Sokoke Cat Breed Profile

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    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 Jeni Slater found a female cat and her kittens near Watamu in Kenya. Jeni hand raised a male and female, who were later mated.

    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. To strengthen the gene pool, it was necessary to import more cats from Kenya later on.

    In 2001, Jeannie Knocker was planning to feature the Sokoke. 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 were able to introduce new genes to the small gene pool.



    A wedge-shaped head, which is small in comparison to the body. The nose is straight, leading down to a firm chin. Ears are medium in size with round tips; they sit high on the head. Oval shaped eyes set wide apart and range in colour from amber to green.


    Medium-sized, lithe and athletic, with slender legs and oval paws. The hind legs are longer than the front legs. The tail is long and tapering to a point.


    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.


    The Sokoke stands out as a unique cat. They are very dog-like in personality and will rush to greet you when you return from work. The Sokoke is an intelligent breed that are easy to train to walk on a leash.

    Sokoke’s bond deeply with their owners and are never far away. They are a playful, curious and loyal breed that gets along with children and other pets.


    • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

      Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio