The Somali Breed Advisory Committee is holding a seminar in January
to introduce the concept of "The Shorthaired Somali”
The Somali Breed Advisory Committee Seminar
Below is an article written by one of our attendee's
of another fabulous Somali Seminar
Somali Seminar December 7th 2008
Bt Georgina Anderson-Keeble
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Somali Seminar yesterday. I went, knowing nothing much about these beautiful cats except for the fact that I’d fallen in love with one that a friend of mine owns. I left knowing an awful lot more and with the conviction that the said friend was one of the luckiest people in the world to own one of these beautiful cats.
The seminar was attended by 30 of these beautiful Somalis, whose owners (and they really are a wonderful group of people too, whose generosity of spirit is only matched by the beautiful cats they share their lives and homes with) had given up not only time on a Sunday to bring their beloved cats along to be seen, but had also given up valuable show opportunities too. One might be forgiven therefore for thinking that the quality of the cats on show wouldn’t be that good; after all, serious breeders and show aficionados know just how important it is to show their cats, but in that you couldn’t have been more wrong! On a personal front, I’m extremely delighted that my own show neuter (of a completely different breed), has reached the very respectable title of Grand Premier in just his first 11 months of showing. New to the show scene, I’m well aware that we’ve had the most extraordinary luck and cat combined, to do so well so quickly. I was therefore completely taken aback to find that at the Seminar, the title of Grand Premier was almost the LOWEST title of the Somalis on display! There was easily more than a handful of Imperials, a couple of UK Imperials and, with the exception of the kittens (who all wanted to find their way home with me in my handbag) the rest of the cats on exhibition were mostly highly titled Grands themselves or at the very least Champions and Premiers!
Somalis are simply stunning. They are a semi-longhaired breed of cat that possesses, as the organiser said quite rightly, the Somali SMILE..... and smile they do! They come in a wide range of colours, from the beautiful Usuals (a lovely apricot base colour which is warm and vibrant, ticked with black), Sorrels, Chocolates, Blues, Lilacs, Fawns and on through the Red and Silver Series. Even with 30 cats on exhibition, the organisers hadn’t managed to acquire one of each colour. NOT because the Somali people were not willing to bring their babies to the Seminar, simply because there wasn’t the room enough to display them!!!
What I learnt yesterday, and as I’m sure the probationer judges and stewards will have taken away with them were 4 things.
1. ALL proper Somalis smile! Their expression is more than just the sum of cupped ears (lightly tufted in some cases), a gentle slope to the nose that looks as if a sculptor had just gone thus and flicked the clay across the bridge of the nose creating a gorgeous profile! They are more than their bands of ticking (which is so important), their sumptuous ruffs, their gloriously fluffy, bushy tails, their lovely tufted toes and gorgeous heels (coloured by the ticking colour – black in the case of Usuals) and long legs. There is just something about these endearing and enchanting cats, which is more than the sum of their parts – Somalis have more of the “wow” factor than any other breed I’ve seen!
2. Somalis are NOT long haired Abyssinians. Although they may share some ancestry in various pedigrees and generations and Abys are a permitted outcross, in terms of TYPE and character, they are very dissimilar! The Somali’s rounded contours are more gentle and generous, their coats are really fine and very soft, they have their own special “look” that is very different from the Abyssinian although they do share the same colours and the ticked pattern.
3. The owners of these gorgeous cats have been bitten by the same generosity of spirit as the animals they share their lives with! I can assure everyone who reads this I spent a lot of time yesterday asking some downright silly questions at times as I didn’t know the breed at all, but never once did any of the people I spoke to make me feel stupid for asking my questions. They were as welcoming and warm as their furry counterparts.
4. If you’re going to a seminar on a Sunday – make sure you take the Somali caterers with you too!!! Homemade biccys, choc brownies, lamb casserole followed by treacle tart and custard… are not to be missed – trust me!
Seriously it was a lovely day and above all an educating experience, not only in terms of the brilliant A5 sized handouts that were produced as a memory aide to compliment the SOP’s for not only the probationer judges and stewards present but also breeders and just about anyone who was interested, but also in terms of how well a Breed Club can and should function.
I spent a good portion of the day trying to work out if I could manage to put this beautiful breed with my own cats as I’ve become so smitten with them. It may work as Somalis are gentle, intelligent, with a playful nature and lots of love to give their owners- but that’s a project for the future.....I just want to say a big thank you to the organisers who gave up so much time and effort into making it work; to the Somali Cat Club Committee (that makes up the Somali BAC) and all the other judges and breeders who gave up their Sunday to give us a better insight into the work they do and what to look for in a really good Somali (though I’ve yet to meet a bad one!!!) and finally to the owners and their utterly enchanting cats and kittens. I’m left with a day full of wonderful memories and a big red X on my calendar to attend their breed show on March 21st 2009!!!