Attractive, confident, fun-loving, easy to care… a Somali kitty has all those characters which make her a purrfect pet.
The Somali is a longhaired Abyssinian. The Abyssinian originated in Egypt and indeed is a descendent of the cat that was revered in Ancient Egypt thousands of years ago. Abyssinians have been bred for many years, but in the 1950’s, longhaired kittens started to appear in litters of shorthaired Aby’s. Understandably, the breeders were most perplexed and quite often secretly gave these kittens away. After many years of campaigning to have these fuzzy Aby’s registered as a separate breed, they were finally recognised and named after a neighboring country to Abyssinia, Somalia.
Somalis are sweet-faced, lithe, muscular cats with an overall impression of alertness, intelligence and keen curiosity. A standing Somali should almost give the impression that he’s standing on his toes. The best term for a Somali would be “moderate” — medium hair, medium size and medium type.
Somalis generally have longer hair over their chests (the “ruff”) and on their hindquarters (the “breeches”). Their tails are full and brushy, almost like that of a fox. Another distinctive characteristic is a black stripe down his back, large ears and a full ruff and breeches. Their kohl-eyes are the result of a dark rim around their eyes. A small amount of white is found on their muzzles and chins/throats.
Somalis come in a wide range of colors, but always with the same coat pattern. The four main colors are Tawny (Coppery Red), Cinnamon (Fox Red), Blue (Slate Grey) and Fawn.
Beauty with brains…
Somalis are active, playful, interactive cats. Like their parent breed, the Abyssinians, Somalis seem to wake up every morning with a “to-do” list. They should be given plenty of room to run, lots of individual attention and play, and a variety of toys. Some will play fetch while others like to be cuddled, sometimes-mischievous Somalis will rush around finding ‘things’ to investigate and play with. They have quiet voices and are quite tolerant and nonaggressive.
People who do not appreciate a lively, attention-seeking cat, will not enjoy Somalis. They are very good with kids and are best suited to families that can offer lots of affection and attention to the cat. Somalis are also great for the active older people as they are great companions. Some are devoted lap cats and are forever following “their” human around. They enjoy the company of other animals as well as people.
Dressed to kill…
The Somali is often referred to as the “wash ‘n’ wear cat” or the “lazy man’s Longhair”. Possessing all the beauty of a longhaired cat, but they do not require the degree of maintenance, which is involved with other longhaired breeds. They require just a quick comb or brush once a week. Somalis are quite easy to bathe and some enjoy the experience.
If you want a cat who is playful and interactive, Somali is the right choice for you.
(Dale Plummer’s cattery is called Shilao Somalis in Australia.)