Somalis have bright, bubbly, energetic and loving personalities. They are very intelligent and active cats, whoSomali Cat demonstrate a real devotion to their staff. Somali cats are intensely affectionate to their people, and are usually extroverted and enjoy visitors also. These cats make their presence felt – they share their special joie de vivre with the humans in their lives. They often like to sit on your shoulder to supervise what you are doing, will help with the housework – they are great at making the beds!
Somali cats readily take to walking on a lead and playing games such as fetch. Although they can be boisterous in play, they are very gentle, and are excellent companions for older children. They are great family pets as they really give something special to each member. They may not want to sit on a lap for long periods, however they usually want to be close to you to be a part of whatever you are doing. They generally have a lot to get through in a day! One characteristic of many Somalis is the hairdresser gene they seem to love licking and grooming peoples hair.
The Somali has an elegant, athletic build that is medium in size. Males tend to weigh in at 4 – 5 kg, females slightly smaller. The face retains the tabby markings of the ‘M’ on the forehead, however the rest of the cat should be free of tabby markings. The ears are large and pricked forwards and the expression is alert and curious. Eyes can be green or amber, the richer colour the better.
In Australia Somalis are commonly available in the four eumelanistic colours of Tawny (called ruddy in the USA, usual in the UK), Cinnamon (also called sorrel), Blue and Fawn The above four colours are also possible in a silver version, called respectively Black Silver, Cinnamon Silver, Blue Silver and Fawn Silver. In silver colours, a particular gene inhibits the base coat colour, leaving the ticking on a white undercoat. Each colour has its own special appeal. In some states chocolate and chocolate silver are being bred.
The coat of the Somali really attracts attention the ticking gives a wild appearance that is very unusual for a longer haired cat. Each hair has bands of contrasting colour. The Somali coat is longest in the breeches, and the lovely ruff. A real feature of the Somali is the tail, which has earned them the name the Feline Fox. The beautiful coat is very easy to care for, due to the silky texture that does not have a tendency to matt. A weekly comb is all that is needed to keep the Somali looking and feeling good, and the cats enjoy this.
Although the Somali is an active breed, they make very good indoor cats. This is also strongly recommended, as their agenda-driven lifestyle does not allow for good road sense. Indoor life also helps to protect local wildlife. Somalis are intelligent cats who thrive on company therefore if they are to be regularly alone while you are at work, you should consider a second cat for company. Plenty of toys, attention, company and a cat gym are all that is needed to keep the Somali happy. Of course, once the staff return home, the Somali gives a full welcome party in their honour!
It appears that longhairs had been appearing in Abyssinian litters for many years and from the 1960s onward several dedicated breeders in Australia, the USA and England worked to attain full recognition and acceptance of the semi-longhaired cousin of the Abyssinian. The Somali is now accepted in registries worldwide. Breed Standards (the description of the ideal breed specimen) closely resemble the Abyssinian’s aside from the coat length.