Popularly known as the longer-haired cousin of Abyssinian, Somali is a medium sized domestic cat flaunting thick, semi-long hair and a prominent tail. Each of the hair in the feline has alternating bands of contrasting color, a feature that it shares only with Abyssinians in the feline world. Its extraordinary bushy tail and auburn coat often makes it resemble a fox. This is the sole reason that the feline is sometimes referred to as 'fox cat'. To know more about its origin and history, appearance and personality, read through the following lines.
Though there is no definite information about the origin of Somali cats, it is certain that the cats did not evolve from Somalia. According to a theory, Somali originated in the early 20th century in England when breeders, low on breeding stock, used longhaired cats in their Abyssinian breeding programs. During the aftermath of World Wars I and II, when so many breeds had dwindled to near extinction, breeders were forced to cross other breeds with the Abyssinian to keep the breed going. Gradually Somali - the longhaired version of Abyssinian - gained popularity. Somali's luxurious coat is a natural genetic mutation. However, with time, Somali was accepted and is today ranked as 21st in popularity among the breeds listed by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA). It was in 1979, Somali earned Championship status in the CFA.
Somali is a medium to large sized, lithe, well-proportioned cat with a distinctly ticked coat. It bears an uncanny resemblance to a little fox, with its large ears, masked face, full ruff and bushy tail. It has large almond shaped eyes that range in color from green, hazel to amber. Similar to the Abyssinian, Somali cats sport dark eyeliner and tufts of white fur under their chins. One of the most distinctive characteristics of Somali cats is that each of them displays a 'M' tabby mark on their foreheads. Its size gives people an illusion that the cat is stretching, on its toes, although it would be simply standing at that time. While the average weight of a female Somali is somewhere between 6 to 9 pounds, the males weigh between 10 to 12 pounds. Somalis are mostly found in wild looking colors of tawny, cinnamon, blue and fawn. Some of the other colors include black silver, cinnamon silver, blue silver, chocolate, lilac and fawn silver
Somalis are an intelligent and affectionate cat, which loves human company. They are very well-adaptable and form intense relationships with their owners. Active, inquisitive and high-spirited in nature, Somalis have a fascination for water and love to play with a dripping tap, or drink from it. Though it is active and energetic, Somalis can be adjusted to indoor life. This is highly recommended as the curious nature of the cat make them prone to the many other dangers of outdoor life. They easily mingle with children and other pets. All in all, this feline is smart, lively, enthusiastic, curious and explorative in nature.