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· Best described as a long hair version of the Abyssinian
· The colouring and beautiful bushy tail give the Somali a fox-like appearance. Also known as the Feline Fox
· Some experts believe that the breed is a hybrid and others believe it is a mutant in which the normal shorthair gene has changed into the longhair gene
· The four basic coat colours are tawny/ruddy, cinnamon/sorrel,blue and beige fawn, plus these four colours in the silver range(ie Black Silver, Cinnamon Silver, Blue Silver and Fawn Silver).
· With the silver colours, a gene inhibits the base coat colour, leaving the ticking on a white undercoat.
· Chocolate and Chocolate Silver are being bred in some areas. Also lilac Somalis are available
· their coat is two to three inches in length, non matting due to its silky texture
· their coat requires a weekly comb through
· the ticking gives a wild appearance and is unusual in a longer haired cat
· each hair has alternating bands of contrasting colour, creating a unique combination of colours-only Abyssinians share this colouring
· unlike most long-haired cats, the Somali sheds very little excess hair
· they generally shed hair on one or two occasions throughout the year, rather than shedding constantly throughout the year like the Persian
· the coat takes around two years to develop completely, ie to achieve a fully ticked, ruddy brown or reddish colouring.
· extroverted, active and playful
· intelligent and alert
· learn quickly
· good memory
· playful sense of humour
· their world is an endless adventure
· loving personality and intensely affectionate to their family
· they delight in being the centre of attention
· enjoy visitors
· natural show-offs and born clowns
· sociable cats
· they get along well with other animals icluding other cats as well as dogs.
· thrive on human companionship and therefore a second cat for company should be considered if you have to leave them for long periods of time.
· not really a lap cat, they prefer to be close to you, whatever you are doing. It is common for them to sit on your shoulder and supervise
· even tempered
· quiet cats with a soft voice which they don't use very often
· although an active breed, they make an excellent indoor cat
· not known for good road sense due to their busy and curious nature
· can easily be taught to walk on a lead and play fetch
· one odd characteristic of the Somali is that they love licking and grooming people's hair
· many Somalis are fascinated with water and love to play with a dripping tap, or simply drink from it.
· often boisterous in play, they are very gentle and excellent companions for older children
· a great family pet
· medium sized cat
· elegant with an athletic build
· graceful and a firm, muscular, lithe body
· large almond shaped eyes which are full of expression
· eyes can be green or amber, the richer the colour the better
· the face retains the tabby markings of the 'M' on the forehead (the rest of the cat should be free of the tabby markings)
· large ears
· always looks very happy and pleased due to their lip turn upwards replicating a smile
· Males weigh around 5kg, and the female weighs slightly less
Genetic problems include:
· Renal Amyloidosis or RA - the disease causes fibrinous build up on internal organs which will eventually shut them down. Difficult to diagnose and there is no known cure. Not only affects Somalis and Abyssinians, but other cats and humans.
· Auto Immune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) can cause anemia and suppress the immune system
· Myelodysplasia- known to affect humans but only recently found in a Somali Cat. Not much is known at this time about this disease.
Responsible breeders avoid working with bloodlines with these potential problems and many offer a genetic guarantee on their cats and kittens.