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Somali Cat Facts

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red fluffy somali cat with bright green eyes

Somali cats live their life by the motto "carpe diem." Full of spunk and playful nature, life with a Somali around is anything but boring.


The Somali cat origin is one you may have already heard—these felines are essentially the long-haired version of the Abyssinian (Aby) cat. As Abys were exported to new regions such as North America, New Zealand, and Australia, some of the descending litters began producing long-haired versions.

At first, many people viewed these long-haired variants as undesirable, but thankfully, others appreciated these beautiful cats. As more and more people took an interest in the breed, the popularity and demand for these felines took off, particularly by the 1960s. Even though these cats do not remain quite as popular as their relative, the Abyssinian, Somali are still a relatively common breed.

Although their name may suggest that they are from Somalia, this name was instead given to these cats because the country of Somalia borders what was once Abyssinia (now Ethiopia)—just as the Somali "borders" on being an Aby.


The Somali cat personality is a fan favorite. These kitties love being around people, they are playful, and they maintain some of their kitten tendencies into adulthood. These cats can be an excellent choice for singles or families. They can get along well with children who know how to interact correctly with animals. Be sure to supervise all interactions your Somali has with children, especially those of a younger age.

These friendly felines often enjoy the company of another pet in the household as well. Somali prefer not to be left alone for extended periods, so if you have a demanding job or busy schedule, you may want to consider adopting another cat, possibly even another Somali.

If you want a cat that lounges around with you all day or one that will nap and entertains themselves, then a Somali is not the right cat for you. These cats are energetic, playful, and humorous. They prefer to be on the move, nosing around and seeing what is going on in the house.

Just be aware that this breed also has mischievous tendencies. They may try to open cupboards or doors, and it's not unusual to hear them up to something in the wee hours of the night.

All that said, Somali are still an incredibly affectionate and friendly breed. They adore their people and may even join you on the couch every once in a while, but they probably won't want to curl up in your lap. However, don't forget to consider these "normal" personalities with a grain of salt. Every cat is unique and has their individual personality.

Before adopting a Somali cat and welcoming them into your home, cat parents usually have questions concerning the breed. Common questions include:

Are Somali Cats Hypoallergenic?

Unfortunate news for cat allergy sufferers, but Somali cats are not hypoallergenic.

What Are the Somali Cat Colors?

Some of the more common colors for Somali cats are red, blue, fawn, and sorrel, but they can be found in many other colors. The ‘usual' or ruddy coat is a golden brown color ticked with black. Like the Abyssinian, Somali cats also have a ticked coat, which is when various bands of different colors are on each piece of hair.

How Big Do Somali Cats Get?

Somali cats are considered medium-sized, and they typically weigh between 8-12 pounds.

How Long Do Somali Cats Live?

The average lifespan for this breed is 10-15 years. Although this is the expected lifespan, several factors can affect a cat's longevity.

Does a Somali cat sound like the perfect choice for you? Read on to learn more about the breed and what to expect if you adopt one.

fluffy red somali cat resting in a clear plastic container

Grooming and Care

Establishing a grooming routine is implemental to keeping your Somali in tip-top shape. It can be helpful to acclimate your cat to being groomed starting at a young age but don't forget to make each grooming item a positive experience. You can reward your pal with a delicious treat, favorite toy, or with some ear scratches. It can also help to keep grooming sessions short at first until your cat becomes more comfortable.

Somali cats have a medium-length coat that requires weekly brushing—preferably two to three times. Regular brushing can help keep your cat's coat clean and healthy. Weekly, your cat's teeth will also need brushing with cat-safe toothpaste.

As needed, you will need to clean your cat's ears. Be sure to check them periodically for any signs of redness or a bad odor, which could be a sign of an ear infection. When the ears appear dirty, they will need gently cleaned out with an appropriate solution and a cotton ball. Be sure never to use a cotton swab or to clean the inner ear, as those could both cause accidental harm. Every few weeks, or close to once a month, your feline friend will also need their nails trimmed.

Although grooming is a key element of your cat's care routine, another vital part is their nutrition. Somali cats are energetic and playful, and they require a diet that will fuel all of their endeavors. Keep in mind that the type of food your cat needs can change as they age, and the amount they need, can also vary. If you are unsure about what type of diet is best, talk with your veterinarian about recommendations.

On top of their nutrition, Somalis also require daily exercise, which shouldn't be too difficult to work into their schedule since they are naturally energetic. These felines love playing fetch, chasing after toys, and climbing to the highest point in a room. Physical exercise is vital to your Somali's health, in more ways than one. Exercise can help keep your cat healthy, alleviate boredom, and provide mental stimulation.

Speaking of which, Somali cats are known for their intelligence and wit. As a Somali parent, it may be worth your money to purchase a brain game or puzzle for your cat to play with—mental exercise is arguably just as important as physical exercise.

Common Health Issues

Somali cats are a relatively healthy cat breed, but they can still be susceptible to some health problems just like other felines. According to our claims data,** the most common Somali cat health issues include,

  • Asthma
  • Periodontal disease
  • Digestive issues
  • Vomiting
  • Tooth resorption

One of the best ways to stay on top of your cat's health is to take them for their yearly veterinarian check-ups. These annual appointments are an ideal way to monitor any health conditions your four-legged friend may have or to catch any new problems early on.

Even if your Somali cat appears to be perfectly healthy, it is essential that you do not skip their veterinary appointments. Our feline friends are notorious for hiding when they don't feel well, so cat parents should keep an eye out for any behavior differences.

cute small somali kitten resting on a white blanket

Fun Facts

It comes as no surprise that there are more fun facts to learn about these spunky cats.

  • Due to their bushy tail and large ears, this breed has the nickname of "Fox Cat."
  • Somali cats can come in a variety of 28 colors.
  • These cats are slow to grow and mature, and they won't typically reach full maturity until 18 months of age.
  • The Somali's ticked coat can contain anywhere from 4-20 bands of color on each piece of hair.
  • It's not entirely unusual for cats of this breed to learn how to hold objects in their paws.

Knowing all of this breed's quirks, how could you not fall in love?

Name Suggestions

Are you having problems deciding on a name for your Somali? Check out our list of names.

  • Lily
  • Lucy
  • Ziggy
  • Loki
  • Ruby
  • Penny
  • Ash
  • Thor

Before adopting a cat, it is vital that you also consider the long-term financial commitment of being a pet parent—do you know how much it costs to have a cat?

**Internal Claims Data, 2015-20

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


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