November 1, 2018

The Somali Cat: The Mysterious Fox Breed

Reading Time: 4 minutes

cat that looks like a fox the somali red cat sitting on blanketSomali cats have been involved in mystery ever since they were first seen at a cat showing. The Victorian-era mascot is a beautiful and active cat who lives life to the fullest. Their unique coat, adorable litters, and adventurous spirit make the Somali cat breed stand out from the crowd.

Meet the Long-Haired Abyssinian — aka the Somali Cat!

The Somali cat were first known as Abyssinian cats. They were first presented to the European elites in Great Britain during the Victorian era. Zula, the Abyssinian cat, stole the spotlight from all other felines despite having been placed in third place.

A Brief History of These Beautiful Felines

When the Somali cat was introduced to European elites, it was thought they had come from present-day Ethiopia. However, according to modern-day science, we know the breed actually came from the Indian Ocean coast and from Southeast Asia.

We have the British and Dutch merchants to thank for bringing this species to Europe. They boarded ships (often without anyone noticing) at Calcutta and in several Indonesian ports.

After WWII, however, Somali kittens almost disappeared. Thankfully, a breeding program managed to save the Abyssinian kittens from extinction and made them more popular. Today, they’re still a rare breed but you can find them in households across Europe and North America.

Appearance and Personality of Somali Cats

Somali cats are a colorful cat breed that is loved for its unique appearance. The first thing people will notice about the breed is their ticked coat. The base coat can come in a variety of colours, and it’s not uncommon for one strand of hair to have multiple colours. The ones the Cat Fanciers Association recognizes are ruddy (also known as sorrel), red, blue, and fawn.

Their ticked fur can be either long or of medium length. The cats that have long hair are the ones that are commonly referred to as “fox cat.” Their fuzzy coats with colorful ticks at the end remind people of small and elegant foxes that still roam around.

The facial markings are also distinctive to the breed. They form interesting patterns around their eyes, sometimes like those of a raccoon. Their nose is also adorable, with small markings on their nose leather. Finally, their ears stand upright and have small tuffs at the top.

somali cats on table

Graceful & Sweet Tempered: Personality of the Somali

A somali cat loves to play. They’re a very energetic breed and love it when fellow cats and humans play with them. Somalis love to climb up trees and impress everyone by their acrobatic jumps. If they live in an apartment, they love opening and closing cupboards!

But as soon as playtime is over, they’re ready for some cuddles. The Somali is an affectionate lap cat breed that bonds with its owners. There’s nothing they love more than a nap on the couch after a long day of fun.

These ruddy Somali cats hate being left alone for long. They thrive on attention and affection. If you’re looking for a feline companion, look no further than the Somali breed.

Famously Known as the Fawn Cat: Here Are the Colours These Kitty Cats Come In

Somalis are colorful by nature. A single strand of hair often has more than two colors away from the base coat. But, when talking about the breed, the only officially recognized colors are fawn, ruddy (or sorrel), blue, and red.

There are some Somalis that come in a chocolate lilac color. However, these cats can’t participate in cat showings because this colour isn’t accepted in the breed standard.

So, Are These Kittens Hard to Groom?

Grooming is pretty straightforward when it comes to the Somali. Their coats should be brushed once or twice a week (or more often, if they have long hair). In the winter, you’ll probably have to brush your furry friend every day, as they tend to shed more.

You should also trim your cat’s nails once in a while when you feel they’ve grown too long. But beware not to cut too much — the breed loves scaling things. Also, you’ll notice a clump of hair between their paw pads. This is a normal feature of the breed that you can opt to keep trimmed or let it grow wild.

5 Facts You Didn’t Know About This Breed

Are you falling in love with the Somali cat breed yet? Here are five facts you might not know about them!

  1. They’re great with children! Kids love playing just as much as Somali cats do. But don’t forget, always keep an eye on them when they’re playing.
  2. Somali cats love heights. Like many other breeds, Somalis will find a way to climb atop every tall piece of furniture (such as cabinets, wardrobes…)
  3. They’ve only been a recognized breed since 1979 but have been around for much, much longer!
  4. Abyssinian cats are like dogs when it comes to playing fetch — they love it!
  5. Their fluffy and fuzzy coats are the result of a recessive gene.

But Is the Somali a Healthy Breed? Breed Health Concerns!

Somali cats are a healthy breed, but they’re predisposed to developing some diseases in particular.

Periodontal disease is something that plagues some young Somali cats. Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the tooth’s deeper supporting structures. It’s usually caused by food particles and bacteria that accumulate along the gumline.

Another illness that may affect your Somali kitten is Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency. It’s the lack of a certain enzyme in the system that leads to malfunctioning red blood cells. In extreme cases, it can lead to anemia.

Renal amyloidosis has also been reported in the breed. It’s a genetic condition that happens when proteins get deposited on vital organs. Unfortunately, it can lead to renal failure and death.

Somali cats may also have to deal with progressive retinal atrophy. This is the progressive deterioration of the eye that eventually leads to blindness.

Finally, hepatic lipidosis happens in Somali cats when some fat gets wrongly sent to the liver. The deposits build up and may lead to liver problems. This is most common in obese cats.

The Lifespan of a Somali Cat

Somali cats have long lifespans, usually living between 12 and 15 years. And, of course, they make the most out of them by playing whenever they can.

red somali kittens on blanket

Somali Kittens for Sale!

Are you dead-set on getting a Somali to join your cat-loving family? If so, the next step you must take is deciding where to get your new companion from.

A Bang for Your Buck: Somali Kitten Price

The average price of this rare and beautiful kitten is between $1000 and $1200. They’re certainly not cheap!

If you’re buying a Somali kitten, always make sure you get them from a reputable Somali breeder or Abyssinian breeder. Avoid cat mills and inexperienced breeders if you want a cat that is healthy and won’t be sick all the time.

If you’d rather adopt, there are some rescue organizations always looking for a new home for their Somali cats. Check online if there are any Somali rescue groups near you and schedule a visit to their facilities! There’s nothing better than helping out a cat needing for a new loving home.

A Velvet Coated Puss with a Fox-Like Tail… Who Couldn’t Fall in Love With This Kitty?

Abyssinian cats, as they were known, are awesome companion animals. Not only are they playful and enjoy making their owners laugh, but they also love cuddles and showing their love. Not to mention their striking features and soft ticked fur!

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