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Somali Cat Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

The Somali cat breed is an interesting one because for all intents and purposes, it’s basically just a long-haired version of an Abyssinian cat.


If you ask us here at IndulgeYourPet is pretty awesome because first, we’re a bit fan of any kind of long-haired cat.  And second, we’re really BIG fans of the Abyssinian cat breed so this is basically the best of both worlds!

But just because…

We happen to be really big fans of the Somali cat breed doesn’t mean that this “type” of cat is going to be “right” for you.  That’s why in this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss what it might be like to own a Somali cat so that if you ever get a chance to actually own one, you’ll know for sure if it’s a good idea.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Somali Cat Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  United States of America

Size:  Medium

Weight:  8 to 10 pounds

Eyes:  Almond-shaped (green or gold)

Head Shape:  Rounded, wedge shape

Lifespan: 9 to 15 years

Origin of the Somali Cat

As we stated before, because the Somali cat breed is essentially a long-haired version of an Abyssinian cat, in order for us to understand where the Somali cat comes from, we first need to understand where the Abyssinian cat originates from originally.

And this is where things…

Can get a bit “dicey” because this is a topic that is sure to cause quite a few “cat fights” among any cat enthusiasts simply because there are so many theories out there.  Most of which haven’t been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt leaving many to wonder what’s true and what’s fiction.

That said however…

The majority of folks seem to agree that the Abyssinian Cat breed originated from the ancient lands of Abyssinia which is now modern-day Ethiopia, which is why they are known today as the Abyssinian cat breed.

But there are also…

A few reports and studies suggest that the first members of the breed may have dwelled along the coast of the Indian Ocean, and a few areas of Southeast Asia.

There are even others…

Who claim that the Abyssinian cat breed was actually first bred first in the United States back in 1935.

This latter idea…

However, is not one that we here at IndulgeYourPet subscribe too, despite the fact that we as American’s would love to be able to take credit for being the origin country to this magnificent cat.  We just tend to believe that this is where folks start to confuse the Abyssinian cat breed that has been around for 100’s of years and the Somali breed which is a relatively “new” to the scene.

You see…

While the true origin of the Abyssinian cat breed remains somewhat of a mystery, folks are pretty sure where the first Somali cat came from.  In fact, they even know her name:

“Raby Chuffa of Slene”

Raby Chuffa of Slene…

Was born in American in 1953, and while one actually knows where the gene that makes a Somali cat look like the long-haired version of an Abyssinian came from, they do know that Raby was the first to exhibit this trait.

The strange thing is…

When breeders first saw these long haired Abyssinian kittens, they weren’t impressed and actually tried to avoid creating them at all.  That is until one breeder, Evelyn Mague, who wasn’t appalled by these creatures, so she began to breed them.


She found another breeder, Don Riching, and together they set to breed these long-haired Abyssinian cats which they chose to name Somali as an acknowledgment of that country’s geographic status as the next-door neighbor to Ethiopia (formerly known as Abyssinia).”

Then in 1979…

The Somali cats were “officially” recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association.

Somali cat breed physical attributes

The Somali cats are best known for their bushy tails. They’re actually sometimes called “fox cats” because of this feature.

That and their…

Large almond-shaped eyes, which can be gold or green, and large pointed ears—another reason they’re known as the “fox cat.”


Medium-large sized cat has a soft coat because their hairs are fine in texture. They feel like silk. And while most Somali cats will tend to be red, don’t be surprised if your breeder offers you a few other options including:

  • Blue,
  • Ruddy,
  • Or Fawn.

Or perhaps a mixture of one or two due to the fact that the Somali coat is a “ticked coat” meaning that their fur will have both light and dark colors, though all of the same color.

Another unique feature…

To the Somali cat is that they always seem to appear to be walking on their tiptoes.  A look that is certainly accentuated by their lean, muscular body and round wedge-shaped head.

Somali cat breed temperament

The Somali cat is one of the most playful cats out there. They’re filled with endless energy and curiosity. Expect to find this cat constantly jumping, climbing, and running to get a look at the animals and people walking outside.

Which means that…

You’re going to want to get them lots of toys to play with because they’ll love all of them. They’re fast learners and they’ll eagerly learn the tricks that you teach them. If you want them to join you on your daily walks, you can teach them to walk on a leash, and they’ll be excited for the new adventure.


They’re such curious cats, they’re very adaptable. They’re great with new environments because they bring new opportunities to explore different things.

You’ll also want to remember…

That these guys love heights, so you’ll find them perched on your refrigerator, on a bookshelf, or the highest point in your home. If you have fragile things on shelves, you don’t really have to worry because they’re graceful, and they won’t push down things just because they can. (Okay, sometimes they will, but not always!)


They’re going to want your attention all the time. They love being the one thing that you focus on, and if you’re scrolling away on your phone, don’t be surprised when they tap your hand for attention.

This is why…

We’ll often recommend these cats to those with small children around the house because often times, it will take a small army of children to wear your Somali out, and because they’re great with kids, these guys can often make a great baby sitter/entertainer!

Somali cat healthy issues

The most common health issue is called pyruvate kinase deficiency. This is a hereditary disease that runs among Abyssinians, too. The pyruvate kinase (PK) is a regulatory enzyme that metabolizes sugar. If a cat lacks this enzyme, they can develop intermittent anemia. 

This can appear…

In cats anywhere from between 6 months and 12 years. There is a DNA test that allows you to see whether or not a cat has PK deficiency. It’s good to have your Somali tested because not all cats show signs. These signs include depression, pale gums, lethargy, and a lack of appetite.

This cat can also have a disorder called renal amyloidosis, which can lead to blindness.

Some diseases are genetic in nature, and these diseases include:

  • periodontal disease,
  • hyperesthesia syndrome,
  • and patellar luxation.

And while…

It’s true that these diseases are not necessarily life threatening, most if not all can become quite expensive to treat particularly if they recurring.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet always advise any new pet owner to take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy on their new loved one.  This way if they ever do become sick or injured in the future, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of the cost of treatment.

For more information on who we “feel” currently offers some of the “best” pet insurance policies on the market right now, be sure to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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