Somali cats ideal weight and nutrition
Somali cats weigh 8-12 lbs (3.5 - 5.5 kg). For the suggested daily intake of dry food, consult the table below:
Table 1.1 - Somali cats daily food intake
In order to maintain their lean built, as well as their active nature and muscular build, Somali cats must consume meals with high quality protein and reduced fat, as well as Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) to produce muscle tissue over fat and L-carnitine to utilize fat reserves as an energy source. Forunately, nowadays most cat meal companies have developed special formulas for active cats, while you might want to try meals designed specially for Siamese cats. After all, the two breeds share the same requirements.
Somali kittens care
When you introduce Somali kittens to your home let them find their own way out of the basket and allow them to explore one room at a time. Make sure that all doors and windows are shut, to prevent them from escaping.
Somali kittens are very often frightened by children or other pets that are new to them. Children should therefore be recommended to be quiet and wait for the kitten to adapt to the new environment, while other animals should be introduced later, gradually and one at a time. Remember that adult cats might attack to the baby cat, since they confront it as a competitor and therefore as an enemy.
Talk to your kitten and encourage it to play with a toy but do not overwhelm it with extreme attention.
Somali kittens need warmth, since they miss their mother and litter mates. If there is not some form of heating in the room at all times, you had better buy a heated bed from a pet shop.
During the first month of their life, Somali kittens should be breastfeeding. This is why you shouldn't separate them from their mother before they are one month old.
At the age of one month Somali kittens can start eating kitten food. In the market you will find a wide range of kitten meals, however we recommend dry kitten food. This comes in small kibbles that encourage kittens to crunch and help them develop stronger gum and teeth.
For the suggested daily intake of kitten dry food, consult the table below:
Table 1.1 - Somali kittens daily food intake
Somali cats grooming
A regular grooming is essential for keeping Somali cats hair looking plush and beautiful. A routine of brushing and combing your Somali cat about once or twice a week should be sufficient for removing loose hair, debris and dander, except for the shedding season when a daily grooming is absolutely necessary.
The brushing movements need to be repetitive, however delicate. Use a comb with metal bristles and an elastic grip and work through the fur from head to tail. Be extra-gentle near the chest and belly to avoid injuring your cat and pay particular attention to the area around the neck and the tail where hair is longer and can become tangled and gnarled rather quickly.
Grooming will also improve the Somali cats blood circulation and help avoid many unpleasant and long-lasting infections and allergies.
Tapeworms are parasites that live in the small intestine of cats. They will cause severe diarrhea, poor or extreme appetite, avitaminosis, lethargy, coughing and abdominal distention to your cat.
To find out more, check our tapeworm treatment guide.
When a cat grooms itself by licking its own fur, it will swallow some of its own hair. Most of the hair passes all the way through the digestive tract with no problems. But if some hair stays in the stomach, it can form a hair ball.
To find out more, check our hair ball treatment guide.
Even clean cats can pick up fleas, especially during the summer months. They get fleas through the contact with infested pets or through the contact with fleas in the environment (e.g. from an infected bedding).
To find out more, check our flea treatment guide.
Somali cats care
You should clean their ears once a week to keep them clean and prevent infections. Consult your vet on choosing the proper cat ear cleaning solution and use it to remove the excess of wax, debris and dead tissues.
Their teeth should be checked periodically and brushed with special wipes to prevent teeth and gum diseases. In the market there are also a lot of cat toys, specially designed to remove food wastes and prevent teeth irritation.
A litter tray must be available at all times and kept in the same place. Solid matter and wet lumps should be removed from the tray frequently and the litter renewed when necessary. The tray should be washed and disinfected frequently. Rinse thoroughly after disinfecting and allow drying before use. Somali cats are very fussy and will not use a dirty tray.
Never give cats any drugs that have not been prescribed for them; many human drugs are poisonous to cats. Seek veterinary advice immediately if you suspect any form of poisoning.
Make sure that toys or parts of them cannot be swallowed. Plastic bags and rubber bands can be extremely dangerous, since they do not show up on an X-ray.
Somali cats health and lifespan
Somali cats live to be around 12 years old and are generally healthy cats. The only health problem connected to the certain breed is gingivitis, a gum diseases brought on by poor dental hygiene and viral infections. Common signs are bad breath and a red line bordering the teeth. Early treatment prevents the development of more serious periodontal disease.
Somali cats history
No one knows for sure when and where the first Somali cat appeared. There is a story going on about the Somali cats originating as an undesirable product of a recessive gene in the Abyssinian cats. However, genetic studies indicate that the Somali cats first appeared in the beginning of the past century in England when breeders, low on breeding stock, used long haired cats in their Abyssinian cats breeding programs. Actually, in the late 1910s and in the late 1940s, when so many breeds had dwindled to near extinction as a result of the two World Wars, breeders were forced to mate other breeds with their Abyssinian cats to keep the breed going.
