THE SQUIRREL CAT

A bit of history

 

The origins of the Somali are mysterious. Did it appear spontaneously in Abyssinian litters or is it the result of hybridization with another longhair breed? Nobody knows. But we know that little hairy and downy kittens were sometimes born in Abyssinians litters. In the best cases, they were given out before their existence be known. Until 1953, when Mary Mailling, an Abyssinian breeder, surreptitiously introduced a small “long hair” at Calgary cat show. The judge, far from rejecting the kitten, was seduced and asked Mary if she could get it. At the same time, in the United States, Evelyn Mague was also starting to select “longhairs”. Long was the road to recognition, because breeders were still denying the presence of longhair in their lines. But the variety finally got recognition from the Cat Fanciers' Association in 1978.

 

Its look

 

The Somali is an elegant cat, supple and agile, that may seem, because of its fur, a little heavier than it really is. Its head is triangular with rounded contours. Its slightly almond-shaped large eyes are gold, hazelnut or green. Its rather large wide-based ears have the shape of a cup, and tilt forward. Its neck is supple, arched and well attached. The body is medium-long with a slightly rounded rib cage. The well-muscled legs are rather fine compared to the body, with a boning sometimes stronger than the Abyssinian’s. The tail is rather long and plumed. Its semi-long coat is silky and soft. In ruddy and sorrel (the most common colours of the breed), the coat is particularly warm and shiny. Nowadays, the diversity of colours is larger but the coat pattern is still the same. Ticked, it has a special quality that reflects light.

 

What kind of a companion is it?

 

Like the Abyssinian, the Somali has a lively and playful character, maybe just a little steadier than its shorthair cousin’s. Exceptional feature, the standard describes it as a cat with a royal look, agile like a panther but also close to humans. Everything in the Somali is radiant, most of all when it crosses the look of its owner. Its semi-longhair coat requires little grooming.