The appearance of the Somali cat breed has often been compared to a fox or a squirrel. Their coloring certainly makes the resemblance easy. What causes the exceptionally wild look of the Somali is the ticking and the plume of a tail.
The Somali is a well proportioned, medium-sized cat with firm muscles. Despite the muscular structure the body of the Somali cat breed is never coarse. Its body is of medium length, lithe and athletic – between stocky and svelte. The rib-cage is rounded and well sprung. The cat moves gracefully and is quick in motion.
The body is solidly built, has a level flank and a slight arch to the back. The cat walks on tiptoe.
The weight varies between 6 to 10 pounds (around 3 to 4,5 kg). The males are larger.
Already as a kitten the Somali is bigger than an Abyssinian, but the cat matures very slowly. It can take up to 18 months for it to reach full maturity and show the ticking and color (as a kitten the Somali cat breed shows no ticking).
The tail is thick at base and tapers slightly at the end. It is a full plume, and quite beautiful.
The coat of the Somali cat breed is colorful, glowing and vibrant, medium in length. The coat is a soft and silky, dense double coat (the denser the better), but not woolly and doesn’t mat easily. The texture may vary according to the color, and the coat lies smoothly over the body. It is 2-3 inches in length
It is an agouti coat which means it is ticked. Each hair has multiple bands of color so that band of lighter and darker color alternate. The longer and silky coat has more ticking. The ticking isn’t finished until the cat reaches 18 months of age, but already as a kitten of 14-16 weeks of age ticking should be apparent across the shoulders. With dilute colors the appearance of ticking may take even longer than this.
The color on the underside of the cat is a solid, lighter color. There is a darker stripe along the length of the back, ears and hind quarters (the so-called eel-stripe, which is not common in long-haired cats). The tip of the tail is also dark. There are to be no tabby markings. There are small white markings on the muzzle, chin and throat.
The coat is longer around the ruff, tummy, britches and tail and semi-long at belly, chest and flanks. On the shoulders the hair is shorter. There are tufts of hair between the toes.
On the face the cat has an M on the forehead.
The Somali cat breed doesn’t shed much hair. When the seasons change (in the spring and fall) there is some shedding, though.
The head of a Somali is slightly rounded, and in the shape of a modified wedge with rounded contours. The profile rises gently from the bridge of the nose to the forehead. There is a brow ridge and the head has a gentle dip.
The head of a Somali can be described as sweet-faced. The corners of the mouth are slightly upturned, giving the impression of a smile. The chin is firm.
The ears are large and broad. Horizontal tufts in the inner ear are desirable. The ears give an alert expression, arching forward, cupped at the base.
The eyes are large and expressive, almond shaped with a slight upward slant. The color of the eyes varies between green and gold / amber. The richer the color, the better. The expression of the eyes is enhanced by a dark eyeliner that is surrounded by lighter color, much like Abyssinian cats.
The Somali cat breed has dark hocks on the feet. The legs are slim, long and fine-boned, yet well-muscled. The paws are oval and compact and give the appearance that the cat is standing on tip-toe. The front legs are slightly shorter than the hind legs.
There are tufts of hair between the toes. There are excess skin flaps around the hind legs for mobility.
The Somali kittens are born dark, and the ticking and deep undercolor develop only later. There are four universally recognized colors, and 28 colors in all. No tabby markings are allowed, except for the M on the forehead.
This is the most common color, also called burnt sienna. The overall effect is a rich golden brown, caused by an apricot colored base coat ticked with darker brown or black. The nose leather is of tile-red color, and the paw pads are brown or black.
Also called sorrel. The base coat is of apricot / cinnamon shade, ticked with chocolate brown. The nose leather is pink, and the paw pads also.
The base coat is of warm beige (also called oatmeal or mushroom color), ticked with any shade of (slate) blue. Nose leather is old rose and paw pads are mauve / blue
Base coat is of warm rose-beige color ticked with light cocoa-brown. Nose leather is salmon colored, and the paw pads are pink.
The base coat it copper brown / apricot with dark chocolate ticking. Nose leather is pinkish chocolate and paw pads are chocolate in color.
Base color is dove-gray and the ticking is a deeper gray. Nose leather and paw pads are of mauvish pink.
Base color is cream, ticked with deeper cream. Nose leather is a creamy pink, and the paw pads are pink.
The silver tones have icy white coloration nearest to the skin, followed by ticking. The base coat is of silvery white with a lustrous silver sheen. Other coloring is the same as with non-silver colors.
Here is a picture of a blue silver Somali cat.
And cinnamon silver beauties.
The distribution of colors is random in tortie Somalis. The ticking, facial markings, heels, toe tufts, top & tip of tail are a mingling of standard ticking colour and red or cream. Chest, belly, under the tail and inside of legs and breeches are mingling of base color and red or cream. Solid color on feet is not allowed.
Base coat is mingled apricot and red, ticking is mingled black and bright red
Base coat is mingled apricot and red, ticking mingled cinnamon and bright red.
Base coat is pale cream, ticking is mingled blue and cream
The base coat is pale cream, and ticking is mingled fawn and cream.
Base coat is mingled apricot and red, the ticking mingled dark chocolate and red.
Base coat is pale cream, ticking is mingled lilac and cream.
Thank you, Rita Bruche of Vivace Somali Cattery for the permission to use your beautiful photos.