Sokoke cat breed photo

The origin of the breed

Sokoke - is a rare breed native to Kenyan region of the same name. A landrace of feral felines, named Khadzonzo by local tribesmen, was always known to inhabit this 150 square mile area. Due to spontaneous crossings of feral and domesticated felines, the ancestor of contemporary Sokokes was likely born, and was likewise domesticated by locals. Another explanation of Sokoke origin claims that domesticated felines to cross with local ferals were in fact brought by European and Arabian ships. At any rate, both theories agree on the fact that the resulting half-feral hybrid has later returned to the wilds, and became feral once again, resulting in a peculiar, unique genotype

In the year 1978 a litter of unusual kittens was found by Jeni Slater, freshly moved-in horse breeder and farmer, on her coconut plantation. Kittens’ appearance was described as striking, beautiful, and vastly different from contemporary home cats.

Having not started the breed development herself, whether due to amount of legal issues and red tape, or to simply not having enough time for that, Ms Slater has given a pair of african patterned kittens to her friend Gloria Moeldrop, who has brought them to Denmark in 1983, where they were labelled as African Shorthair, a comprehensive breeding programme was devised in the same year. Up until 1990 select kenyan felines were imported to europe to strengthen breeding stocks.

Officially acknowledged in Denmark in 1992, the breed was soon after recognised by a number of other countries, and FIFe has cemented the official status by creating an official standard, based on 19 cats from 5 generations, and decided on Sokoke as the name of the breed.

As of now, the majority of world’s Sokokes reside in Denmark. While the breed may only exhibit in novice class, phenotypic cats are expected to provide their Kenyan import papers.


An elegant and flexible feline, quite fit and as such decently heavy for their average size, weight ranging from 6 to 13 lbs. The defining feature of Sokokes are their large whiskered ears, black tail tip and big, expressive eyes

Head: Shaped as a modified wedge, oftenly seen as smaller than would be proportional. The top part of the skull is flat, cheekbones are high set and well developed. Nose is average in length, with convect in profile. The chin is wide and strong, whisker pads are well developed, cheek lines are overall smooth.

Eyes: Large, almond shaped, placed not too far apart and slightly slanted, the colour varies from almond to bright green. Eyes are highlighted in the darker colour of body pattern.

Ears: Medium sized, not extremely wide set, broad at base and tapering to a round tip. Lynx tufts are desired.

Neck: Medium sized, not extremely wide set, broad at base and tapering to a round tip. Lynx tufts are desired.

Body: Average in overall length, elegant yet fit. Adequate bone structure and developed ribcage.

Legs: Long, elegant and muscular. Front legs are shorter than hindlegs, which makes for a peculiar, almost crouching stride.

Paws: Paw pads coloration ranges from black to brown.

Tail: Medium length, thick at base and tapering to a pointy tip.

Coat: Short and silky, clinging and elastic. The undercoat, if present, should not be well developed.

Colours: The breed’s signature is known as blotched tabby, any coat colour is possible.

Flaws: Excessively orient head type; very prominent forehead-muzzle transition; prominent cheek borders; chunky, non-elegant body.

Disqualification on shows:White medallion, and/or white spots anywhere but around nostrils, chin and upper chest.

Universal disqualification: Amputated claws, criptorchism, deafness.

Character traits and features

Sokoke is an exceptionally active, playful and curious cat. Smart and witty, they are independent and adaptive, while at the same time very delicate with their owner and friendly with other pets, especially sokokes. Normally sokokes are self-sufficient, easily deal with master’s long absence, and do not make for a good lap cats, but instead are never intrusive, need only little attention, and still follow the owner around the house carefully observing their actions.

Fine with city flat life, these cats’ games may require a lot of free space. It should be noted that sokokes have saved some of their skills from wild life, namely the lack of fear, affinity to water and fast running, with an ability to stand for themselves added on top. Hunting instincts can still be tamed tamed and allow for peaceful coexistence with pet rodents and critters, but only given the adequate and sufficient nutrition.

Average lifespan of sokoke breed ranges from 13 to 16 years.

Maintenance and care

Sokokes require little maintenance, all you really have to do is give them a brooming every now and then. Natural comfort with water makes for easy bathing, and pure genetics lend good health.
Still it is best when these cats live in a larger house and have ample space for running and climbing around.

Nutrition choices

Natural nutritions are preferred.

Selection and breeding

Allowed crossings: none

Breeds relative to or derived from Sokoke: none confirmed

Alternative and obsolete breed names


African shorthair;

Kenyan forest;



Breed's catteries