The Sokoke is a medium to large cat that is fine boned, muscular and elegant. It has long legs with the rear slightly longer than the front and walk with a tiptoe gait. They maintain an “at ready” stance even when relaxed. The head is small in comparison to the body with a tail that is long, thin, and stiff; almost whip like with broad rings and a dark tip. Because of their build and the way they move, many have called them little cheetahs.
They have a medium long nose that is almost straight, a strong, well-defined chin, and high, angular, well-marked cheekbones. The nose is brick red outlined in a dark color and the whisker pads are well defined. The top of the head between the ears is almost flat and is the same width as the base of an ear. The ears are large and broad at the base with slightly rounded tips. They may or may not have tufts at the tips, although they are desirable. Their eyes are almond shaped with an oblique placement. The color ranges from amber to light green, with an outline of the same dark color as their coat. When you peer into their eyes you can see a wild look that gives the sensation of looking at one of the great wild cats of Africa.
One of the unique traits of a Sokoke is their coat. It is short and dense with no undercoat. This is due to their hot and humid environment. It is shinny and elastic but is not silky, and lies close to the body. They have a blotched, classic tabby pattern that has an old wood pattern on their sides, sometimes called "African Tabby." The color ranges from a light brown to a dark chestnut brown or black on a sandy background. There are no white hairs and the colored hairs should be ticked. Read also: Maine Coon Cat Breed Information.
Snow Sokokes are an exception to this coloration. They have the same pattern, with the darker colors ranging from a cream to grayish beige. They have a masked face with no necklace or belly spots. The pads are black and the eyes are blue. Some believe that the snow Sokoke comes from a Siamese pointed trait introduced into the Sokoke bloodline at some point, possibly from a cat brought over from Asia.
Recently, two totally black (melanistic) Sokoke were born, and are owned by Lynn Schaffer-Russell in Montana.
Like most cats, Sokokes are independent, self-confident, and intelligent. They are playful, and interactive, enjoying the company of other cats or animals, and do not like being left alone. Although they are loving and affectionate, they don't like being coddled. Do not expect them to sit in your lap or hold them for very long. Much like a dog, they will follow you around, wanting to get your attention and a welcomed stroke on the back.
A unique part of their personality is their non-aggressive behavior. If threatened, they would rather flee, sometimes freezing or jumping away, but will defend themselves if they cannot escape or the threat is great enough. Owners should be aware of their sensitive nature and know that even a routine action can cause them to hiss and growl. This is their way of saying; "I do not want attention right now so leave me alone." Respecting their wish will keep both you and the cat on good terms.
Being interactive, they love to talk with their bold voices and body language, holding long conversations with you or other cats. They can be extremely loud at times, especially females in heat and males when courting, or during confrontations with other males.
Another unusual trait of the Sokoke is the relationship of a mated pair. Unlike many cats, they become attached to one another.
They can be possessive of their mates and be distressed when separated from them. When they have a litter, the mother and father share the responsibility of caring for the kittens. The father will keep them warm, clean them, and watch over them just like the mother. This collaboration extends to siblings also, making it a family affair.
In the wild, Sokokes live near a coastal forest where their lifestyle is also unique. Most wild cats live on the ground or in the undergrowth. Sokokes live in the trees, much like leopards. Their muscular and agile build is perfect to climb and maneuver in the top limbs of trees. When they cannot use the trees to cross over rivers and streams, they will resort to swimming. Though they would rather take a dirt bath than get wet. Read also: Munchkin Cat Breed Information.
When it comes to diet, the Sokoke is again atypical. Most would assume their diet would include rodents and birds since cats are carnivores. The mainstays of the Sokoke in the wild are butterflies, other insects, and grass. They also enjoy vegetables like tomatoes, and fruit, especially bananas and cantaloupe. This might explain the way they hunt which has a higher rate of success than other cats. Rather than crouching and chasing down their prey, they wait for it to come close and snatch it before it can escape. It would be rather difficult to chase a butterfly.
The care of Sokokes is much the same as any domestic cat. This includes a good quality diet with treats of fruits and vegetables, standard vaccinations, and especially room to climb and exercise. Keeping a sand box available will allow them to enjoy an occasionally dirt bath. Since they have no undercoat, they shed very little, but brushing or stroking their coat daily will keep it healthy and the cats happy. They enjoy warm temperatures, and do not tolerate cold weather due to the lack of an undercoat.
Being a natural breed, they have no genetic disorders as purebreds do. Although, they are susceptible to diseases our domestic cats are immune to. They lack of exposure to these diseases, in order to build their own immunities to fight them. For more details and information about sokoke cat breed, click here.