About Somalis

What is a Somali?

The Somali is actually an Abysinnian with long hair and we still use Abys in our breeding program, although Aby breeders don’t use Somalis in theirs.

Db Ch Abymoon Ronald Weasley

The basic description for a Somali is the same as that of the Aby, except for the fact that the Somali has the most luxurious, fluffy coat and the deliciously fluffy tail.  Interestingly enough, there are parts of a Somali’s coat that are not long, like their shoulders.  However, a cat with a nice fluffy mane (rough), bumm (breeches) and tail (plume) are the ideal.  This is why they are often referred to as Foxy cats.

Sp Pr Abymoon Glorfindel

The main destinguising feature of the Aby and Somali is their colour.  They carry the agouti gene.  This means that their coat is ticked.  Ticking is when each hair has stripes on it, bands of 2 different colours.  It gives the Aby and Somali that wild cat look that catches peoples’ attention.  The 2 main colours arr Ruddy (Usual) and Sorrel (Red).  These 2 colours can then be diluted too into Blue and Fawn.  Somalis also come in silver colours, these include Black Silver, Sorrel (Red) Silver, Blue Silver and Fawn Silver.  Recently, Chocolate and Lilac and it’s derivatives in silver have also come onto the scene, but there is a certain amount of controversy here, as it is believed that these colours came from the introduction of Burmese into the breed.

What is the Somali’s temperament like?

Supposedly, the Somali’s temperament is slightly calmer than a Abysinnian’s, however I have to say that it really does depend of the Aby and the Somali.  Both breeds are incredible fun and can be total lunatics at times.

They are incredibly confident and inquisitive, not to mention agile and intelligent.  The adore their people, so you will never find yourself alone.  I have encountered Somalis that played fetch and I have a few that have been trained to a lead and harness, however that is entirely up to the cat and some just point blank refuse, as it is below them.


Many Somalis are clutzes and are so busy running around playing a game that they don’t notice the destruction in their wake.  This is the reason that I always ask potential families whether they have lots of breakable ornaments and like to have an extremely neat house.  Neither Somalis nor Abys would fit into a house like that.

A Somali owner will often find themselves saying to people, “Look at what the cat is doing!”, as they always up to mischief.  

Whatever it is that you are doing, the Somali will insist on “assisting” or “supervising”,  If you work from home, you will find that they will go off and do their own thing and then come to check on you.  If you do not give them the required attention at the time, expect to have strange emails or FB posts sent by the cat.

Where does the Somali cat come from?

There are varying stories a to where the gene came from for the longer hair and how the breed became recognised in it’s own right. I will tell you the story that I have been told.  

Possible ancestor of the Aby, the Jungle Cat

It begins in the Abysinnian war in the late 19th century.  A British soldier tames a local wild cat and brings it back to England after the war.  This was at the time of the beginning of the cat fancy and he presents it a show.  I received a lot of interest and people begin to breed what will become the Abysinnian cat.

Then, during WW2, the bombings on London had a devistating impact on the pedigreed cat population.  After the way, the Cat Fancy began to pick up the pieces and it is believed that it was here that the long hair gene managed to sneak in, in a cat that looked like an Aby, but probably wasn’t from pure parents.  Either way, from then on, it would happen that occassionally a kitten would be born in an Aby litter that had long hair.  Obviously, the breeders were not happy about this and invariably didn’t register the cats and sold them off as pets.

Ancestor of most Somalis of today

Skip forward to 1963. In Canada an Aby breeder decided to play a joke on a judge and entered a long-haired Aby into the show.  The judge liked the cat so 

much that he asked for one for breeding purposes.  At the same time a breeder in the USA decided that she liked these long-haired Abys too and began to breed with them.  She managed to get the breed recognised for the first time in 1979, by the Cat Federation of America (CFA) and the rest is history.