The Somali is a very colourful cat which makes it stand out well. The cat is intelligent, curious and very active. Thanks to the large plumed tail and the full collar this cat has a somewhat regal appearance. The cat also looks a lot like the Abbesijn. Curious where this comes from? You can read it here!
Ancestry: descended from the Abbesine who has a rich history.
The Somali is a long-haired Abbesian. The Abbesijn is a breed of cat that has been around for a very long time. This breed is one of the oldest domesticated cats there is. In romantic stories from the past the cat is also called ”blue nile”. The cat has been given this nickname because it is believed that the cat is a descendant of the holy cat from ancient Egypt as the cat has many similarities with this holy cat depicted on ancient murals. There are also people who say that English soldiers took a cat called Zula from Abyssinia from which modern day Somali descended. However, no genetic evidence of this has ever been found. Recently, studies have shown that the ancestors of the Somali came from India in the Gulf of Bengal.
Around 1900 the Abbesijn was first seen in the United States. In 1909 the cat was present at an exhibition for the first time. In 1930 the breeding of Abbesines started in the United States. The cat became very popular very quickly because of the beautiful coat pattern, the beautiful personality and speaking eyes. In the beginning breeders of the Abbesijn refused kittens with long hair. They thought this did not fit within the breed standard of the Abbesijn. Other breeders liked these long hairs and deliberately bred them. This is how the Somali came into being. So the Somali is a long-haired Abbesijn and apart from these long hairs it is identical to this cat. Yet the Somali is registered as a different breed. Since 1979 the Somali is registered as a breed cat with the Cat Fanciers’ Association.
The character: a very active cat who likes to be among people
The Somali is a very intelligent cat who is very curious. The cat is full of zest for life and finds everything that happens around it interesting. For example, when you are doing the laundry or cleaning the room, there is a good chance that Somali will come around the corner to see what is happening. This breed of cat has a lot of energy and loves to play games. It should be noted that cats are slightly more active than males. As an owner it is important to respond to this and give your cat enough attention. If you don’t do this, the cat will get bored which is not good for his state of mind. By getting enough active toys in the house but also freeing up enough time for your cat, you make sure that Somali can use his energy well. Because the cat has so much energy it is not a real lap cat. The cat has too much energy to sit still for a long time. When you are looking for a lap cat, choosing Somali is not an optimal choice.
Furthermore, the Somali is very loving and builds a strong bond with his or her owner. In a multi-person household the cat often has a slightly stronger bond with one person than with the rest. This is not very bad as the cat can also give the rest of your family enough love. The cat loves human companionship very much. Furthermore, the cat is very self-confident so the cat also gets along well with other animals and unfamiliar people. Also as a show cat this is a very good trait. The Somali is also very alert and usually reacts very well to its owner.
Appearance: a beautiful cat with a regal appearance
The Somali has a very coloured appearance which makes the cat stand out. It often takes up to 1,5 years before the cat’s coat has reached its full colour. The cat is medium sized and has big muscles. This means that in general this cat also has a fairly large appearance. The weight of the cat is usually between 2,5 and 6 kilograms. It should be noted that in general males are a bit bigger than females and therefore also a bit heavier. Because of the long plumed tail and the full collar the cat has a somewhat regal appearance.
The body of the Somali is also medium in size and freely muscled. These muscles are not very noticeable as the body of the cat is nicely rounded. These curves should not be confused with excessive fat, in general the Somali is in excellent condition. The back of the cat is slightly curved which can make it look like your cat is going to jump. There is no need to be afraid of this, this is the natural posture of this cat. Males are a lot bigger than females. This difference in size is especially noticeable in the body. Furthermore the cat has a very long and full fluffy tail. This fluffy tail is one of the characteristics of this cat that many people fall for. The legs are quite long and slender but are nicely in proportion with the rest of the body. The legs are still quite muscular, even though they look quite slim. This makes the cat stand very firm on the ground. The legs are oval and rather small in size.
The size of the head of the Somali is well in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is a bit wedge shaped with nice curves. The snout is nicely rounded and goes along with the shapes of the head so that the head of the Somali looks nice as a whole. The snout is not sharp but has a bit of a blunt end. The chin is full and round and the cheeks are especially visible in males. The ears are quite large in size and stand in an alert posture. This means that the eyes are standing up nicely. The ears are quite far apart and are in the shape of a point. Because the ears allow a bit to the side, the space between the ears and the head looks a bit like a bowl. The eyes are large in size and in the shape of an almond. The Somali has very expressive eyes with a dark border around them. The fur around the eyes, on the other hand, is in a lighter colour than the rest of the body. The eyes of a Somali are mainly found in the gold, copper, green and hazelnut colour. Generally money that colours with a deeper colour are preferred.
