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Somali Cat

What could be better than an Abyssinian? A long-haired Abyssinian, of course. Meet the Somali! 

The Somali (also known as a Fox cat or long-haired Abyssinian) is thought to have arisen after World War II when long hair cats were introduced into the small number of remaining Abyssinian’s at the time. Some breeders disliked the long-haired Abyssinians; however, others were inspired, and this resulted in the Somali breed. The name Somali came about as Somalia it the neighbouring country to Ethiopia which was previously known as Abyssinia. 

Somalis are a medium cat, weighing around 3 to 5 kg. They have the “ticked” or Agouti pattern of Abyssinians where each hair is two or more colours. The colours are typically ruddy, Sorrel (red), blue, fawn and silver and combinations of colours. They have a luxuriously fluffy tail, like that of a Fox.

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Cat Breed Facts & Characteristics

Origin

Coast of the Indian Ocean coastal; Southeast Asia

Also known as 

Fox cat; long-haired Abyssinian

Size 

Medium 3 to 5 kgs 

Weight Range

3 to 5 kgs 

Colours

Ruddy, Sorrel (red), blue, fawn, silver with distinctive “ticked” or Agouti pattern

Life expectancy

9 to 15 years 

Coat

Medium-long, regular grooming required

Temperament 

Affectionate, mischievous, intelligent

Activity levels

High

Best suited for 

Households with time for a playful companion

Apartment Friendly

Yes 

Personality 

Like Abyssinians, Somalis are mischievous cats who are also very affectionate. They are said to love time with their human families. Because they tend to enjoy companionship, they can become lonely if left for long periods of time. They may therefore be better suited to a household where someone is home to keep them company, or perhaps adopting two could be a way to ensure they have suitable company if you are out a lot. They are well suited to apartment living if they are given plenty to keep them occupied. Somali cats are playful well into adulthood, so providing them with cat trees and toys is vital. Keep your Somali cat indoors or in a cat friendly enclosure to help keep them safe from roads, other cats and snakes as well as helps to keep wildlife safe from your cat.

Grooming 

With a medium to long coat, gentle, regular brushing a couple of times a week will help to remove shedding fur. You may not notice your cat scratching like you would with a dog, but the cat flea "Ctenocephalides felis" is the most common flea found on both dogs and cats. So, make sure your kitty is on flea control all year round and tick control if you are in a tick area. 

Feeding

When choosing a food for your Somali, select a premium food appropriate to your cats age and life stage. Ensure that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size to help avoid obesity and ensure your fur baby gets appropriate nutrition. Always ensure your Somali has a constant supply of fresh water available, and consider providing them with a water fountain, as many cats prefer drinking moving water.

Common health concerns 

The five most common reasons for a Somali to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data from 2016 to 2020 include eye conditions, gastrointestinal upsets, foreign body or toxin ingestion and lameness and other musculoskeletal complaints. 

Traumatic accidents including cat fight abscesses and claw injuries were also noted as the top reason for Somalis to visit the vet from 2016 to 2020. It may be possible to lower the risk of your cat from having a traumatic accident by keeping them indoors or in a cat safe enclosure. 

Table:  The five most common reasons for a Somali cat to visit the vet (excluding for routine visits like vaccinations), PetSure claims data from 2016-2020

Rank

Condition

Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)

1

Traumatic accident, including cat bite abscesses, wounds

$311

$781

2

Eye conditions,

$109

$317

3

Gastrointestinal conditions

$314

$1,454

4

Ingestion of a foreign body or toxin 

$325

$870

5

Musculoskeletal conditions, including lameness and tendon problems

$360

$783

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular Somali names (PetSure data 2017-2020)

Most popular names

  1. Coco
  2. Jasper
  3. Charlie
  4. Indigo
  5. Khaleesi
  6. Leo
  7. Merlin
  8. Possum
  9. Sammy
  10. Bailey

Most popular female names  

  1. Coco
  2. Billie
  3. Chewbacca
  4. Daisy 
  5. Evie
  6. Jaffa
  7. Jojo
  8. Khaleesi
  9. Millie
  10. Mittens

Most popular male names

  1. Jasper
  2. Charlie
  3. Indigo
  4. Leo
  5. Merlin
  6. Bailey
  7. Ben
  8. Billy
  9. Enzo
  10. Finn

Did you know?

Despite their names, neither the Abyssinian or the Somali are from Africa, and their genetic tracing suggests that they are from coastal regions of the Indian Ocean as well as Southeast Asia. 

Where can I get a Somali cat? 

Somali cats are fairly uncommon in Australia. If you are looking for a feline companion, shelters generally have many beautiful cats looking for loving homes. It may be possible to find a Somali through a breed specific rescue. But check out your local animal shelter or rescue organisation where you may just find your perfect longhaired kitten or cat! 

References

  1. Cattime.com, Somali, Accessed on 23/03/2021
  2. The Cat Fanciers Association, The Somali, Accessed on 25/03/2021
  3. Wikipedia, Somali cat, Accessed on 25/03/2021

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Noah
Noah
Bei Bei
Bei Bei
Meeka
Meeka