Somali Cat Breed

Known as the cat with a smiling face, Somalis have a medium-sized body with a unique appearance. Somalis are highly intelligent, good-natured and spirited. This cat breed is more friendly and loving than their Abyssinian cousins and genuinely enjoy human company.

Somali cats are a mix of beauty and disposition, a bright cat, high spirited, and devotion to human companionship. Somali is the essence of everything most cat lovers and enthusiasts want in a feline companion – intelligent, energetic, attentive and enthusiastically engaged in everything that catches their curiosity. Somalis are devoted, affectionate, brilliant and very interactive with their human companion and their environment. Their high energy and curiosity level make them highly interested in everything around them and what their family is doing. They like a great view of their surroundings, so expect them to find them perched on top of the refrigerator, furniture, and bookcases.

Somali is an incredibly beautiful cat. The combination of their ticked fur in a range of colours, their stunning facial markings, their large ears and their bright, expressive eyes gives the Somalis a wild look that easily captivates many cat lovers.

Considering their origin story, it can be easy just to say that they are “just” a long-haired version of the Abyssinian cats. But Somali cat owner will tell you; differently there’s so much more to the story. 

Somali Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws

Breed Information

20-25 cm
3-5 kg
Life Span:
11-16 years
Active, Playful, Social, Intelligent, Friendly
Energy Level:
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Somali Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws
  • Grooming: Twice a Week 6/10
  • Shedding: Medium 6/10
  • Hypoallergenic: Low 2/10
  • Activity Level: High 10/10
  • Playfulness: High 10/10
  • Friendliness to other pets: High 10/10
  • Friendliness to children: High 10/10
  • Affection towards it’s owners: High 10/10
  • Vocality: Low 2/10
  • Intelligence: High 10/10
  • Independence: Low 2/10


Cats similar to Somalis are defined as “mistress of the embalming house” found in the papyrus of Nespaheran in c900 BC. They have ruff, alert expression, with cupped ears and a brush instead of a tapering tail. However, the semi-longhaired cat breed was not bred precisely until the early 1960s in the United States by an Abyssinian breeder. As stated, there is evidence of longhaired Abyssinian kittens that dates back to the 20th century. Abyssinians have always been used for outcrossing for Somalis to preserve a healthy gene pool, with the resulting short-haired kittens that are very adorable.

The Somali BAC sought to apply for recognition of Somali Shorthairs in their own right in 2010. They wanted to retain the slightly shorter wedge and more generously rounded muzzle that is preferred in Somali cats and their very soft, fine coat found in the semi-longhaired breed. The GCCF granted the Preliminary Recognition in 2011, proving a successful venture. Moreover, our Short-Haired Somalis gained Championship status in June 2014 but are shown in the Semi-Longhaired Section. 

Somali Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws


Somali Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws

Somalis come in a fantastic variety of twenty-eight colours, including the usual rich golden brown, sorrel, a rich copper, lilac, chocolate, blue, cream, fawn, silver, and tortie and tortie silver colours.

Their head forms a medium wedge with moderate contours. Their nose has a small nose break, and their chin is firm. Their forehead should be high with good width between their ears. Their ears are set wide apart but not low. Also, they are big, broad-based and well-cupped, with little tufts favoured. Their almond-shaped eyes are set well apart and expressive. There is a dark shade to emphasise their eyes. Paler spectacles also circle it, and short dark lines appear at both sides of their eye, while the inner lines are perpendicular and the outer ones point towards their ear.

Somalis have hazel, amber or green eyes. The deeper and richer it is, the better. Their medium-sized body is firm, agile and well-muscled. Their long legs have oval paws, and their long tail is ng. Well-defined ticking is vital to the Somalis. There should be at least three bands of the ticking colour on each of their hair, giving it six contrasting colour sections from base to tip. The ticking is frequently slow to develop in Somali kittens, but there should be some indication of ticking on their shoulders at twelve weeks. Their ear tips, facial markings, tufts, heels, toe tufts, top and tip of tail are of the same colour as the ticking. Their semi-longhaired coat should be soft and delicate. It should be dense but lying flat along their spine. Semi-long all over, except on their shoulders, where a shorter length is allowed. All other points being equal, options should be given to the Somali with a ruff and full breeches. Ruff and breeches may not be visible in kittens. Their tail should form a full brush. Short-haired Somalis have a medium-length coat and are smooth, dense and fine but close lying. Their coat will be equally uniform in length with no ruff, toe tufts, brush or breeches. A coarse or overly rough coat in the shorthaired Somali is to be considered a major fault. 


Somalis enjoy outdoor exercise access but do note that these beautiful cats can wander off. A fenced backyard is ideal, but this cat will adapt to indoor life if this is not feasible. Just make sure that there are plenty of toys, scratching posts and interactions are given. Somalis are loyal, loving, natural clowns but highly intelligent and interactive with their human companions and environment. They love to “talk” to you and help you with whatever task you are doing. No place ever goes unexplored or undiscovered to this cat, yet rarely do knock anything off a shelf.

