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Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > Somali Cat Breed: Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Somali Cat Breed: Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

blue Somali cat

The Somali cats are intelligent, elegant, and lively cats. They also enjoy the company of people and other animals. They look similar to the longhaired Abyssinian, but they have several distinctions.

These cats are curious explorers and like checking out new environments. Because of their playful nature, you can expect the cat to be your longtime companion and friend. With a Somali cat, you never experience a dull moment!

Breed Overview


7 – 11 inches


6 – 10 pounds


11 – 16 years


Cinnamon, gray/blue, red/orange, fawn

Suitable for:

Active families, those looking for a cat to entertain and play with


Bold, sociable, intelligent, easy to train, pet friendly

The Somali cat has smooth planes and a gentle dip in the head. The ears are tilted forward, always making the cat look alert. The eyes are large, showcasing the intelligence and alertness in this breed. They have soft fur and a tail that resembles a fox’s tail.

The mischievous nature of the cat makes them natural entertainers. They do well if you spend most of your time at home. The cats may be in trouble when you are not around. So, before you buy one, you need to be well prepared. The best option is to have another cat for companionship.

Somali Cat Characteristics

High-energy cat will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy cats require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a cat to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train cats are more willing and skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Cats that are harder to train are usually more stubborn and will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some cat breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds' potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other animals. More social cats have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches, while less social cats shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to lots of different situations.


Somali Kittens

cute somali breed kitten little cat is sitting on a sofa
Image by: Olga Kri, Shutterstock

Before investing in a Somali cat, it is good have information about the breed. You should be aware of its lifespan, health issues, temperament, how easy it is to train, and other details. The information helps you know how to handle the cat and what you need to keep it healthy and happy.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Somali Cat

If you want to adopt a Somali cat, know that these cats need attention. This is not the type of cat that will remain docile, sleeping on the sofa all day. They will always want to be the focal point or center of attention. If you teach it a particular game, be ready to play on and on without stopping.

The cats are also excellent snoopers, explorers, and climbers. They tend to be dexterous enough to think of how they can open doors and cabinets. Moreso, you can find your Somali cat opening your faucet to enjoy a splash.

These cats are intelligent, meaning they can learn and apply different tricks. They like to be the center of focus. The cat can avoid toddlers, those who they cannot play with. But you will find it following bigger kids who can match their playfulness and energy levels.

With this level of temperament, you should choose a Somali cat from breeders who raise the kittens in the house and deal with them from an early age. This ensures that you get a cat with nice temperaments.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

The Somali cat is one of the best breeds you can have in your home. The cats enjoy being in the company of humans. They like playing and usually don’t change their kitten behavior even when they become adults. The cats are perfect for families and singles. The cat can join you when resting on the sofa for company.

With their playful nature, you should always ensure that their exercise and playing needs are met. This is the best way to keep the cat motivated and happy at home. If you meet these needs, then you can expect to enjoy a great bonding experience with your pet.

The cat relates well with your kids since they also like the playful nature of the children. However, you have to be on the lookout, especially with toddlers, to ensure the games don’t cause injuries. This is because the cat can get hyperactive at times and injure your toddler.

If you want a pet to entertain you all day, a Somali cat is a great option. The cats are playful, energetic, and humorous. They will always be active, moving around to find what is happening in your house.

beautiful somali cat sitting by the window
Image by: Helen Pettigrew, Shutterstock

Do Somali Cats Get Along with Other Pets?

A Somali cat also gets along with other pets at home. They don’t like being left alone for an extended period. So, it is also advisable to have other pets around to give your cat company when you are not around.


Things to Know When Owning Somali Cat

Food and Nutrition Requirements

It is good to provide your Somali cat with the food and other necessary nutrition. Somali cats are muscular and active; thus, they require nutritious foods with high protein content to stay healthy. Feed the cat with foods such as chicken and fish while avoiding those with unessential fillers without any nutritional benefit.

Just like other cats, Somali cats are obligate carnivorous. Their diet should also have a high amount of minerals, vitamins, and essential fats. Choose nutritionally complete food made specifically for cats. Never give your Somali cat food developed for dogs or other pets. That food won’t provide your cat with the proper nutrients it needs to thrive.

As you choose food for the cat, consider the age, special health needs, and lifestyle. You can get brands with several recipes for cats with different needs. Make sure you adhere to the instructions on the label. This helps ensure you give the right amount of food to your cat.

If you are not sure about the type and amount of food to give your Somali cat, ask for advice from your veterinarian.

somali cat playing with the wand
Image by: Chernenko Ekaterina, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐈

Somali cats require an exercise schedule to keep fit and healthy. They possess a lot of energy and will not rest unless they are tired. The good thing is that the cats can entertain themselves as long as they have enough space, several toys, and other perches to play on. Thus, they can work out on themselves without you getting involved.

However, just providing them with exercise tools is not enough to keep them happy and healthy. A guided workout session is a great way to provide them with the proper exercise. You can help improve their strength and athleticism by taking advantage of your vertical spaces.

The best way to exercise a Somali cat is by making it climb and jump because of its athletic nature. Since these cats are social, it is good to have another pet in your home to make them remain active. They like other cats with the same high energy.