The coat of the Somali
The coat of the Somali is medium sized. The coat of the Somali is that which makes this cat different from the Abbesijn. The coat is very soft and feels silky. The cat has a very full collar and also at the belly the coat is longer. Furthermore the coat is quite full which makes it resilient. When you push the coat down with your hand it will jump up again. The coat is quite close to the body. Furthermore the coat is longest at the back and a bit shorter at the side, the legs and the head.
The coat colour of the Somali is warm and fiery. The coat is very colourful and has a ”ticking”. This ”ticking” is in dark colours and contrasts with the lighter colours of the rest of the coat. The undercoat has a bright colour and is bright against the skin. Cats without the markings of ”ticking” on the underside, chest, paws and a tail without rings are preferred. These are only characteristics that matter to show cats. As a domestic cat this is not really important.
The colours in which the coat of the Somali is found are:
- Pale yellow
In the reddish variant of the Somali, the ground colour is the colour of dark rock with the ”ticking” being dark brown or black. With this ”ticking” the tips of the hairs are darker in colour. The nose leather of this coat colour is tile red and the cushion colour of the paws is black or dark brown. The hairs between the toes are black.
In the red variant of the Somali, the ground colour of the coat is warm red. The ”ticking” is chocolate brown in colour with the tips of the hairs being the darkest. The nose leather is somewhat reddish pink and the cushion colour at the paws is pink. The hairs between the toes are somewhat chocolate brown.
In the blue variant of the Somali, the ground colour is warm beige. Here the ‘ticking’ is slate blue and the tips of the hairs are darkest again. The nose leather is pink and the cushions at the feet are light purple. The space between the toes is just like the ”ticking” slate blue.
In the light yellow variant of the Somali, the ground colour is a little rose beige. On this ground colour a ”ticking” takes place which is light cocoa brown in colour. The tips of the hairs are darker in colour. The nose leather has the same colour as salmon and the colour of the cushions at the feet is pink. The space between the toes is light cocoa brown, just like the ‘ticking’.
For the precise appearance and colours of the coat it is wise to take a look at the breed standard of the Somali.
The upbringing: let a kitten grow up in a quiet environment.
To develop well, it is very important for a kitten to grow up with the mother cat and his or her litter. This is a familiar environment where a kitten can learn in a quiet way what life is all about. It is unwise to take a kitten away from the litter and the mother cat before the 12th week, as a kitten is not ready for this yet, both physically and mentally. If this is done there is a chance that a cat will develop anxiety disorders and become shy of humans. This can often be seen the rest of the cat’s life.
So this first period in the life of the cat is very important. This period is also called the socialisation period and lasts until a cat is about 14 weeks old. During this period a kitten is house-trained, gets used to strange noises but also learns to deal with setbacks. The mother cat will make clear to the kitten that not everything goes the way the kitten wants. The mother cat will do this for example by not accepting the kittens sucking on her nipples after a while. The mother cat teaches the kittens to become independent.
In addition to the role of the mother cat, man also has a great influence at this stage. It’s important that kittens get used to the presence of humans in the first phase of their life so they don’t become shy. This way a kitten learns it’s not so scary to be picked up and a kitten learns to get used to human touch. It may also be wise for a kitten to get used to other animals at this stage so that there are no problems in the later life of the kitten.
Because this socialisation period lasts until a kitten is about 14 weeks old and breeders only give their kittens when they have reached an age of about 13 weeks this whole socialisation period takes place at the breeder. When you get your kitten from a breeder it is wise to check if the breeder has paid enough attention to this. Often you can see at first glance if a kitten is shy of humans or if it is used to human touch. It may also be wise to take a good look at the mother cat, as there is a good chance that your kitten will take over a large part of the mother cat’s behaviour.
When you have taken your cat away from a breeder and take it into your home, it is important to make the rules that apply in your home clear to your cat. You can do this simply by punishing and rewarding your cat. If your cat exhibits undesirable behaviour, you can take them to court. By doing this immediately after the unwanted act, the cat will recognise a negative relationship. The same goes for rewarding good behaviour. By giving or petting your cat immediately after good behaviour it will recognise a positive relationship and will behave more often.
The care: give your cat enough attention and love
The Somali is very loving and loves to spend time with the owner. An important part of caring for a Somali is to give it enough attention and love. Moreover, the Somali is by nature a very active cat. This means that the chance of being overweight with too little movement is quite big. As an owner it is therefore important to make sure that your Somali gets enough exercise. You can do this by playing a lot with your cat but also by getting enough active toys in the house. It is also wise to get scratching poles and climbing posts in the house so that the cat can use his or her energy well.
