In this country, the Kenyan cat breed Sokoke is still quite rare. But that could change. Because the African cat with the classic tabby fur is extremely adaptable and sociable. She loves talking to her people, but sometimes she also needs her freedom and lots of exercises.
History of the Breed
The origin of all Sokoke cats lies in Kenya, more precisely in the Sokoke Arabuke rainforest. This is one of the last rainforest zones in East Africa. In 1979 the English farmer Jeni Slater, who had owned a coconut plantation in Kenya for many years, discovered an orphaned litter of wild cats there.
It is believed that the cats were feral descendants of runaway immigrant cats. Slater took the kittens to her farm, where she raised them. Despite their wild origin, the animals proved to be easily tamed and extremely affectionate.
From Kenya to Denmark
At first, Slater had no specific information about their cats’ ancestors. However, she realized that the animals had to be something special and began targeted breeding. From then on she called the cats Sokoke.
For further breeding, she crossed in black domestic cats. The peculiar appearance of the Sokoke, the muscular body in tabby look, and the human-centered, but at the same time, freedom-loving nature was retained. Five years later, in 1984, a friend from Denmark, Gloria Moldrup, visited Slater in Kenya. The Danish cat lover was enthusiastic about the pretty Sokoke cats and took a breeding pair back to her Danish homeland.
At first, Moldrup feared that the African cats would not feel comfortable in the climate of northern Europe. But this concern was not confirmed. Moldrup, for example, set up the first Sokoke breeding facility on European soil in Denmark and actively campaigned for the recognition of the cat breed. In the mid-1980s, the first Sokoke bred in Denmark was shown at an exhibition in Copenhagen. In 1994 the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFé) officially recognized the breed.
Sokoke cats are still very rare in this country. This is not the least due to the strict requirements for breeding. In order for a breeder to be able to officially register his Sokoke litter, he must submit documents for each animal. These have to certify that the origin of his breeding animals actually lies in the Sokoke district in Kenya. Only then do the young cats receive a certificate of authenticity and are recognized as Sokoke.
Despite these conditions, breeders of the special breed from Africa have now adopted breeders in Norway, Finland, the USA, Italy, Germany, and of course in Denmark.
You can see the sportiness of the Sokoke immediately. Their athletic build and strong bones are clearly visible under their short-haired fur. Adult Sokoke cats can weigh between three and a half to six kilograms, while males can weigh up to seven kilograms.
In relation to her medium-sized, muscular body, however, her head appears relatively small. The broad, medium-sized ears and light, almond-shaped eyes give her a watchful expression. Their pronounced cheekbones and whisker pads are also characteristic. An expressive border in the color of the fur pattern surrounds the nose and eyes.
The very short, elastic fur of the Sokoke is tight and has little or no undercoat. The colors of the Sokoke cats are very uniform. They always have a classic tabby pattern: The fur has a dark, black brindle pattern on a gray to golden-brown background.
It takes a while for a Sokoke cat to gain confidence. But once she has taken her humans to the heart, the Kenyan cat is extremely affectionate and cuddly.
She loves to have her owners around, to play, cuddle and communicate with them. The Sokoke is extremely communicative and easy to talk to. Like a Siamese, she likes to meow and meow, rubs her head on the leg of her owner, and loudly demands his attention.
Sporty, Intelligent, and Curious
The lively and athletic Sokoke is always available for games or other sporting activities. The intelligent African is even enthusiastic about learning small tricks or practical retrieval tasks. You can trust her a little more than just opening doors. Because the clever Sokoke knows how it works after a few days in your home at the latest.
The Sokoke is Not Best for Workaholics
Learning and discovering new things is in this cat’s blood. She explores every corner and every nook and cranny and sniffs chair legs, curtains, shoes, and plants with her nose. She is very curious and doesn’t want to miss any conversation. The Sokoke rejects nothing more than boredom. Accordingly, the spirited velvet paw does not like it when you leave them alone. It is therefore not suitable for people who are almost never at home.
