Somali cat with green eyes
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Somali Cat Breed Profile

Est. read time: 10 min.

These wild-looking, long-haired cats will wow you with their fierce beauty and outgoing nature. Unlike any domestic feline variants you’ve seen before, Somali cats are known for their long, luscious, ruddy-colored locks. Though they look a bit like fox cats, the Somali is a deeply friendly breed 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 encounter 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 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!


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. 


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


The Somali cat's coat is arguably their most stunning feature. Their ticked 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, lilac, 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, a few training sessions can help 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 gene that causes long hair was introduced to the Abyssinian breed 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 cat 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, climbing all over cat trees, and keeping you well-entertained. As long as you keep them moving, they can stay happy and healthy.

They have large, alert, and pointed 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 shaggy. Their bushy 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

If a ball of energy and endless entertainment is what you seek in a pet, then the Somali cat is your perfect match! These cats are known for their charismatic personalities that can turn even the most ordinary days into extraordinary ones. Here's a more detailed look at their distinctive personality traits and some of their common behavioral tendencies:

  • Animated: Somali cats are like little sparks of joy, full of life and energy. Their enthusiastic and vibrant personalities can certainly brighten up any home.
  • Playful: Playtime is all the time with Somali cats. They love interactive play and have the unique ability to turn the simplest things into exciting toys, be it a dust bunny floating in the air or a crumpled-up piece of paper. They surely know how to make their own fun!
  • Mischievous: Curiosity is the name of the game for these cats. They are adventurous explorers that love to investigate every nook and cranny. Whether it's an ajar cabinet or the highest shelf, nothing is off-limits for these curious creatures.

This mischievous nature, while entertaining, can also lead to some behavioral challenges. For instance, Somali cats have a knack for getting into places they shouldn't. So, you'll need to cat-proof your home to prevent them from getting into trouble.

  • Attention-loving: Somali cats have a strong social nature, so they just love being the center of attention. They'll pull pranks and perform all sorts of antics to keep you engaged. However, they prefer to keep their paws on the ground, so don't expect too much lap time.
  • Active: If your lifestyle is more laid-back, a Somali cat might just be the motivation you need to become more active. These energetic felines need an equally lively pet parent who can keep up with their high energy levels.

Due to their active nature, Somali cats require special accommodations when it comes to their play and litter needs. Their playful disposition means they need a variety of toys and climbing structures to keep them entertained and prevent destructive behavior. Additionally, their high activity level might necessitate more frequent litter changes or even a self-cleaning litter box. Trust us, these little adjustments will make living with your Somali cat a more harmonious experience!

Somali with Litter-Robot and credenza

Caring for the Somali cat

While having a Somali cat is a rewarding experience, it comes with certain responsibilities. Here's what you need to know to keep your Somali cat healthy and happy:

  • Frequent grooming: Somali cats are known for their luxurious, silky coats. A regular grooming routine (two sessions a week) is a must for maintaining their lustrous fur and preventing it from getting tangles and knots. 
  • Regular nail trimmings: Those sharp little claws need to be kept in check with routine nail trimming. If your Somali cat doesn’t enjoy this branch of cat care, then giving them lots of love and a few treats can be an acceptable way to bribe them. 
  • Annual veterinarian appointments: Regular vet visits are crucial for monitoring your cat's health and catching any potential health issues early. The best way to ensure that your Somali cat reaches the tail end of their average lifespan is by undergoing these important visits. 
  • Dental care: Somali cats also need dental care. Regular teeth brushing or professional dental cleanings can help prevent periodontal diseases and other dental related issues. 

Possible health issues

Like all breeds, Somali cats are prone to certain health issues. Regular vet check-ups are crucial for early detection and management of these conditions:

  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency: This genetic condition common in Somali cats can lead to anemia, resulting in symptoms like fatigue, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, and poor coat quality.
  • Renal amyloidosis: This condition occurs when an abnormal protein, called amyloid, gets deposited in the kidneys, leading to kidney dysfunction. Symptoms might include excessive thirst, frequent urination, loss of appetite, weight loss, and lethargy. 
  • Eye conditions: Some Somali cats may develop progressive retinal atrophy, which can cause blindness. They are also susceptible to corneal amyloidosis, where abnormal protein deposits build up in the cornea. Symptoms to look out for include cloudiness in the eye, excessive tearing, or your cat squinting or pawing at their eye.

Bringing a Somali cat into your life is a commitment, but the love and entertainment they provide make it all worthwhile. Remember, a healthy cat is a happy cat, so don't skimp on the care! Regular vet visits and close monitoring of your cat's behavior and health can ensure they live a long and happy life.

Somali cat with golden eyes

Price of the Somali cat

If you're charmed by the fox-like allure of a Somali cat and are considering welcoming one into your home, you might be wondering about the cost. 

Somali cats, while rare and exquisitely beautiful, aren't the most expensive cats on the block. For a pedigreed Somali kitten from a reputable breeder, you can expect to pay anywhere between $800 and $1,500. The price can vary based on factors such as the kitten's lineage, the breeder's reputation, and your geographical location.

Adult Somali cats can be a bit more budget-friendly, especially if you adopt from a rescue organization. Adoption fees typically range from $75 to $200, a small price to pay for a feline companion that'll keep you entertained with their playful antics and warm your heart with their affectionate nature.

Remember, the initial cost of your Somali cat is just the beginning. You'll also need to budget for ongoing expenses such as food, litter, toys, grooming supplies, and routine veterinary care. And given the Somali's potential health problems, it's wise to set aside a little extra for unexpected vet bills.

Despite the costs, having a Somali cat is a rewarding experience that's worth every penny. Their outgoing, adventurous spirit combined with their stunning looks will make you feel like you've struck gold in the cat world!

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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