You don’t have to like cat breeding or the cat breeds to appreciate the beauty of these cats. The Somali cat is certainly one of the best looking cat breeds. They are semi-longhaired Abyssinians with a silky double coat and despite selective breeding they have retained a normal yet glamorous appearance (they have not been bred to extreme thank heavens). The plumed tail is one the best in the business, resembling the fox’s tail.
I remember being at a cat show in Oklahoma with the cat photographer Helmi Flick during which many breeders and handlers came into her temporary studio with their purebred show cats. Then in came a Somali. We all agreed that this was the best looking cat of the day by a stretch.
The Somali is an accident. The breed originated in ‘the undesired product of the recessive longhair gene in the Abyssinian cat’. These cats were not appreciated at the beginning. Abyssinian breeders were not happy with fuzzy, longhaired kittens showing up in litters. Initially they were removed from the breeding program through selective breeding. I suspect that the breeders gave them away. I hope they didn’t do anything horrible like kill them at birth.
The cat statues of ancient Egypt look like Abyssinian cats which indicates to me that the appearance of the domestic cat as seen in the Abyssinian and Somali has not changed for five thousand years. The ancient Egyptians had cat companions that looked like these two glamorous siblings.
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