Hailing from the Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Kenya, this eponymous cat is a natural feline breed that developed without any human intervention. As a furball that flourished in trees, the Sokoke cat is renowned for being a fast, vigorous, and incredible climber that needs ample spaces to thrive. But, despite its wild ancestry and allure, it gained its reputation as a sociable, intelligent, nimble, and faithful cat that makes it a great addition to any loving home.
Origin of the Sokoke Cat
The Sokoke cat traces its roots in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest on the eastern coast of Kenya. These felines were first discovered by the Giriama tribe, lived with them, and gave them the name “Kadzonzo.”
In 1978, wildlife artist Jeni Slater found a litter of kittens on a coconut plantation near the forest. With the furballs distinct look, Slater took the kittens, provided them food and shelter, and bred them.
However, Slater was worried about the survival of the breed in general. With that, she called in her friend Gloria Moldrup, who took a Sokoke cat couple and brought them to Denmark and started a breeding program. Since then, more Sokoke cats were imported from Kenya to widen and strengthen the breed’s gene pool.
In 2001, documentarist Jeannie Knocker covered the breed and spread consciousness about the Sokoke cat. These cats were soon imported in Europe and America, cementing the breed’s presence in the cat fancy. The International Cat Association accepted the cat breed for registration in 2004.
Physical Characteristics of the Sokoke Cat
Weight: 6 to 10 pounds
Life Expectancy: 9 to 15 years
Coat Color: Brown tabby
Type of Coat: Short, dense and tight-lying
Eye Color: Amber, green
The Sokoke cat is a fairish-sized feline, with a slender, athletic body. It is an elegant-looking cat, accentuated by its rugged appearance. The head is wedge-shaped, with large cupped ears sitting atop. Meanwhile, the eyes are wide, almond-shaped, can either be amber or green in color, perfectly matching their fur. The coat is short and tight-lying, with a brown tabby pattern. Dark bands occur on the long, nimble legs and narrow tail, adding to the breed’s rugged glamor.
Sokoke Cat Personality
Despite their wild ancestry, Sokoke cats boast a dog-like demeanor. With that, they are known to possess a loving and devoted personality. These felines build strong, lasting bonds with their family members and stick with them, be it from playtime and lounging sessions.
As they thrive in human companionship, they can’t be left alone for extended periods. They will flourish in active households and that has an available member to accompany them throughout their day.
Fortunately, Sokokes are highly adaptable and can quickly adjust to living with toddlers and pets. Meeting strangers and visitors won’t annoy or scare these furballs.
As former forest dwellers, Sokoke cats evolved to be incredible hunters. Their ancestors live in trees, so it’s not surprising to see them leap the highest points in the house. These cats will seize tops of fridges or cabinets to get a better view of their surroundings.
Adding to their athleticism, these cats are blessed with great intelligence. They are adept in learning tricks and in being leash trained. However, their smarts come with a curiosity streak, and these cats would be happy to survey their surroundings, leaving no area undiscovered.
And, while other cats are not fond of water, the Sokokes feel otherwise! These will grab any opportunity to dip in the water, such as pools and bathtubs, and start splashing their hearts out. If no pool of water is present, they’d be happy to create one and turn their water dish and the floor into a tiny puddle.
Caring for the Sokoke Cat
The Sokoke cats’ coat is thin and no undercoat. With that, they require very minimal upkeep. Brushing their coat once a week can suffice in keeping their fur in tip-top condition and mats at bay. Add to that, these felines generally take care of and groom themselves pretty nicely.
Other grooming requirements are primary care. Nails trimming should be done every 10 to 14 days, but providing a scratching post can also help keep their paws and claws healthy. Oral hygiene should also be observed to avoid periodontal disease. While daily brushing is recommended, weekly brushing is often enough to boost their dental health.
Their ears should also be examined weekly for signs of dir build-up or infection. Checking and cleaning the eyes must also be a part of the weekly routine. Wipe down any dirt using a soft, damp cloth and use separate parts to avoid spreading any disease.
As highly energetic cats, cat trees and high perches are suitable investments. Proving such will create safe climbing opportunities for these felines. Interactive toys and puzzles can also help consume their extra vigor and keep them in shape.
Sokoke cats are generally robust and sturdy. There are no inherited or congenital issues noted for the breed. However, their health should still be well-taken care of. As with other feline breeds, regular visits to the vet can help detect or prevent any health issue. The vet can help start a care routine to ensure that these furballs live a long, healthy life.
Sokoke cats are perfect for active households that can match their endless energy. They are loving, friendly, and devoted to their families, making them a great exotic addition to most types of homes.