- Fascination on four paws -
The history of the beginning of breeding the Somali cat is as interesting and fascinating as the cat itself.
All began in 1942, a sailor brought a Abyssinian-like cat to England. One of the granddaughters of this cat was presented to the British breeder Janet C. Robertson , she called the cat Mrs. Mew, whose great-great-grandson Raby Chuffa of Selene was sold as stud to the USA. Among his descendants were born long-haired kitten again and again, which firstly were removed from breeding.
In 1967 the Abyssinian breeder Evelyn Mague (Cattery Lynn-Lee), which worked in an animal shelter, got brought a male cat named George. It turned out that this wonderful cat, which charmed her at once, was a long-haired Abyssinian cat and the parents of this cat were to her astonishment out of her own cattery. Ms. Mague was so enthused about the long-haired Abyssinian cat, that she started to breed those systematically and - against the vehement antagonism of the Abyssinian breeders -to fight for the recognition of the breed, which she called
Somali. In 1972 she founded the Somali Cat Club of America (SCCA).
Somalis in Europe
End of the 70th the European cat breeders got the attention of the Somali. In Germany, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands and also in England, Sweden and Norway were breeding cats imported out of the USA. The path to the recognition in 1982 was not as rocky for the European breeders as is was for the American Somali devotees. Anyhow, some Abyssinian breeders here argued against the new breed, however the German Somali breeders got largely spared from hostilities and could focus on the advancement of the Somali breed.
The character of the Somali
The description of the character of the Somali could be -
with due regard for impartiality - just an encomium. When not already amazed by her beauty, her character would be reason enough to choose the Somali over any other breed.
In spite of their wild appearance the Somali cat is a very gentle-minded cat. She is turned absolutely to humans, endearing, accostable, sweet-tempered and extreme cuddly. She had quite a few ailurophobe turned inside out with her irresistible charm and her disposedness to clownery. With her gentle voice she chats with her human without being obtrusive. Somali cats have an enjoyable temperament and belong to the rather agile cats. Her affinity to freedom is large, if she is allowed to leave the house, she will put her natural instincts to practise. They will then present their humans apart from mice also rats, hares, butterflies, grasshoppers and whatnot. If she is not allowed to leave the house, she will thankfully use a secured balcony. She should have adequate facilities to climb, sufficient toys, and above all a human - or a second cat - available as playmate.
Somalis like to retrieve sometimes and generally prefer playing with twines or ribbons over balls. Somali cats are extreme curious and like to be present everywhere, also on the loo. They are very teachable and also best adaptive. The Somali is very imaginative, she get every day new ideas and the life with her is never boring. Furthermore she has a certain feeling for moods and is there, when her human is in a bad mood.
Somalis are downright cuddly cats, they smooch amply and excessively and demand to be stroked. The Somali cat needs in any case
her human as playmate. Anyone, who cannot provide this, should keep his hands off this breed, because without enough devotion the Somali will become stunted.
The Somali cat has great intelligence, there is no doubt about it.
The care of the Somali
The Somali does not need much care, because she has little under wool. At fur changing times, one should support her with comb and brush to avoid swallowing of too much loose hair. For preparation for a cat show a bath might be helpful, especially for studs, they tend to a fatty tail, which has to be separately treated before the bath. For most Somalis a bit of powder treatment on the
greasy spots - like on the chest - should be enough.
Otherwise a good, well-balanced feeding, a bit combing and brushing while cuddling and much, much stroking is sufficient.
I'd like to summarise it simply:
Who could share his life with a a Somali cat,
comes sooner or later to the conclusion:
Once Somali, always Somali!
German text in part by Christa Rieger
English translation by
Somalis of Kumasasa