The coat of the Somali is quite long so you would expect it to need a lot of grooming. Luckily this is not that bad because the coat is not really woolly. Nevertheless it is wise to brush the coat daily when playing with the cat to keep it in top condition. By doing this daily the coat stays nice and soft and silky to the touch. In the moulting period – the period in which a cat changes coat – it may be wise to spend some more time grooming the coat.
It’s also important to take good care of your cat’s nails and keep the eyes and ears clean. For the nails of a cat it is wise to get a scratching post in the house. By scratching a cat cleans its nails and keeps them in good condition. It is also wise to cut your cat’s nails a couple of times a year to prevent deformities. As far as the eyes and ears are concerned, it is important to keep them clean. By removing the dirt that can accumulate here in time, you prevent the development of infections.
Nutrition: ensure a well-balanced diet
When feeding cats you can choose from two different types of food. Wet food is a dry food. For example, wet food means raw meat. Wet food is a very good source of nutrition for cats as cats are by nature true carnivores. The cat’s natural food is the mouse, which allows cats to get the most nutrients from meat. For example, natural proteins and fats are very important for your cat’s good health. Raw meat contains enough of this and is very similar to the cat’s natural food. In addition, raw meat contains a lot of moisture, which is also good for your cat’s health. Cats naturally drink very little and by giving your cat raw meat they can maintain their fluid level. The disadvantage of raw meat, however, is that it contains a lot of rubbish and cannot be kept for long.
In addition to raw meat, you can also choose to feed your cat dry food. Dry food means, among other things, cat kibble. The advantage of this food is that it has a long shelf life and gives very little mess. A disadvantage is that it doesn’t really look like the cat’s natural food and often contains quite a lot of carbohydrates. This while cats are not very good at processing carbohydrates. Dry food like cat food is good for a cat’s teeth on the other hand. By chewing the hard kibble a cat’s teeth will stay in good condition and tartar will be prevented.
For a good and balanced diet for your cat, it’s wise to combine both wet food and dry food. When looking for suitable dry food, it is important to look carefully at the labels. For example, check that the food contains enough natural proteins and that it doesn’t contain too many unnecessary additives such as flavour enhancers. This is not always good for your cat’s health.
Just like people, cats can also face health problems. For example, there are a number of hereditary diseases that can affect all cats. Examples are hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a hereditary heart defect) and polycystic kidney disease (a hereditary kidney disease). Almost all breeders test the cats they breed with for these diseases so that the chance of transmitting this disease to the litter is as small as possible. Breeders often also give a document with a kitten in which the absence of certain diseases is guaranteed.
In addition to these general diseases, there are often a number of diseases that are more common in a particular breed than in other breeds. With the Somali the chance of progressive retina atrophy (PRA) is quite high. PRA is a deterioration of the retina that gets worse over time. This condition is quite serious and is common in Somali. It is untreatable and over time your cat will go blind. This is the symptom in which you can recognise this disorder. The sight of the cat is getting worse and worse. Most cats are completely blind at the age of 5 years.
How old can the Somali get?
A Somali becomes between 10 and 15 years old. This is just not a fixed fact and it can be that your cat gets a lot older or less old. For example, by taking good care of your cat and providing it with good food, it is likely that your cat will live to be 15 years old or even older. If your cat has a disease, life expectancy will actually decrease. In this case, there is a chance that your cat won’t even reach the age of ten.
What you need to know before you take the cat into your home
Before you take in a cat, it is important that you prepare yourself well. Inform yourself well about what is involved in bringing a cat into the house so that you don’t have to face any surprises. It is also important that you choose a cat with a character that fits into your household. For example, are you very much away from home? Then don’t go for a cat that demands a lot of attention.
When you are looking for a litter, it may be wise to contact a breed club or association. Breed clubs and associations are committed to the interests of a certain breed and their owners. Through these extensions it is often quite easy to get in touch with a breeder.
When you choose your kitten from a litter it is important to see if the breeder has paid enough attention to the socialisation of the kittens. Check if the kittens are used to human touch and look relaxed. Furthermore it is important not to go for the most beautiful kitten, but to choose a kitten that suits you well in character. It is also important that a cat is dewormed, has the basic inoculations and that the cat is chipped if necessary. Often this has already been done by the breeder.
What price do you have to think of?
The price of a Somali is usually between $600 and $1800. This price can differ per breeder and depends on supply and demand. It also matters if a kitten is of ”pet quality” or if it is of ”show cat quality”. Kittens that are suitable for show are a lot more expensive than regular pets.
Your experiences with the Somali
Do you also have a Somali in your house? We are very curious about your experiences with this cat! For example, do you have a nice story to tell about your Somali or do you have any tips for caring for a Somali? Let us know by leaving a comment on this article!