Glowing burnt sienna coat of the Somali cat

Somali cat breed
Somali cat breed. Beautiful cat. Photo in public domain (assessed).
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The CFA breed standard states: RUDDY: ground color burnt-sienna, ticked with various shades of darker brown or black; the extreme outer tip to be the darkest. Tail tipped with black. The underside and inside of legs to be a tint to harmonize with the ground color.

The coat should be “warm and glowing”. This is a normal cat in terms of body conformation. This is a long-haired Abyssinian as you probably know. Personally, I beleive that they are more attractive than the Abyssinian.

Gloria Stephens writes in her book Legacy of the Cat that for the ruddy Somali, which this coat is, the “indicative colour is black. In the agouti areas, there are alternating bands of burnt sienna and brown/black; the ground colour is a burnt sienna that gives a glowing, almost gleaming appearance to the coat”.

Other colours are: blue, sorrel and fawn. This cat’s temperament is the same as the Abyssinian. They love to talk with people in “a euphonic voice” according to Gloria. They make a loyal and loving companion and are a gentle animal that may understand your feelings. They are a skilled, graceful and agile climate. They are one of the more athletic cat breeds and the way they look supports this. They have this very elegant slightly slender and muscular appearance.

The history of the Abyssinian breed is a mystery. There were claims of a wildcat hybrid being shipped from the west coast of India via Somalia and thence to England. Or Soldiers returning to England from Abyssinia (as it then was called) in the 1800s bringing local cats with them but the truth probably is that the cat was creative through selective breeding in Europe. One of the distinguishing aspects of the Abyssinian breed is that today’s cats look very similar to the paintings and sculptures from ancient Egypt. There may be something in that but I doubt it.

The cat’s initial creation appears to have been an accident. In the 1950s and 1960s long-haired kittens were the offspring of short-haired Abyssinian parents. Initially they were regarded as failures I suspect and given away as pets but then minds turned to the possibility of creating a future new breed…. – Michael writing about this breed in 2018.


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