The Somali is aware of his wild beauty and loves to show off. Strong and elegant in appearance, it has a darker stripe around the spine or, in the case of the legs, up to the heels.
This breed is genetically related to the Abyssinian . In fact, for a time it was called a ‘ long-haired Abyssinian ‘. Apparently the recessive gene for long hair was not shown until the second generation, these specimens being separated at first.
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Characteristics of the Somali cat
This breed preserves the color of the Abyssinian mantle, with the mottled pattern being the most characteristic. The tip of the hair is darker on the head, on the back, on the tail and on the inside of the legs.
- Origin America (United States)
- Medium size
- Weight from 6 to 8 kg males and 3.5 to 5 kg females
- Semi-long, fine and silky hair. Color: fawn (dark cream on a beige background), sorrel (chocolate stripes on a peach background), ruddy (black stripes on a peach background) or blue (cream stripes on a bluish-gray background)
- Cuneiform head with well defined contours, reminiscent of the ragdoll head
- Large, wide, pointed ears
- Almond-shaped eyes, in shades of green, gold, hazelnut or copper and framed by the dark skin of the eyelids
- Long, thick and pointed tail. Similar to that of a fox
- Estimated longevity of 10 to 12 years
- Difficulty caring for it low
Character of the Somali cat breed
The Somali is a cheerful, mischievous and very active cat. It needs its space to unleash its games and hunts . It is not an ideal breed for homes with limited space. He gets along well with children and is affectionate, although he will not constantly demand your presence.
His ears always raised give an idea of his alert temperament and always ready to undertake new endeavors. His independent character is due to his capacity for sufficiency. Not in vain, it will not cost him to ignore your reprimands.
Of course, when he needs your affection, he will know how to let you know with his closeness and soft meow. It will be the happiest cat in the world if you have a garden with trees . Otherwise, give him a cat tree.
Recommended care for the Somali cat
The length of its coat requires regular brushing , especially of the neck and tail. You should do this 2 or 3 times a week with a separate metal bristle brush. In this way, you will ensure that the remains of dead hair are removed.
The paraffin or malt for cats will help your little friend to expel hairballs more easily. If you wish, you can also brush the strands of his ears using a small comb. This way, you will get the most out of its wild appeal.
Remember to sanitize your eyes with the help of a gauze moistened in water or physiological saline several times a week. Proceed in the same way, once a week, with the ears.
Given your daily physical activity, your diet should be rich in proteins and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to promote the care of your muscles, joints and your skin. Rationing your intakes will prevent you from becoming overweight by eating more than you should.
Health problems of the Somali cat breed
This breed shares with the Abyssinian the prevalence of progressive retinal atrophy. This hereditary condition can take up to 6 years of life of the cat to manifest itself. Night blindness is one of the main symptoms that should alert you.
Chronic gingivitis is a very common oral problem in this breed, kidney dysfunctions , pyruvate kinase enzyme deficiency and neonatal isoerythrolysis are the rest of the most outstanding pathologies in this breed. The latter becomes fatal in the offspring by triggering acute anemia.
The mother’s and father’s blood groups are incompatible and kittens develop antibodies with consequent excessive secretion of hemoglobin. The enzyme kinase has a similar effect on red blood cells, causing anemia and compromising well-being.
There is no treatment to reverse this disease, although blood transfusions improve the quality of life of the animal. However, it is also true that carrier cats may not develop their consequences.
History of the breed and fun facts
In 1940 Janet Robertson exported Abyssinians from England to the US and Australia. By crossing them with long-haired cats, long, dark-haired kittens were born. The first official Somali litter took place in the US in 1967.
It is believed that before the Abyssinian retreat in the context of the 2 world wars, Abyssinians were crossed with Siamese and Persians . Their long-robed descendants were discarded a priori.
Decades later it was decided to fix these characteristics to create an independent race of the Abyssinian . Today, they are cats of great beauty that add hundreds of admirers and that compete as worthy candidates for competitions of semi-long-haired feline breeds.
The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) officially recognized the breed in 1978, while the International Feline Association (FIFe) did so in 1983. In Europe, a German breeder imported several Somali specimens in 1977, thus promoting the introduction of the breed.
In 1982 the Somali was a well-known cat on the old continent.
The breeders Ken McGill and Evelyn Mague baptized these specimens as Somali to distinguish them from the Abyssinian, since Somalia borders Abyssinia, present-day Ethiopia, the country of origin of the Abyssinian.
As a curiosity you should know that these cats do not adapt well to humid and cold climates. Take this into account if the temperatures tend to be low in your place of residence, as it could be costly.