When long haired kittens cropped up in Abyssinian litters (possible whenever two Abyssinians carrying the recessive gene for long hair were bred together), the kittens were quietly disposed of, since no breeder wanted to be thought to have Abyssinian lines that were 'tainted' with un-Abyssinian genes. It wasn't until the 1960s that breeders, seeing the appeal of a long haired version of a breed that was rapidly gaining popularity in the United States, began seriously trying to turn these castaways into a breed of their own.
Actually in 1963, CCA Allbreed Judge Ken McGill was asked to judge a show in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. As a practical joke, Abyssinian breeder Mary Mailing put a longhaired Aby in the cage amongst the class of Abys. Ken took out the cat, looked down to describe how the cat fit the standard, and was surprised to see the longhaired Aby in his hands. The exhibitors had a good laugh, but Ken was so taken with this beautiful cat that he asked Mary for one to breed. With this cat, Ken founded the oldest Somali line in Canada.
Some Abyssinian breeders wanted nothing to do with these long haired nonconformists and did not want to encourage the tenuous connection that the name 'Longhaired Abyssinian' would produce. Abyssinian breeder Evelyn Mague, one of the first U.S. breeders to work with the developing long haired cat breed, came up with the name 'Somali' because Somalia borders Ethiopia, the country formerly called Abyssinia for which the Abyssinian was named.
In 1972 Mague founded the Somali Cats Club of America and began bringing the Somali enthusiasts together. In 1975 the CFA's International Somali Cat Club was founded and in 1978 the Somali breed earned Championship status in the CFA. Since then, the breed has steadily gained popularity and has won over the opposition. Today, the Somali breed has Championship status in all the North American registries.
Somali cats personality
Extremely affectionate and devoted, Somali cats crave for human company. They are very extrovert creatures that love being around people. They will follow them around the house, join them in their everyday activities and finally groom them as an act of love and caring.
Somali cats get on very well with children or other pets, provided that they share their high energy. On the other hand, they wouldn’t suit to households with elderly people, since they would drive them crazy. Whilst apartment living is not ideal for such vivid creatures, they will adapt provided there is ample room for them to run and exercise. They enjoy hunting and an enclosed yard would probably be more suitable for this breed.
Active and more than playful, most Somali cats can be taught to fetch, while some are good at walking on a leash. They are highly intelligent and mischievous and have been known to open cupboard doors and faucets. In addition they love attention and are not the type of cat that will sit quietly in a corner
Finally, an unusual feature of this breed is that they have a fascination with water; not only will they play with a dripping tap, they will also turn the tap on themselves to provide running water!
Somali cats breed standards
According to the Fédération Internationale Féline, the Somali cats possess a wedge shaped head of medium proportions. Their head is wide at the top and its contours are soft and graceful.
Their nose is medium long. When viewing a Somali cat in profile the head shows a soft curve, with neither a stop nor a straight nose. Their muzzle is not sharply pointed. A shallow indentation forming the muzzle is desirable, but a pinch is a fault.
Their chin is firm and well developed.
Their ears are relatively large, broad at the base, and slightly rounded at the tips. They bear a thumb print, while tufts of hare at the tips are more than desirable. The ears are set well apart and pricked.
Somali cats have large, almond shaped eyes that are set well apart. The eyes should be brilliant and expressive and regarding the color, they should be amber, green or yellow. In either case, the color should be pure, clear and intense and the eyes should be outlined with the color of the ticking.
Though their neck is graceful, their body is firm, lithe and muscular. It is also medium built and medium long, giving a firm feeling.
Their legs are sinewy, fine and long and the paws should be small and oval.
Their tail should be well furnished, while their coat is extremely fine and very dense, actually the denser the better. The coat texture is very soft to touch and the hair is of medium length, except for the shoulders, where it can be a little shorter. At the shows, preference is given to Somali cats with well-developed frill and breeches.
Regarding the color and patterns, the following are officially recognized:
Body color: warm ruddy brown/ red brown with black ticking
Ground color: deep apricot/ orange
Body color: warm blue-grey with dark steel blue-grey ticking
Ground color: pale fawn/ cream
Body color: bright warm copper red with chocolate-brown ticking
Ground color: deep apricot
· Beige - fawn
Body color: dull beige with deep warm cream ticking
Ground color: pale cream
· Black silver
Body color: pure silver-white with black ticking
Ground color: pure silver-white
· Blue silver
Body color: pure silver-white with dark steel blue-grey ticking
Ground color: pure silver-white
· Sorrel silver
Body color: pure silver-white with red-brown ticking
Ground color: pure silver-white
· Beige - fawn silver
Body color: pure silver-white with deep warm cream ticking
Ground color: pure silver-white