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Sokoke

Rare, elegant feline beauties

Sokoke

Toni Grzunov - Last Updated on May 04th, 2021

What you Need to Know about the Sokoke

The Sokoke, also known as the Sokoke Forest Cat is a natural breed of domestic cats. This breed first showed up in the 1970s in Kenya. Originally they were known as the African Shorthairs.

Sokoke cats are actually considered one of the rarest domestic cat breeds in the world. They are playful, smart, and love spending time around lots of people. This is why they are very popular despite being rare.

They will adapt quickly to living with you, which makes them a wonderful choice for novice pet owners.

Known for their long legs and short, coarse hair, these cats look absolutely gorgeous. It is no wonder they have started to win over the hearts of owners and breeders all over the world.

So you want to become an owner of one of these rare cats? Continue reading to find out all the crucial info about the Sokoke.

Appearance Matters. What does a Sokoke look like?

The Sokoke is a medium-sized cat. It has a lean, graceful body and long, thin legs. These cats have a tiptoed gait thanks to the way their hindlegs are positioned. You will notice this, even more, when your Sokoke gets excited!

The tails of Sokoke cats are medium to long. They resemble whips in a way since they taper down all the way to their narrow tip, adding to the sleek, graceful look of these cats.

Their cheekbones are high and clearly defined, and they have moderately large ears. Their eyes are almond-shaped and their color is usually either amber or green.

These cats have very short, lustrous coats that help accentuate their slander frames. When it comes to coat colors, it is important to mention Snow Sokoke cats, which have a much lighter colored coat than usual. 

According to the breed standard, the colors these cats can come in are: 

  • Brown
  • Black
  • Blue

However, brown is the only allowed color in clubs and competitions. It is also the most common color, although it appears in different shades sometimes. 

The coats of Sokoke cats are known for their tabby markings that are similar to those found on the Bengal or Ocicat. The Sokoke style has a specific pattern often called the “African tabby”, and it can extend throughout the entire body all the way to the tip of the tail.

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It's all Personal. The Sokoke Personality

If you are seeking a feline companion that will become a true member of your family, look no further than the Sokoke.

Many would compare these cats to dogs because of their personality. They will form a truly deep bond with you that will last for a long time. They will adapt to living with you, which means they will react well to new people that show up on your doorstep.

Sokoke cats also know how to behave around kids and other pets. They are incredibly intelligent and you can teach them various tricks. If you like taking your cat for walks, these kitties can be leash trained without a problem.

Due to their wild ancestry, Sokoke cats are hunters by nature. This means that they have strong muscles and love to jump to high places. You will often find your pet cat on top of the fridge or your wardrobe.

These cats love keeping their eye on whatever is going on in the house. Being high up allows them to have a better look at everything, so you better get used to seeing them above the ground.

One thing that definitely sets the Sokoke apart from other cats is the fact that they love the water! They might even jump in for a dip occasionally. It can be truly amusing to witness your cat swimming laps around your pool or even bathtub. It’s not a bad idea to allow your cat to do so from time to time if you discover it likes water.

Other than that these cats are highly affectionate and will demand your attention. They are playful and will enjoy spending time with you playing various games. Try to do so as often as possible.

Sokoke cats are also quite chatty and will try to carry a conversation with you for hours sometimes.

They are highly curious and love being active. Interaction is what they adore, and will often seek it out from you. They are also highly independent. You don’t have to fear leaving your Sokoke alone, it will manage just fine.

Caring for your Sokoke

Sokoke cats have thin coats with no undercoats. This means that they are extremely low-maintenance and caring for them won’t be a problem.

You should brush and polish the coat using a grooming glove at least once a week. That should take care of most of their grooming habits that concern the coat.

If you maintain their coat well, Sokoke cats will shed minimally. Although they are not completely hypoallergenic, they are actually a good pick for people with allergies, since their shedding can be handled easily.

The Health and Happiness of your Sokoke

Sokoke cats have a life expectancy of about 12 to 14 years, although some can live much longer, up to 20!

In general, these cats are fairly strong and robust and have tons of energy. However, they can be sensitive to colder temperatures since they don’t have an undercoat. This can lead to some health issues, so be careful when it is cold.

Sokoke cats also have a tendency to put on weight. They have a large appetite and will never refuse food. This is why getting enough exercise is important. It should prevent any excessive weight gain.

You should also make sure to pick a diet that suits your feline companion’s needs. Always consult the vet about the best food and the exact daily amount you should give your Sokoke.

The Sokoke is a relatively new breed and quite uncommon, so we are currently unaware of any diseases that are specific to the breed. They can get some common domestic cat diseases, most commonly various dental issues.

These include gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums and is caused by a bacterial infection due to poor oral hygiene. Periodontitis is the second phase of gingivitis and is irreversible. Make sure to take care of your pet cat’s teeth!

Feline History. Where does the Sokoke come from?

Sokokes were actually discovered as a naturally occurring breed near the Arabuko-Sokoké Protected Forest on the coast of Kenya.

The cats were called ‘Kadzonzo’ by local tribes, which translates to ‘looks like a tree bark. They gave it this name because of the specific ring patterns on the coat.

The breed was found in 1978 by Jeni Slater, a horse breeder, who discovered a litter of kittens on her plantation. She bred two of them together and her friend Gloria Moeldrum imported two more to Denmark in 1984.

This was the foundation of the breed on the European continent, and several more cats were brought throughout the next few years to keep the breed lines strong.

The breed was recognized by the FIFE (Fédération Internationale Féline) in 1993, and TICA (The International Cat Association) integrated Sokoke into the ‘new breed’' category in 2003.

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