Somalis are fantastic feline companions who are genuinely interested in everything around them and what everyone is doing. They love a good view of their surroundings and are amused by whatever moves outside.

Because of their high energy and curiosity levels, Somalis seldom visit your lap or find a way to spend time with their beloved human companions. Moreover, the way this cat transforms from a radiant and regal presence into a remarkably playful character within seconds is impressive. These felines are engaging companions for people of all ages. Somalis are the happiest in the company of others. Because of this, they are best suited with a family with someone who can spend ample time at home, including an older kid who can train and play with them. Because they desire companionship, they will always find ways to be involve in their family’s activities. Moreover, Somalis enjoy the company of another cat with a alike active nature for playing or cuddling. 

Somali Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws


Somali Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws

Somalis show a strong curiosity about their surroundings. They enjoy toys and places to explore and climb. This cat breed is known to be agile and athletic, and they can be found to climb up a cat tree or being active on the exercise wheel. Amused by whatever moves outside, installing a bird feeder visible through a window is a must.

Impressively, Somalis can make a toy out of anything small and light enough to bat around like ping-pong balls, twist ties, pieces of paper and the like. They are outstanding climbers and explorers. They are smart enough to figure out how to open doors and cabinets, and some even have been known to turn on faucets.

This cat breed is a brilliant cat and can learn tricks well and enjoy performing and being the centre of attention. Challenge their bright minds and keep them focused by teaching them commands, games and tricks. Give them many puzzle toys and other interactive toys that will reward them with kibbles or treats when they learn how to operate them.

Somalis are smart enough to stay away from toddlers and smaller children, but school-age children are an excellent match for the Somali’s big ball of energy and playfulness. These good-natured and welcoming cats can get strongly dedicated to their human companion. And when Somali is properly socialized and trained during their kittenhood, they will thrive on being a well-rounded and well-mannered feline companion. 

Coat & Care

Their medium-length coat requires a moderate amount of grooming. Comb their coat once or twice a week using a stainless-steel comb to eliminate dead hair, avoid or remove tangles, and distribute skin oils. When the Somali cat is shedding their winter coat during the spring season, you may need to comb them daily. A bath is beneficial when the Somali is shedding because this will help eliminate excess hair more rapidly. Check their tail for traces of poop stuck on their fur.

Teach your Somali to get used to being combed or brushed at an early stage. You can start training them by using a very soft brush that doesn’t pull their coat or cause damage to their delicate skin. Every after brushing or combing, give your Somali a reward for behaving well. Once they are used to the regular coat care, you can use a more effective brush or comb appropriate for their age.

Although daily teeth brushing is the best at keeping your cat’s teeth and gums healthy, weekly brushing is adequate. It can already avoid periodontal disease and other gum diseases. Trim their nails twice a month or when needed. Wipe its corners with a clean, soft, damp cloth to eliminate any eye discharge for their almond-shaped eyes. Make sure to use a different cloth in each eye to avoid infection.

Make sure to check their ears regularly. If their ears are dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or a clean, soft, damp cloth moistened with vet-approved ear cleaner. You can ask for your vet’s advise on how you can effectively clean your Somali’s ears. If there is a foul odour, it is best that you contact your vet immediately for proper treatment.

Their litter boxes should always be clean as they can be picky about their toilet hygiene. If it is left dirty, it can get to their coat and may cause matting and tangling. Also, they may tend to develop a bad habit of using any spot in your house as their toilet. 

Somali Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws


Somali Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws

Somalis are generally healthy cats. Their life expectancy is between ten to nineteen years with proper care, exercise and a high-quality diet. However, just like other cat breeds, they can still experience health conditions such as:

  • Early-onset periodontal disease – commonly known as gum disease. It is one of the most common dental diseases cats might suffer from.
  • Hyperesthesia syndrome – is a neurological health problem that causes cats to excessively groom themselves.
  • Patellar luxation is a congenital health condition where dislocation of their kneecap can range from mild to severe.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy – is a group of degenerative eye diseases that affect photoreceptor cells.
  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD) – is a genetic disease seldom encountered in Abyssinian and Somali cats and also reported rarely in the domestic shorthair cat. It is inherited hemolytic anaemia, which is caused by insufficient activity of its namesake regulatory enzyme.
  • Renal amyloidosis – is a genetic health condition that happens when a type of protein called amyloid is deposited in their body organs, primarily in the kidneys in Abyssinians and Somali cats.

Children & Other Pets

The active, playful, and social Somalis are ideal for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. They can play fetch and learns tricks very quickly, and enjoys the attention they receive from children who treat them respectfully. They are smart enough to get out of the way of young children but adores school-age kids because they match their energy level and curiosity. Always supervise younger kids to avoid accidents and won’t hurt the cat by pulling their fur or twisting their tail.

Nothing scares Somalis, not even dogs, and they will giddily make friends with them if they don’t give them any trouble. These amicable cats have also been known to get along well with ferrets, parrots and other animals. However, it is always recommended to introduce pets gradually and in controlled environments to make sure that they learn to get along well together. 

Somali Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws