Somali

Felis catus

Last updated: July 9, 2021
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

Active, intelligent and playful!



Somali Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Felidae
Genus
Felis
Scientific Name
Felis catus

Somali Conservation Status

Somali Locations

Somali Locations

Somali Facts

Fun Fact
Active, intelligent and playful!
Other Name(s)
Fox Cat, Longhaired Abyssinian
Temperament
Active, curious and playful
Diet
Omnivore
Average Litter Size
5
Common Name
Somali cat
Slogan
Active, intelligent and playful!
Group
Longhair

Somali Physical Characteristics

Colour
  • Brown
  • Fawn
  • Black
  • White
  • Cream
  • Ginger
  • Golden
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
9-16 years
Weight
6-13lbs

Somali Images

Click through all of our Somali images in the gallery.

View all of the Somali images!



The Somali cat, also called the Fox Cat, is a medium to large longhaired African breed which inherited a recessive gene for long hair from the Abyssinian.

It evolved from Abyssinians which were exported to North America, Australia, and New Zealand in the 1940s, though it was commonly believed longhaired non-Abyssinian cats or a cousin of the Abyssinian was introduced into the gene pool. Their descendants were longhaired Abyssinians or Somalis which first appeared in 1953 and were named for Somalia being the neighbor to modern-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia) and where their ancestors were imported from. With a well-balanced, affectionate, sociable, and playful personality, beautiful appearance, and endearing, soft meow, the Somali cat is a great family pet or companion animal.

Somali Traits: What to Know Before You Buy

  • This breed has some grooming needs. Although its coat is fine and silky-soft, you should brush it 3 times a week.
  • It’s an active breed, having a muscular and agile body. Toys and perches are a must-have.
  • It’s famous for its dextrous paws which it uses to play with toys similar to how a monkey would.
  • Thanks to its large ears, fluffy coat and bushy tail, it’s nicknamed the Fox Cat.

Somali Personality

The Somali cat has a temperament that is balanced and friendly towards children, strangers, and other pets, an easygoing, social, affectionate, playful, intelligent personality, and high-energy, curious, tenacious, and active behavior. It loves to play and explore its surroundings and enjoys company. This adventurous breed is not for the sedentary home or owners who cannot give it plenty of attention. On the other hand, as a very quiet breed, it doesn’t meow much. When it does meow, it’s very soft.

Ruddy and Blue Somali cats sitting on a sideboard.
Ruddy and Blue Somali cats sitting on a sideboard.

Somali Size and Weight

The Somali cat has a muscular body, large almond-shaped eyes, large pointy ears, and bold facial markings, a fluffy tail and fine, silky-smooth fur. It is medium-large in size with a semi-long, ticked coat. Males and females are about the same size of 11 to 14 inches in length, although males tend to be larger. Males on average are 8-13lbs in weight while females are 6-10lbs in weight. A Somali kitten is about 2 pounds at 8 weeks of age and remains a kitten until reaching maturity at 18 months.

Somali Price

The cost to buy a Somali depends on whether you get it as a kitten or an adult. The price can be a minimum of $550, but a kitten can range from $1,000 to 1,500 with an average cost of $700 to 1,200 and even more for a show-quality cat.

Somali Kittens

Even as a kitten, the Somali breed is already larger than the Abyssinian but takes longer to mature. During this time it will start displaying its true color along with ticking.

A cute Somali kitten playing in the cat house.
A cute Somali kitten playing in the cat house.

Somali Lifespan

The lifespan of the Somali cat tends to be long thanks to having generally sound health. It can live 9 to 13 years minimum but it tends to on average live between 11 to 16 years with a vigorous lifestyle, although it is vulnerable to early-onset periodontal disease.

Somali Breed vs. Mixed

Purebred Somali cats are essentially longhaired Abyssinians. They all have large almond eyes, large pointy ears, bushy tails, and fine coats. They are medium-large in size. The ticking on their coats has between four and twenty colors on each strand of fur.

