Published on 4 May 2021
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.
Cat Breed Facts & Characteristics
|Coast of the Indian Ocean coastal; Southeast Asia|
Also known as
|Fox cat; long-haired Abyssinian|
|Medium 3 to 5 kgs|
|3 to 5 kgs|
|Ruddy, Sorrel (red), blue, fawn, silver with distinctive “ticked” or Agouti pattern|
|9 to 15 years|
|Medium-long, regular grooming required|
|Affectionate, mischievous, intelligent|
Best suited for
|Households with time for a playful companion|
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.
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.
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|
|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
Most popular female names
Most popular male names
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!
- Cattime.com, Somali, Accessed on 23/03/2021
- The Cat Fanciers Association, The Somali, Accessed on 25/03/2021
- Wikipedia, Somali cat, Accessed on 25/03/2021
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