Somali is a domestic cat breed that is essentially a longhair Abyssinian. The cat resembles an Abyssinian in nearly every way apart from its longer fur. This is owing to the fact that Somalis originated from Abyssinians nearly half a century back. Theirs is an artificially created breed that began in ninety sixties when some longhair kittens were noticed in an Abyssinian litter. Normally these were seen as an undesirable feature by breeders for show class cats, and thus these animals were sold off as pets. With time, some people began to take interest in these pretty felines and started their development in earnest. Over the next couple of decades acceptance came from registering bodies. Today Somali is recognized as a breed in most parts of the world though it is not common everywhere.
Somali is medium in its size, body and appearance. It is relatively lithe but muscular with an elegant design. Fur is long and made prominent in a bushy tail and often in a ruff around neck. It is quite soft and occurs in a number of colors, with ruddy being the commonest, including fawn, lilac, blue, silver, cream and chocolate though not all colors are recognized everywhere. Individual hair are ticked and often have multiple color bands along their length. Eyes are lined with darkish color and perioral area is white. Owing to their wild looks and fluffy tails Somalis are often called 'fox cats'.
Owing to persistent inbreeding over time, Somalis have developed certain genetic defects in some of their lines. These include dental, blood and biochemical disorders. There are efforts underway to eradicate these through breeding and propagation of only healthy genes. Generally though these cats are quite healthy and in fact easier to handle than most longhairs since they shed very little. They lose their hair altogether once or twice an year and don't shed continuously.
Somalis are playful and interactive cats who love to participate in all chores and activities of their humans. Loving animals, they are quick to adjust to a multi-pet household with children. All they require is some space and attention from their humans. Somalis are not very vocal and are best suited to an indoor lifestyle. They are energetic and inquisitive and spend a lot of time daily playing and exploring everything around the house. Some of them are reported to have a fondness for playing with water and grooming their humans' wet hair. Adoring and intelligent, Somalis are a source of joy and contentment for every family that is fortunate enough to possess them.
Images © Warren Photographic - Warrenphotographic.co.uk
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