Somalis can be bred with Abyssinian, although some of the kittens will lack the longhaired African cat’s coat. To identify if your cat is a purebred Somali or a mixed breed, you must look at the physical features, including the ticking colors on its fur. Body size, proportions, legs, feet, and behavior are also important factors, including the Somali’s famous dexterity. A purebred Somali will have all of the physical and personality features, while mixed breeds lack in some. Even if a cat appears to be purebred in appearance, you must also take personality and behavior into account.

Types of Somali Cats and Colors

The standard Somali color is golden brown with black ticking, also called the usual or ruddy color. A total of 28 colors are possible, with certain organizations accepting only some of them. All of the Somali registries allow ruddy, red (sorrel), blue and fawn. Most also allow ruddy silver, sorrel/red silver, blue silver, and fawn silver, while some registries may accept chocolate, lilac, red, cream, and various combinations of tortie along with silver tortie variants.

Here are the possible types of Somali cat colors:

  • Ruddy: A golden brown
  • Sorrel: A red-orange
  • Blue: Referring to the darker tint on individual hairs, the base coat is a light oatmeal shade.
  • Fawn: Blonde, with a deeper beige over the top.
  • Chocolate: A darker brown on the back, legs and tail with a lighter belly
  • Lilac: Similar to blue, but with a more purplish tint and darker oatmeal base color
  • Red: A darker sorrel (red-orange)
  • Cream: A white base with an apricot top
  • Tortie: Tortoiseshell meaning a mixture of 2 colors (with the exception of white) either appearing randomly (mosaic tortie) or split evenly (chimera), including color variants such as ruddy tortie.
  • Silver: A light silvery base color with a darker grey top, legs and tail, including color variants such as ruddy silver or silver tortie.
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Somali FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Somalis herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Somalis are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Somalis belong to?

Somalis belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What phylum to Somalis belong to?

Somalis belong to the phylum Chordata.

What class do Somalis belong to?

Somalis belong to the class Mammalia.

What family do Somalis belong to?

Somalis belong to the family Felidae.

What order do Somalis belong to?

Somalis belong to the order Carnivora.

What type of covering do Somalis have?

Somalis are covered in hair.

What genus do Somalis belong to?

Somalis belong to the genus Felis.

How many babies do Somalis have?

The average number of babies a Somali has is 5.

What is an interesting fact about Somalis?

Somalis are active, intelligent, and playful!

What is the scientific name for the Somali?

The scientific name for the Somali is Felis catus.

What is a Somali cat?

A Somali cat is a longhaired African breed developed in America. It is a longhaired Abyssinian.

How much does a Somali cat cost?

The price of a Somali cat can range anywhere from $550 to 1,500.

Are Somali cats rare?

No, Somali cats are not rare, but they are somewhat rarer than common purebred cats, about slightly more rare than average. Although it was rare to see longhaired Abyssinians in the beginning, the longhaired ones were separately developed as a distinct breed.

Are Somali cats good pets?

Yes, they are great pets for the active and attentive family.

How big does a Somali cat get?

A Somali cat can weigh from 6 to 13 pounds and be 11 to 14 inches in length not including the tail.

Sources
  1. Cat Time, Available here: https://cattime.com/cat-breeds/somali-cats
  2. Cat Fanciers Association, Available here: https://cfa.org/somali/
  3. Hill's Pet, Available here: https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/cat-breeds/somali
  4. Pet Finder, Available here: https://www.petfinder.com/cat-breeds/somali/
  5. All About Cats, Available here: https://allaboutcats.com/cat-breeds/somali
  6. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somali_cat
  7. Cat Breeds List, Available here: https://www.catbreedslist.com/all-cat-breeds/somali.html
  8. Exited Cats, Available here: https://excitedcats.com/somali/
  9. Cat Breeds Info, Available here: https://www.cat-breeds-info.com/somali-cat-breed.html
  10. Wiki How, Available here: https://www.wikihow.com/Identify-a-Somali-Cat

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