pet household. If you like the idea of a best friend that emanates fierceness but prefers to be at your side at all times, consider adding the Somali cat to your list.

Somali cat lying on side

Origin of the Somali cat

The Somali is a rare cat that isn’t as sought-after as you might think. Yes, these felines are incredibly gorgeous and regal, but they aren’t one of the more popular cat breeds.

That has nothing to do with their personalities but rather the active demand for them as a breed. If you are lucky enough to adopt a Somali cat, you’ll likely find a line of people hanging around your door waiting to give your new friend a welcoming pet. 

The Somali is the long-haired version of the Abyssinian cat, and it’s thought that they originated due to an introduction to the recessive longhair gene when other cats bred with Abyssinians. The long hair on these cats was very appealing, and breeders recognized that there could be people interested in the appearance of the Somali. 

Around 1965, breeders began developing the Somali as a breed and focused on making the long hair dominant. What resulted is the cat that we now know and love as the Somali. They were given the name to honor the geographical area where the Abyssinian cat originated (current-day Ethiopia). 

What does the Somali cat look like?

The Somali cat is known to have a rather athletic build that is long and lean. They are strong and muscular, although this is somewhat hidden under their long hair. These felines are powerful, and they know it.

You can tell how they walk and carry themselves what they might be capable of. (That is, jumping really high, chasing after toys for longer than you might think possible, and giving you lots of love.)

What stands out most about the Somali are their luscious locks, and their large eyes and ears that always seem alert. Their coats are extremely full, with tufts of hair around their ears that exaggerate their size. Their tail stands out, too, as it’s very fox-like, especially regarding the color. 

The colors of the Somali cat are truly unique. They come in red, ruddy, fawn, and blue, with dark-colored bands of fur surrounding lighter-colored bands so that the ticking is distinct and even. This gives these felines the illusion of a halo around their bodies. 

Somali cat looking out window with curtains

The personality of a Somali cat

If you’re looking for a cat with a big personality, you can find that in the Somali breed. These felines are known to be boisterous, bringing a lot of energy to the household. They aren’t overly loud, but they are nonstop.

They like to keep things moving and enjoy their life to the fullest. They aren’t very laid back… unless they want to be. These little adventurers would prefer to move from one interest to the next. 

Somali cats are intelligent and can cause a lot of mischief if they get bored. They’ll find ways to snoop around every inch of your home. They like to be the center of attention, even if that means creating commotion and spearheading diabolical (but fun) plans.

Before you get a Somali, you should make sure you have enough time and energy to care for this cat. They want to live their best life, and they want you to live your best life—so if you mutually agree that a companionship will work, you’ll have made a best friend for life. 

Playful and energetic

The Somali is an animated cat that likes playtime and interaction. They are capable of entertaining themselves, but they prefer a friend to play with. They like to make their humans laugh and can understand what their people are feeling. In this way, they are remarkably intuitive and good at sensing someone’s mood.

Everything you do with your Somali will be like a game to them. If you’re folding laundry, they might frolic after a pair of socks that rolls off the bed. They will run a ball down the hallway and bring it back to you one hundred times, never getting bored. They love to chase feathers and strings, so be careful when tying your shoes or fixing your curtains.

If your Somali doesn’t have enough toys to keep them entertained, you might see more of their mischievous side come out. 

Adventurous (and sometimes mischievous)

These cats like to know what is going on and want to be involved in all the drama—even if that drama is simply watching you picking up the mess of toys they left. They will observe you put everything away neatly before pulling each toy out one by one and scattering them all over the floor.

If you close a cabinet that they couldn’t get a peek inside, they will find a way to open and check it out. You may be resting peacefully in your bed in the middle of the night, but your Somali is not. Instead, they’re jumping from ledge to ledge, destroying any picture frame in their way. 

To subdue this mischief, you should have plenty of toys and cat furniture available to your Somali. Having these items set up in every room will keep them entertained as they travel throughout the house. 

Somali cat on shelf next to window


The Somali love their people and want to be with them. They will be at your side, following you from room to room. They like to be involved but aren’t overly fond of being cuddled or held. While they want to be near you, the Somali prefers to be on the ground (or nearby ledge) and in control of their own bodies. 

That being said, if they decide to climb onto your lap, don’t make a big deal of it and enjoy it while you can! If you freak out over the cuteness, they might get embarrassed and leave you in the dust.

They take well to new people and, as we've already stated, enjoy being the center of attention. They will make many appearances while your guests visit, vying for everyone’s attention and laughter from the crowd.

Is the Somali cat social?

The Somali cat is very social and does best in a house where someone is around all the time. If you aren’t able to work from home, you might want to consider getting your Somali a furry companion. They do well with both cats and dogs and other small house pets, just as long as there is a proper introduction. 

If you want to take some of the pressure off yourself to provide entertainment for your Somali, another Somali cat can really help. They can play with each other and talk back and forth all day long. You won’t have to worry about if they are lonely because they will have one another! And who wouldn’t want two of these beautiful cats in their home?

Is the Somali cat adaptable?

The Somali does well in a variety of environments, making them very adaptable cats. They enjoy being where their humans are, whether that’s on a farm, in an NYC apartment, or in a van (being walked on a leash from time to time). If they are with the people they love, they will be happy. 

Somali cat looking up from above

Adopting and caring for a Somali cat

It’s no easy feat to find the proper balance between entertainment, affection, play, and exercise for your Somali cat, but it’s always worth it. When you love every fiber of these long-haired cats, they will love you deeply in return.

Somalis do like being clean and comfortable, so it doesn’t hurt to have a self-cleaning litter box available for your cat. With Litter-Robot, your Somali always has a fresh place to go to the bathroom, and you never have to scoop.

Additionally, trimming their nails, grooming their long coats frequently, and taking them to regular vet check-ups can ensure your Somali is happy and healthy. 

Knowing what it is that you want from your companionship can make it easier to decide if the Somali is the right pet for you. If you want wild and crazy, loving and fun, the Somali cat can provide you with all that and more. The question is: are you ready to see for yourself?


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