The Somali cat is a breed that has his roots from the longhaired Abyssinian breed. The Somali was introduced when several Abyssinian kittens were born with a few differences from their littermates. They had fluffy fur with bottlebrush tails that set them apart from the breed standards of the Abyssinian. While the body type and the coat markings of the Somali is very similar to the Abyssinian, there are several key differences between the two breeds.
The Somalis tend to have longer fur than their Abyssinian relatives and, as a result, they tend to require a lot more grooming to keep their coats healthy and free from tangles. The Somali cat also typically sheds a lot less than other breeds over the course of a year. They tend to have one large shedding of their coats versus constant shedding like other longhaired cats. This trait can make them rather prized by those who are not huge fans of constantly lint rolling up cat hair from their home and clothing.
The Somali cat has a ticked coat, which is similar to the markings seen on tabby cats. There can be up to 30 color variations in the Somali cat. One of the most distinct markings on the Somali cat is the M-shaped marking on the middle of their foreheads. They also tend to share the markings Abyssinians have with darkened rims around their eyes which can make it look like they are wearing black eyeliner. Their bushy tail and darkened stripe that runs down their backs, in addition to a ruffled mane and larger ears than many other breeds has earned the Somali the nickname of “fox cat” due to their striking similarity.
Their active and sociable personalities are very much like their Abyssinian relatives, but they are said to be much calmer and laid back than the Abyssinian are. Friendly and sweet, they are a great addition to any home.