Somali cat with green eyes
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Somali Cat Breed Profile

Est. read time: 7 min.

These wild-looking cats will wow you with their fierce beauty and outgoing nature. Unlike any domestic feline you’ve seen before, Somali cats are known for their long, luscious, ruddy-colored locks. Though fox-like in looks, the Somali is a deeply friendly cat that is always looking for attention and love from their humans.

The Somali breed isn't very common, despite their unique beauty and playful personalities. So when you enounter a Somali cat, be sure to treasure the moment. 

Somali cats are strong and alert to their surroundings. They are great watch-cats and entertainers because of their curiosity and love for their families. Want to learn more about the Somali cat breed? We thought so.

Somali cat ...at a glance
Personality Outgoing, adventurous, entertaining
Life expectancy 11-14 years
Weight 6-12 lbs
Coat & colors Long or semi-long; red, ticked tabby
Energy level High
Affection level High
Friendliness High
Shedding level Medium
Required grooming Medium

Somali cat lying on wood floor

Overview of a Somali cat

The Somali cat is a small- to medium-sized cat that is well-proportioned and very muscular, though their long to semi-long fur hides their lean bodies. These cats appear wild yet elegant, with ear tufts and fluffy fur on their chest. This gives them a broad and regal look. 

If their appearances haven't intrigued you enough, just wait until you hear about their family-oriented personalities!

Weight

Most Somali cats weigh between 6 and 12 pounds, making them a small- to medium-sized breed. 

You might assume they are larger cats. Nope! This is just one of their magical traits. Under all that fur, there is lean muscle honed by their high activity levels. 

Length

Somali cats are not overly lengthy, typically between 11 and 14 inches long. Their tails are strong, compact, and proportionate to their bodies. 

Coat

The Somali cat's coat is arguably their most stunning feature. Their coat comes in several colors but is always long to semi-long, luscious, and lovely. You’ll see Somali cats in the colors red, ruddy, blue, fawn, and sorrel.

The undertones to their coats are warm and glowing, with ticking that is distinct and even throughout, usually with darker-colored bands that contrast against lighter-colored bands. Why can’t human hair look this cool?

Their coat is super soft, extremely fine, and double-coated. This means you’ll need to groom your Somali at least twice a week to ensure their coat stays healthy and soft. Usually, you can train your Somali to enjoy the grooming process to make it easier on both of you. 

Life expectancy

Somali cats typically live 11 to 14 years when properly cared for. They require enough exercise to keep them lean and muscular, as well as nutritional meals each day. Regular veterinarian checkups are also essential for your Somali cat.

Somali cat sitting up

History of the Somali cat

The Somali is considered the long-haired version of the Abyssinian cat, but their origins are a bit hazy. It’s theorized that the Somali cat came about when the recessive longhair gene was introduced to the Abyssinian as other cats began to breed with them. 

The first Somali was referred to as the “long-haired Abyssinian” at different cat shows in Australia in 1965. After this showing, breeders recognized the true appeal of the long-haired Abyssinian and began working to establish the breed known today as the Somali.

Now, the Somali cat is recognized by all cat associations but is still considered a rare breed. It’s very unlikely that you’ll meet many Somalis in your lifetime, so if you decide to adopt one, you might be the one person in your circle with this breed. Everyone will be interested in your stunning house cat, so be prepared for curious guests.

Characteristics of the Somali cat

The Somali cat is athletic and active. They love to play and pounce, chasing after their toys and keeping you well-entertained. As long as you keep them moving, they can stay happy and healthy.

They have large, alert ears that showcase little tufts and always pay attention to their surroundings. Their eyes are bright, expressive, and usually green or gold in color, a sparkling contrast against their deep-colored coats.

A Somali’s chest fur is thicker and longer than the other fur on their bodies, and their tails are just as bushy. Their tails slightly taper off at the end and are usually around the same length as their torso, keeping their bodies rather proportionate. 

Somali cat sitting under table

Personality traits

The Somali is a very animated cat that loves to be the center of attention. They are funny and playful, pulling pranks and making you laugh because they love when you interact with them.

They are easy to entertain because anything and everything can be a game for them. They will chase around a piece of dust on the floor, go after a crumpled-up piece of paper for hours, and try to capture shadows when the light begins to change. 

Somali cats are incredibly mischievous. They will get into anything possible if they are curious about it. If you don’t close a cabinet all the way, they will open it and take a peek. They’ll climb on every shelf and make daring jumps to and from ledges. Provide them with cat furniture if you don't want them using every facet of your home as a jungle gym!

These cats aren’t for hands-off pet parents just looking to relax. The Somali is active and energetic, and they need you to be too.

While these cats want you to interact with them, they don't prefer being picked up or held. They will likely try to get out of your arms quickly and aren’t the breed to crawl onto your lap for a cuddle. If they do, however, don’t move—this might be your only chance for a Somali lap cat!

Somali with Litter-Robot and credenza

Caring for the Somali cat

Taking care of your Somali cat requires frequent grooming, regular nail trimmings, and annual veterinarian appointments. You will want to brush their teeth or have your vet perform teeth cleanings to protect against dental issues.

Somali cats also need a clean and comfortable space to use their litter box. If you can’t scoop the litter box frequently, you might want to consider Litter-Robot. This self-cleaning litter box provides your cat with a fresh place to go even when you aren't home.  

Grooming

Somali cats have silky and fine fur that needs frequent grooming to keep from tangling and knotting. If you groom twice weekly or so, it won’t become a problem, and their coat will stay stunning and healthy.

Giving them lots of love and a few treats can make the grooming process more manageable (we support this type of bribery). Soon, it will become a time for bonding rather than suffering through the process. 

Possible health issues

Many cats are prone to genetic diseases, and though typically healthy, the Somali is no exception. Similar to Abyssinians, Somali cats can develop pyruvate kinase deficiency, which can cause anemia. Symptoms might be fatigue, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, and poor coat quality. 

Additionally, Somali cats might develop eye conditions like progressive retinal atrophy, which can lead to blindness in cats. Genetic tests can determine if some of these conditions might impact your cat. 

Somali cat with golden eyes

Loving a Somali cat

Taking care of a Somali requires time, effort, and determination—but it’s so worth it! They are intelligent and friendly cats that always want to be around their humans.

They rely on you to keep them happy, and they crave human interaction. When you live with a Somali, your days are never boring. It’s time to get creative if you want your leather furniture and potted plants on shelves to stay pristine. 

If you are looking for a beautiful feline that will impress everyone with their outgoing personality, the Somali is the perfect cat to bring home.

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