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Somali cat breed profile

Somali cats are usually playful, energetic and affectionate pets.

Whether your cat is a purebred Somali or a Somali mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet's personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're interested in adopting a Somali but want to do a little breed research first — we can help with that.

Somali cats are head-turners with fox-like appearances and social personalities. They're closely related to the Abyssinian cat breed (often known as Abys) but have a much longer coat than their relatives. It's believed that Somali cats originally come from Somalia, hence the name.

Here's some more important information about this breed and their large and energetic personalities.

What do Somali cats look like?

Somali cats have been called "wild-looking" and are even compared to foxes because of their reddish-brown hair and bushy tails. 

Because of their long hair, they may require a bit more grooming than some short-haired cats, but their coat is not wooly, so matting is not usually an issue. As long as you brush them often, these cats should be good to go and will give you a loving pur as a thank you.

"Some longer-haired cats are more prone to hairballs as well because they ingest their long hair when they groom themselves," Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, a veterinary consultant for Fetch, adds.

These cats can be medium-to-large and typically weigh up to 12 pounds. They have large, almond-shaped eyes, large and pointy ears and unique facial markings that set them apart from other breeds. Their eye color is usually gold, amber or green. 

RELATED: Maine Coon cat breed profile

What are Somali cats' personalities like?

Somali cats have a reputation for always being on the go and wanting to be near people so they can entertain and soak up all of the attention.

"They're very playful and inquisitive; they love to be active and are very social and affectionate," Dr. Singler says. "They're also very adaptable and learn quickly and can problem solve. They're reported to be very loud and demanding of attention and very good at jumping, climbing, opening cabinet doors and generally getting into mischief."

These cats can also hold food in their paws and can even turn on faucets to play in water. Most Somali cats can play fetch and learn tricks easily, too. 

That said, if Somali cats don't get out all of their energy, they will want to keep moving until they do. They enjoy interacting with people and other cats, and although they're very active and energetic, they aren't known to be vocal.

What are common health issues for Somali cats?

This breed is known to suffer from pyruvate kinase deficiency, a red blood cell condition that can result in anemia.

"They can also develop progressive retinal atrophy, which can cause blindness," Dr. Singler says. "Both of these diseases are genetic, and DNA testing is available to determine if they are at risk for developing these problems."

For the most part, these loving cats have a lifespan between 11-and-16 years. 

Adopting a Somali cat

Are you interested in adopting a Somali cat, a Somali cat mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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