Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

9 Types of Somali Cats: Colors & Patterns (With Pictures)

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

a portrait of ruddy somali cat

9 Types of Somali Cats: Colors & Patterns (With Pictures)

The Somali cat is an absolutely gorgeous feline with a bushy tail, expressive eyes, and tall, pointed ears. In fact, they’re often compared to foxes, and their look gives them the appearance of a truly wild cat.

These cats were actually produced out of a recessive gene found in Abyssinians; it’s believed that Somalis come from Somalia, whereas their cousins emerged out of Ethiopia.

While they closely resemble Abyssinians, Somalis are definitely a distinct breed, and that’s especially evident in their varied colors. In the list that follows, we’ll take a closer look at the colors and patterns that help these elegant cats stand out from the crowd.

Cat ball divider 1

The 9 Somali Cat Common Colors and Patterns

Somalis come in an astounding variety of colors and patterns—28 in all! However, some are far more common than others.

Four common colors make up the backbone of any Somali’s coat. These are much more common than the other 24 patterns, and you’ll find them on most Somalis.

It’s also important to understand that each hair has quite a bit of color to it. The individual strands have between 6 and 24 bands of alternating color from root to tip, making them both distinctive and beautiful.

1. Ruddy

a ruddy somali cat
Image by: Julia Shepeleva, Shutterstock

Ruddy is so common that it’s often referred to as the “usual” pattern. The ruddy pattern is golden brown ticked with black, with the black being more distinct around the face and tail. The fur is often darker along the spine as well.

2. Sorrel

a sorrel somali cat
Image by: nelik, Shutterstock

Sorrel is a reddish-orange color, and sorrel Somalis truly look fox-like. They can have tremendously bright coats, and they often have patches of white around the face, neck, and chest. Sorrel Somalis also have bright pink noses that stand out against their cinnamon bodies.

3. Blue

a blue somali cat
Image by: Nataliya Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

You’d be forgiven for assuming that blue Somalis are actually gray, as they definitely have a darker tint about them. If you study the individual hairs, though, you’ll see where the name comes from. They also have a base coat that’s usually a lighter shade of oatmeal.

4. Fawn

a fawn somali cat
Image by: nelik, Shutterstock

Fawns are blonde cats through and through. The top portion of the coat is usually a deeper beige, which then fades to a lighter, sandy color toward the belly and legs. Like sorrels, fawns usually have bright pink noses that immediately attract your gaze.

yarn ball divider

Less Common Combinations

Beyond the “big four” colors, there are 24 other shades and combinations that can be found on Somalis. Many of these are simply combinations of the basic colors with less-common ones.

Also, not every combination is recognized by breeders’ organizations, so if you’re hoping to show your Somali someday, it helps to know whether you’ll even be allowed in the door.

5. Chocolate

a chocolate somali cat
Image by: Sarah Newton, Shutterstock

Chocolate Somalis usually have a darker brown coloring on their backs, with the shade transitioning to a softer apricot base on the stomach. You may also find that the darker coloring extends to the legs and tail.

6. Lilac

Scottish Shorthair cat Scottish straight with blue eyes lilac tabby color point_ZEMA Tatyana_shutterstock
Image By: ZEMA Tatyana, Shutterstock

Lilac Somalis closely resemble blue Somalis, although they have more of a purplish tint to them. They also have a darker base, but it’s still close to oatmeal.

7. Red

a red somali cat
Image by: Oleksandr Volchanskyi, Shutterstock

Red Somalis are basically a darker version of their sorrel counterparts. They tend to have deep red coats laid over a softer red base coat, with bright pink noses offering a hint of contrast.

8. Cream

a cream somali cat
Image by: Sarah Newton, Shutterstock

If you like a paler cat, then you’ll love cream Somalis. These animals have white base coats with apricot on top, giving them a rich glow.

9. Tortie

a tortie somali cat
Image by: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock

Torties are tortoiseshell cats, which means they have a mix of two colors on their bodies, neither of which can be white. These colors can be mixed randomly over their bodies (called a “mosaic” tortie) or split evenly across their body (known as a “chimera” tortie). You can find several different types of tortie Somalis, including usual-tortie, sorrel-tortie, blue-tortie, fawn-tortie, chocolate-tortie, and lilac-tortie.

yarn ball divider


Somalis come in so many colors and combinations, so you’re certain to find one that appeals to you. Even better, once they draw you in with their gorgeous appearance, you’ll fall in love with their sophisticated personalities.

In fact, the hardest part will likely be deciding on which coat pattern to bring home, so basically, you’re going to need to adopt 28 different Somalis.

You might also like:

Featured Image Credit: Nataliya Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.