The Somali is of medium build: firm, lithe and muscular. The head is half-wedge-shaped with smooth contours and the ears are set wide and tufted. The eyes are almond-shaped and quite far apart.


Breed Origin:
Life Span:
11 - 17+ years
Average Weight:
6 - 10 lbs
Hair quantity:
General health:

Origin and History

The Somali breed emerged in the 1960s and 1970s when long-haired kittens began appearing in Abyssinian litters, the result of a recessive gene present in the Abyssinian population. Initially viewed as a curiosity, these long-haired kittens captivated breeders and cat lovers alike with their extraordinary beauty and charming personalities. Efforts to establish them as a separate breed were successful, and the Somali was officially recognized by major cat associations. The breed’s name is derived from Somalia, the country neighboring Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia), reflecting their close genetic and geographic connection to the Abyssinian.

Physical Characteristics

Somalis are medium-sized, muscular, and agile cats with a striking appearance. Their most notable feature is their luxurious, ticked coat, where individual hairs are banded with multiple colors, giving the fur a shimmering quality. The coat comes in several colors, including ruddy, red, blue, and fawn. Their large, almond-shaped eyes can be green, gold, or copper, adding to their expressive faces. The breed’s bushy tail, tufted ears, and ruff around the neck give it a wild, yet elegant look.

Personality and Temperament

Somalis are known for their playful, curious nature. They remain kitten-like in their energy and playfulness well into adulthood. Highly intelligent, Somalis enjoy puzzle toys, interactive play, and anything that challenges their agility and wits. They are affectionate and sociable, often following their human companions around the house, offering their “help” with household tasks. Despite their active nature, they also enjoy cuddling and will seek out warmth and affection from their owners.

Care and Health

The Somali’s long coat requires regular grooming to prevent mats and tangles, especially during the shedding season. Brushing a few times a week and occasional baths can keep their coat in top condition. As with all breeds, maintaining a healthy diet, providing plenty of exercises, and ensuring regular veterinary check-ups are essential for a long, healthy life. Somalis are generally healthy, but they can inherit some genetic conditions common to Abyssinians, such as renal amyloidosis and pyruvate kinase deficiency, so regular health screenings are recommended.

Living with a Somali

Living with a Somali cat is a rewarding experience that brings energy, joy, and beauty into your home. Their playful and affectionate nature makes them excellent companions for families, singles, and seniors alike. They do well in environments where they can receive plenty of attention and have space to explore and play. Providing a variety of toys, climbing structures, and interactive playtime will keep them entertained and engaged. For those seeking an active, intelligent, and loving cat, the Somali is an exceptional choice.

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