Somalis - The Next Generation
by Karen Talbert
From the October 1992 CFA Almanac, posted with permission from CFA
In 1977 Somalis were advanced in CFA to Provisional Status. In the 1977-78 season at least 125 Somalis were shown for the judges to handle! All the hard work by the breeders to show their Somalis that year paid off since at the October 1978 Board Meeting, the Board voted unanimously to advance the Somali to Championship Status! The first CFA Somali Grand Champions were Foxtail’s Rio Grande, a ruddy male owned by Patricia Nell Warren, and Nephrani’s Kubla Khan, a red male owned by Ruth and Bob Morris; both granded in the same weekend in 1979. Rio went on to become the Best Somali of the year, and the 19th Best Cat in Championship. In 1985 Murex’s Sunrise, a ruddy male owned by Richard and Karen Smith, became 16th Best Cat in Championship. In 1988 two Somalis ran a tight race for a national win and almost succeeded. A ruddy male, Zarpa’s Lakota, owned by Dick and Nell Foster, finished 21st highest scoring cat, and Robert and Ruth Morris’ ruddy male, Nephrani’s Repeat, came in shortly behind him. In 1991 Dick and Nell Foster showed Mabuhay’s Wind Warrior, a ruddy male, who was 19th Best Cat in Championship, bred by Carla Bizzell. This year, 1992, there were a total of FIVE Somalis earning national awards! Third Best Cat in Championship and Best Somali was the red male, Silkpaws Raj, bred and owned by Debbie and Bruce Bobbins. The 12th Best Alter was a ruddy male, Mabuhay’s Copper Blaze of Foxykats, owned by Kathy Black and bred by Carla Bizzell. The 14th Best Alter was a red male, Roadrace’s Ferrari Dino of Bemy, owned by Bettijane Myjak and Carolyn Marriner, bred by Carolyn Marriner. The Second Best Somali was a red male, Carquinez Vulcan, owned and bred by Bill and Karen Talbert. The Best Alter - Hawaii Award - was earned by a red male, Lynn-Lee’s Golden Oriole, owned by Kathleen C. Fish, bred by Evelyn Mague. What a year for Somali representation! The first Distinguished Merit female was a shorthair Somali, Foxtail’s Shoshone of Purrpots. The second Somali D.M. was Foxtail’s Anne Get Your Gun of Rainkey. Foxtail’s Skyhawk of Roadrace, Lynn-Lee’s Strawberry Shortcake, and Nephrani’s Bel Mira of Mickalas were other female Somali D.M.’s.
The first Somali female to produce five Grand Champions in one litter was Zarpa’s Sarita of Mabuhay. All five ruddy cats granded in 1991; they were Mabuhay’s Wind Warrior of Zarpa, Mabuhay’s Glory, Mabuhay’s Taylor, Mabuhay’s Lonestar and Mabuhay’s Copper Blaze of Foxykats. Several male Somalis are noted for producing Grand Champions and Grand Premiers. Tir-Na-Nog’s Grand Canyon of Foxtail produced many grands. Nephrani’s Sirocco of Rainkey has sired 11 grands. Seguins Golden Eagle has sired 12 grands.
The first blue Somali to achieve Grand Championship was Yum Blueberry Cobbler, in 1990, a female owned by Sarah Bixler. Sarah also bred the first fawn to grand, a male, Yum Raspberry Revel, in 1991. Currently, over 250 Somalis have achieved grand champion status in CFA!! Silamos Rocky Boy, in 1984, was the first to become a regional Best Cat in Premiership. He was shown by George Dengler. In the 1990-91 show season Misty-Lee Martin showed GRP Zarpa’s Liberty Valance to Best Cat in Premiership, Southwest Region. Liberty Valance went on to “Star” in the TV program, “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” as the Somali pet of the android, Data. What a promotion for the breed! Somalis were suddenly recognized by fans everywhere!
The Somali is a natural born show cat. In the early 70’s Lynn-Lee’s Catfish of Puklat was a cat of unique show personality. He would puff up his busy tail, making the hair on his back stand on end, looking like the “Halloween Cat”. He would also come out of his cage huffing and puffing, even though he was always a gentle cat in the ring. Winery’s Ice Bucket was a favorite show cat in the late 70’s and 80’s. He would sit on top of his show cage oblivious to the goings on around him. He would allow people to admire and pet him, as if it were his due. On the judges stand he would often butt heads with the judges and would look out calmly at the audience for admiration. He retired in 1987 having achieved many awards in the cat associations, while furthering the popularity of the Somali breed. Mr Thunder of Carquinez, showing in the late 80’s, was another cat that spent more of his time at the shows out of the cage, usually sitting in his owner’s briefcase. People sometimes took a double look to see if he was real or not. Mr. Thunder was always ready to kiss any of the ladies that asked.
The Somali is truly a breathtaking cat to behold. With its masked face, ticked fur, and full tail, the Somali resembles a little fox. In the show hall, people constantly stop and ask, “What kind of cat is THAT?” Sometimes they say, “It looks…sort of like…an Abyssinian!” There are always many exclamations of praise. The wild feral look is what draws attention to the cat. The fur is medium length, with longer fur at the ruff and breeches; the tail is thick and full. The body is medium long, lithe, graceful and muscular. The Somali has an arc to its back and walks on its tip-toes, which gives it the appearance of being about to pounce upon its prey. CFA recognizes four colors in the breed, ruddy, red, blue and fawn. The ruddy is a burnt-sienna color, ticked with black. The red is warm and glowing with chocolate-brown ticking. The blue is a warm, blush-beige with slate-blue ticking. The fawn is a warm, rose-beige with light cocoa-brown ticking. Somalis are very affectionate, active, intelligent, highly social, curious, and natural show-offs. They nuzzle and hug their favorite people. They fly around the house in bursts of energy (chasing who knows what??). They are very playful, and playing “fetch” is one of their favorite games. When no one will play with them, they throw things up in the air and play by themselves. Another funny game to watch is the “monkey run,”, where they run sideways, back arched, and tail curved erect in the air! They learn how to open doors and drawers, turn on kitchen water faucets, flush toilets, and unroll toilet paper. They use their paws like monkeys use their hands. When confrtoned with their antics, they look up as if to say, “Who ME? Couldn’t BE!” They “help” make beds by chasing the sheets, and jump on the broom, mop, or even the vacuum cleaner for a ride. Life seems to be one big delight for them. And they make life a real delight for their people!
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