You can also teach your Somali cat to walk on a leash. They are explorers, so they will enjoy moving to the outside world with you. With their self-assured and brave attitude, they are great walking companions.

Training 🧶

Somali cats are active, but this doesn’t mean that they will all take training easily. However, since they are curious, people-oriented, and aggressive, training is easier and more enjoyable than most other breeds. The most effective way to train them is by providing them with treats. They like attention but love their favorite treat even more.

So, get some treats for the training and start with simple commands such as shake, sit, and rollover. These cats can even be trained to fetch, and once they master the game, they will always want to play it daily. They will want you to stop what you are doing to play with them.

Training the cats is a great way to keep them away from problems because of their curiosity and hyperactivity. For instance, you can train it to stay in a particular place when performing other vital tasks at home. Give the pet a lot of cat-friendly edges and trees where you train them to sit and wait for their favorite treats.

Somali cats are pleasant pets, but they can sometimes be stubborn. Thus, training is a great way to ensure that they adhere to the required house rules. Positive reinforcement is critical to ensuring that your cat will never disappoint.

An added advantage of Somali cat training is that it provides mental stimulation. Thus, you should offer cat training that allows them to think and get more engaged.

Somali cat sitting
Image by: R. Hutch Photography, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

One important thing to know about the Somali cat is that they have an elegant and distinct coat. The coat is rare since you don’t find it with most other cat breeds. The ticked coat features banded hair. Each of the hair follicles contains both dark and light color bands. This makes the cat have an appealing and complex coat. You find darker fur around the spine and head, with gray or lighter auburn on the entire body.

However, even with the complex nature of the coat, grooming is easy. You should comb or brush after every two to three days or as required. This ensures that the lightweight fur doesn’t tangle. Somali cats also shed but lack the downy undercoat that can give you a hard time. The shedding usually picks up with the change of the season. However, it doesn’t happen like other similar longhaired cats.

You can opt to bathe your cat, especially if it used to be bathed when young. However, be careful to avoid stressing it with the bathing. After all, it has a clean fur coat, and bathing may be unnecessary. You can also give your Somali cat favorite toys, delicious treats, or some ear scratches. Brush the cat teeth every week, and you use cat-friendly toothpaste.

From time to time, you should also wash your cat ears. Check them for any signs of bad smell or redness. These might be signs of ear infections that require instant attention. Use a cotton ball and the right solution to clean the ears. After every few weeks, you should also trim your cat’s nails.

Health and Conditions 🏥

All cat breeds are susceptible to certain genetic diseases. Somali cats are not an exception, but they are less prone to many common diseases. They are usually affected by a hereditary health problem known as pyruvate kinase deficiency, which leads to anemia. When buying from a breeder, request them to test the cat for this condition before you buy.

These cats are also susceptible to an eye condition known as progressive retinal atrophy. This issue causes blindness in pets. Again, before you purchase them, ask your breeder if they have ever suffered from this problem to determine if it is vulnerable.

The cats are also prone to tartar buildup and plaque, which can cause periodontal disease. Thus, make sure you brush their teeth with the recommended toothpaste to control the problem. It is also advisable to take the cat for regular dental cleanings.

The cat is vulnerable to other health issues, including vomiting, asthma, tooth resorption, and digestive problems. You should take the cat for an annual vet checkup to maintain good health. The yearly appointments ensure that the health of your cat is monitored.

Even if the cat appears in good health, never skip the vet appointments. Since they are active, it is easy to detect when they have any health issues because they will become less active.

Minor Conditions
  • Obesity
  • Dental issues
  • Allergic reactions
  • Vomiting
Serious Conditions


Male vs. Female Somali

Male and female Somali cats have minor differences. The males are more muscular and larger compared to their female counterparts. Besides, they are more hyperactive than the females. The other difference is that male Somali cats seek more attention from owners, while the females are more independent.

3 Little-Known Facts about the Somali Cat

1. This cat doesn’t come from Somalia.

Judging from the name, most people assume that the breed originated in Somalia. However, the exact origin of this cat is a bit of a mystery. Some people believe the Somali cat originated from England in the 1940s, whereas some people think is a mutation of the Abyssinian breed.

2. It’s also called Fox Cat.

You might hear the breed being referred to as the Fox Cat at times. This is due to the physical traits that make it look like a fox. Some of the traits include a bushy tail and large pointed ears.

3. It is very mischievous and curious.

One critical thing to know about Somali cats is that they are not lazy. This is what makes the cat entertaining at all times. The cat will notice everything and ensure that they become the focal point or get fully involved in any activity you might be doing, from cooking to working on your computer.


Final Thoughts

The Somali cat is a great cat breed! You will enjoy having it in your home since it’s friendly to everyone and other pets. The cat can give you company and keep you entertained with their playful nature.

Allow your cat enough time to play, explore and solve issues. This is necessary because their curious nature and high energy can make them hyperactive and hard to control. This is why having another cat is always a great idea to help manage the active lifestyle of your Somali cat.

General care and grooming for this breed are easy because of the few health concerns and low maintenance costs. The cats are also not needy, so even if you spend several hours outside the home, they will always find a way to entertain themselves. Overall, these entertaining and playful pets are a great addition to your home.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Nataliya Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

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