One of the oldest and rarest breeds of domestic cat in the world, the Sokoke is a naturally occurring breed originating from the Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Kenya. There was speculation that the breed was a hybrid cross between a wild cat and a domestic cat, however, recent advancements with DNA testing has indicated that the breed originates from the Asian group of cats that are descendants of the Arabian wild cat.
In 1978 a female cat and her litter of kittens were found by a woman by the name of Jeni Slater. Two kittens, a male, and a female were hand raised by Jeni who later bred this pair.
A friend of Jenni’s, Gloria Moeldrop who was visiting from Denmark took two cats by the name of Jeni and Mzuri home to breed. More were imported from Kenya later on to strengthen the breed.
In 2001, Jeannie Knocker was researching the breed and planning to feature them in a film. With the help of local children, cats meeting the description of the Sokoke were brought to Jeannie. Financing for the film fell through, and with the help of the Internet, Jeannie’s son, Will, contacted Sokoke breeders in Europe and the USA who were in desperate need of new lines. These cats are known as the new lines.
The breed was accepted for registration with FiFE in 2003 and TICA accepted them for registration only in 2004.
Appearance of the Sokoke cat:
The Sokoke is a medium sized, lithe and athletic cat with long, slender legs and oval paws. The hind legs are longer than the front legs. The tail is long and tapering to a point.
The head is wedge-shaped and small in comparison to the body, the nose is straight and the chin firm. Ears are medium sized with rounded tips. They are set high on the head. Eyes are oval shaped and set wide apart they range in colour from amber to green.
The coat is very short and thin, there is little undercoat. The Sokoke only occurs in the brown blotched tabby pattern which resembles the colour of tree bark.
Temperament of the Sokoke cat:
The Sokoke stands out as a unique cat. It is said they are very dog-like in personality and will rush to greet you when you return from work. They are an active breed of cat and are known to be exceptional climbers. They are known for their intelligence and can be easily trained to walk on a leash.
They bond deeply with their owners and are never far away. They are playful, inquisitive and loyal. They get along with children and other pets.