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An active, playful cat, the Somali is very social and enjoys interacting with people and other cats.

     Somali At a glance

Weight range:

Male: medium: 8-12 lbs.
Female: medium: 8-12 lbs.

Eye color:

Green, Gold


Longevity Range: 9-13 yrs.
Social/Attention Needs: Moderate, High
Tendency to Shed: Moderate, High


Length: Long
Characteristics: Smooth
Colors: Red, Ruddy, Blue, Fawn, Sorrel
Pattern: Ticking
Less Allergenic: No
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate, High

Club recognition:

Cat Association Recognition:

The Somali Cat Breed

Somalis are active enough generally to keep their weight under control if given enough space to jump and climb.

The Somali is a medium-sized cat with a long body and nicely developed muscles.

The Somali is moderate looking in all aspects with smooth planes on its head. It has a gentle dip in the triangular head. Its rather large ears sit tilted forward giving the cat an alert, aware look as if it is always paying attention to everything. The eyes, which look large in the face, show the alertness and intelligence inherent in the breed.

The coat on the Somali is full with exaggerated tufts of hair in the ears. The fur is soft without being woolly and the tail is fluffy like a fox's tail. The coloring of the Somali is special. The majority of the fur has bands of color on each individual hair, with the coat looking darker along the spine line. The color on the body softens and lightens under the neck and the underside of the cat and the insides of the legs. It has a wild look about it, but is not at all extreme except in the color of the fur, which carries bands of color giving it a richness and depth not seen in other breeds.


The Somali is an active cat who loves to jump and play. In spite of that, he is an easy cat to have in your home. Somalis love people and other animals. Somalis are social cats and like to have some company. This company can be provided by another cat or when people are not at home.

They will play with their own toys for hours, but also enjoy a good period of time of interactive play with their guardians. Somalis will talk in their soft, quiet voice.

Living With:

The Somali is loving and affectionate and loves to spend time with his guardian. While the Somali is a long haired cat, the coat is easy to care for since it is not woolly. A daily brushing as part of play time will keep the Somali's coat soft and silky. The cat will reward his groomer with a loving purr.

Somalis are active cats and generally will keep their weight under control with compensating exercise. They should have some high perches and cat trees available so they can jump and climb.


The Somali is essentially the longhaired version of the Abyssinian. The Abyssinian was developed in Great Britain from a cat brought into that country by Lord Robert Napier, following a military expedition to Abyssinia. The cat Lord Napier brought to Britain was named Zulu, and he was the foundation of the beautiful breed known today as the Abyssinian, as well as the Somali breed.

The unique ticking pattern on the coat of the Abyssinian reminded people of the camouflage pattern on the coat of the wild rabbit. In order to perpetuate this, Zulu was bred to random-bred cats that carried a similar look to their coat and the Abyssinian breed was created.

Some of the kittens born in the Abyssinian litters seemed to be long haired. Since long hair was not a trait desirable in Abyssinians, the long haired kittens born were altered and placed as pets. However, many breeders loved the way the long hair looked on Abyssinian cats and, in the late 1960s, these breeders created a longhaired version of the Abyssinian and called it the Somali. The beautiful ticked coat can be seen on the Somali just as it can on the Abyssinian. Thanks to its unique look, lovely personality, and its easy care, the Somali quickly became popular.