Pet Advisor Blog

Somali Cat – Cat Breed Guide

Adopt a Somali Cat, Cat Breed Guide


The Somali is a domesticated cat breed that is basically a longhaired Abyssinian cat. Before being recognized as a distinct and separate breed from the Abyssinian, long-haired kittens have been appearing in Abyssinian litters. These longhaired cats were considered as very undesirable and often discarded or used as breeding stock.

Official Name

Also called Longhaired Abyssinian or Fox cat.


The Somali shares the early origins of the Abyssinian, as these longhaired cats are basically Abyssinian cats with longhaired coats. The modern Somali cats can trace their origins from the first Abyssinian cats that were imported to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States during the 1940s. The progenies of these British bred Abyssinians often produced longhaired and fuzzy coated kittens.

Quick FAQs

Size: The Somali cat ranges from small to medium in size.

Coat Type: Somali have short-haired coats.

Body Type: Somali cats should have a slender body.

Grooming Requirement: The Somali cat is a breed that can be groomed twice a month.

Vocal Tendency: Somali Cats are very quiet and rarely vocalize compared with other breeds.

 Energy Levels: The Somali are cats with very high energy levels.

Time Alone: This cat breed requires having 4 to 8 hours of personal time every day.

Care: This is a cat that requires lots of attention and will be quite a handful.

Recognized By

Cat Fanciers’ Association
The International Cat Association
American Association of Cat Enthusiast
American Cat Fanciers Association
Cat Fanciers Federation
Fédération Internationale Féline
Governing Council of the Cat Fancy
World Cat Federation
Livre Officiel des Origines Félines
Cat Federation of Southern Africa
Australia Cat Fancy
Canadian Cat Association
Clube Português de Felinicultura
Asociación Felina Española
Traditional Cat Association, Inc.


The Somali Cat shares the same history of the Abyssinian as this breed is basically a long-haired Abyssinian cat.

This particular cat breed can trace its roots to a cat breed that has existed across the coastal regions of Southeast Asia and other parts of the Indian Ocean. A remarkable resemblance of the Abyssinian cat with the African Wildcat, the famous progenitors of all the modern domestic cats, substantiates the results of this breed’s DNA research. Breeders from the United Kingdom commonly believe that the original Abyssinian breed has been extinct centuries ago and today’s breed is just a re-creation. This is somewhat factual as British cat fanciers initiated two separate revivals of this particular cat breed. The years before World War II and after the war, which forced British breeders to start the breeding program anew as all the specimen were destroyed. Today, most of the shorthaired Abyssinian cats can trace their roots to the cats bred in England and the United States after the Second World War The breed reached the United States during the early years of the 1900s. Serious breeding development by US fanciers started during the 1930s and since then, their numbers just exploded. It ranked as one of the most popular shorthaired car breeds in America, second only to the Siamese cat.


The Somali cats are not for the casual cat lover. These cats are not luxury pets that can be treated as an accessory to complement a home’s interior design and also not for those owners who enjoy cuddling their pets.
The Somali cat is a breed that will display a highly spirited disposition, often curious and always courageous. These are cats not for cuddling, but they aren’t aloof and not at all standoffish in nature. They will be involved in their owner’s lives, especially during supper time. They are also known for being the comics or clowns of the feline world as this shorthaired cat is famous for performing amusing antics especially in front of their owners. This cat breed is naturally athletic and capable of leaping very high.


The Somali cat is famous for its ticked or also called agouti coat. It is a very distinctive physical trait, showcasing a combination of colors on each of the cat’s hair shafts. Every hair shaft has bands that are darkly colored, with lighter colors on the end that is close to the cat’s skin. At the end of each hair, shaft is a dark-colored tip.

Every cat registry that recognizes this purebred has its own general standard of this breed. But generally, the Somali Cat is considered to be a colorful breed and distinctly famous for its ticked coat.

The Somali Cat is a very well balanced dog. Both this breed’s temperament and physical attributes are the models of stability. In modern cat shows, the trend for this particular breed aims towards a tapered and elegant muzzle with a body that is slim and ideally semi-foreign. This medium-sized shorthaired cat is light and should be graceful in its movements but also displaying their very developed muscular physique.

Head, Ears and Eyes
The head of the Somali cat is modified. It has large ears that always appear alert and pointed moderately. The large eyes are almond-shaped, expressive but not Oriental like and not round. Common eye colors are gold or green and accentuated by fine dark lines cover its eyelids.

Coat and Tail
Somali cats have dense long coats that have two or three dark-colored bands of ticking. This cat’s coat is fine, silky and very soft in texture. The breed’s tail is thick at the base that should be moderately lengthy and tapering.

All the North American cat registries recognize the Somali cat that has coat colors of Ruddy, Blue, Fawn and Sorrel. In the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, all four colors are accepted with an added fifth coat color that is silver.


Somali are cats known to be prone to various dental problems that include tooth decay and gingivitis. It is advisable to train these cats to submit to regular dental grooming, from brushing their teeth to applying fluoride cream. This short-haired cat breed is also known to be prone to a genetic renal disease called amyloidosis.



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