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December 8, 2018 |5 min read

Sokoke Hybrid Cat Basics

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For pet parents ready to take a walk on the wild side, it doesn't get much wilder (or rarer) than the Sokoke cat, also sometimes called a Sokoke hybrid because it was originally thought to be a hybrid between a wildcat and a domestic feline. Turns out these exceptionally hard-to-find kitties aren't hybrids at all, but instead are simply a very rare breed of domestic cat originating in the Sokoke area of eastern Kenya in Africa. Despite their wild origins and exotic appearance, these bouncy cats are renowned for their friendliness and eagerness to hang out with their human families. What else stands out about these unique cats? Well, for starters . . .

Sokoke Cat Physical Traits

sokoke kitten

One look at this cat and it's easy to see why they are often mistaken for wildcats. While smaller than their wild cousins, they are still medium-sized cats with lean, muscular, athletic bodies that make them outstanding runners and jumpers. Their hind legs are just a bit longer and higher up than their front legs, leading to a pronounced arch in the back and a distinctive gait that makes them look as if they are walking on their tip toes. Don't mistake this for daintiness, though, as these kitties are rough and tumble and love to run around to get into whatever adventures they can find.
Further lending to their wildcat-like appearance, the Sokoke has a very short, thin coat that only naturally occurs in a blotchy, light brown to chestnut-colored tabby pattern that some have said resembles tree bark in appearance (though thankfully not texture).

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Sokoke cats also have unique heads and faces. Their ears are more rounded at the tips compared to most domestic cats, and their heads are small compared to the rest of the body. Their noses are long and straight, giving them a distinctly regal appearance. Coupled with their wide-set oval eyes in shades of amber or green, these kitties will look every part the king or queen of the house from atop the high perch they'll undoubtedly claim as their own in your home.

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Sokoke Cat Personality

sokoke cat outside

For pet parents looking for a feline friend to truly integrate with the family, Sokoke cats are a great choice. These playful cats have "dog-like" personalities, in that they form deep, lasting bonds with their human family members and generally adapt well to whatever life throws at them, including strangers, children, and other pets that might scare or annoy more timid cats. The Sokoke is a highly intelligent breed that can be taught tricks and be leash trained for owners who'd like to pop a harness on their furry friend and go for a trek in the wilderness (or just around the block).
Like all cats, the Sokoke's wild ancestry and evolution have made him a fierce hunter, and his strong muscles ensure he can leap to high points. Accordingly, pet parents shouldn't be surprised to find their Sokoke hanging out atop the fridge or some other high point in the house; they like to keep an eye on everything, and they like to be as far above the ground as possible to get a better lay of the land.
If you know anything about cats, it's that they generally prefer to stay out of water. Not the Sokoke! This breed loves water and might even go for a dip if given the opportunity. This can be a source of great amusement if you're prepared for it, but it can also be rather startling when your Sokoke barges in on you in the bathtub or the pool and starts swimming laps. You might enjoy having a new swim buddy, but if that's not quite your thing, you might want to give your kitty some quality play time if you find that he enjoys water; otherwise, he might decide to turn his water dish--and your floor--into a tiny swimming pool on his own!
Do you have a Sokoke? Is he a swimmer, or does he prefer to observe us mere mortals from on high? Let us know in the comment section down below!


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Christina Scamporrino is a lifelong animal lover and began working in the petcare space in 2019. Christina’s passion for the community of feline owners and enthusiasts have led her to designing premium packaging for PrettyLitter cat litter, PrettyPlease dry food, wet food, and treats, and a litter box designed to solve common litter box issues.

Outside of her professional work in the petcare space, Christina is a longtime kitten foster and has worked with several cat rescues throughout Southern California. When given the option, she favors orange cats, but loves all cats equally.