The Sokoke needs to be close to their family and also value the company of their fellows. But now and then she seeks her freedom. Then she wants to move as she likes. The sporty, active cat loves climbing and likes to go exploring.
A Lot of Space is Required
A pure living in a cramped city apartment is therefore out of the question for the Sokoke. An enclosed garden, a large, secured balcony, or, best of all, an outdoor area in a rural setting is ideal for keeping.
Because of their character, the Sokoke also requires more attention and caution than some other cat breeds. Dangerous plants or other dangerous objects that the curious cat could injure themselves on while exploring the apartment should be kept out of reach.
A Sokoke Needs Company
Anyone who likes to talk as much as the Sokoke naturally wants to have a listener by their side. She does not tolerate being alone for long periods of time. If you still have to leave your cat alone from time to time, you should consider getting a second cat, with which the social Sokoke usually gets along very well.
Children are also welcome playmates for the lively and sociable Sokoke. However, the children should be old enough to understand that the Sokoke is not a cuddly toy and should respect their urge for freedom. Whoever holds the African fur nose too tightly will feel its strength and possibly its claws. Because as affectionate as a Sokoke maybe, sometimes it just has enough of cuddling.
Fortunately, those who have mastered the sometimes difficult path to their own Sokoke cat don’t have to worry about the health and care of their new roommate. The Sokoke is considered to be extremely robust and resistant to breed-specific diseases.
Recommended Vaccinations for the Sokoke
On the other hand, they are of course not immune to normal cat diseases such as infections of the upper respiratory tract or gastrointestinal complaints. Vaccinations against cat flu and cat disease should definitely be refreshed regularly. If the Sokoke is free, it should also be vaccinated against rabies and leukosis.
The extremely short fur of the Sokoke does not require any special care. Thanks to the lack of undercoat – and of course thanks to the cats’ love of cleanliness – it cleans itself, so to speak. Occasional brushing is still very much appreciated by the Sokoke. Finally, the gentle movements of the brush are very relaxing.
Like every cat, the Sokoke should also receive high-quality cat food that provides it with all the important nutrients and vitamins. Cats are naturally carnivores. A diet with a high meat content (at least 60 percent) is necessary to provide you with the necessary amount of animal proteins.
Is the Barfen Good for the Sokoke?
Many cat owners now swear by barf, the biologically appropriate raw feeding. It is based on the original diet of wild cats. Raw fresh meat is used, which is supplemented with vegetables, feed oils, and other additives.
However, a good knowledge of the individual nutritional requirements of the cat and the vitamins and minerals contained in the food should be present in this form of nutrition. This is the only way to guarantee a balanced diet for your cat.
What You Should Pay Attention to When Choosing a Food
Alternatively, there are ready-made barf menus or wet foods for cats that have been specially put together to meet the needs of cats. Always make sure that the labeling and the quality of the ingredients are good. Meat waste such as animal by-products does not belong in cat food. Sugar, chemical preservatives, or artificial flavor enhancers have no place in it either.
Those who prefer to eat dry food should make sure that the cat absorbs enough liquid and that the drinking fountain or water bowl is available at all times and is filled with fresh water.
What Should Be Considered When Buying a Sokoke?
Buying a Sokoke cat is still difficult. Cat lovers who are interested in the beautiful African woman have to be prepared for an extensive search for a registered breeder, long distances to the kennel, and long waiting times for the next litter. The price of the rare pedigree cat is correspondingly high and lies between 1,000 and 2,000 dollars. Breeding animals can sometimes be even more expensive.
When buying, make sure that a certificate of authenticity officially confirms the origin of the cats. Since the tabby pattern also occurs in other cat breeds, it should happen that cats are simply passed off as a rare Sokoke in order to sell it at a higher price.
If you are lucky enough to experience this rare breed of cats, you are guaranteed to take it in your heart straight away. After all, the African Sokoke is not only exceptionally pretty and exotic but also very people-oriented and lively. Their willingness to communicate and their curiosity is extremely refreshing and ensure a lot of entertainment in the community.