Other names: African Shorthair


The Sokoke, sometimes called the African Shorthair, take their name from the eponym forest in Kenya from which they originate. This breed of cat is natural and lived in trees. Their wildcat allure only adds the exoticism of their slender and marbled silhouette. Lively, fast, an excellent climber, they will need large spaces and trees to flourish.


Key facts about the Sokoke

  • Life expectancy : Between 12 and 15 years
  • Temperament : Playful
  • Type of coat : Short
  • Price : Between £380 and £1500

Physical characteristics of the Sokoke

Adult size

Female cat Between 12 and 14 in
Male cat Between 12 and 14 in


Female cat Between 7 and 9 lb
Male cat Between 9 and 13 lb

Coat colour


Brown is the only accepted colour. Tabby markings cause some black spots on the coat.

Coat patterns

The peculiarity of the coat lies in the presence of agouti hairs in the black marks of their marbled coat (blotched tabby). The blurred appearance of the mottling adds a touch of exoticism to their appearance.

Type of coat

Very short

Eye colour

Amber, green


Of medium size, the Sokoke is a long-limbed cat with a sturdy frame. The hind legs are more angular than the forelegs, to give a greater impetus. The body is well muscled and ends with a tail of average size, tapered at the end. The head, in the shape of a softened triangle, has wide almond-shaped eyes and large, wide ears sometimes ending in a plume. Of smaller proportion compared to the rest of the body, the head adds some singularity to their general allure.



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This cat demands frequent attention and can be very affectionate.


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Very quick and agile, playing games will be essential for this breed.


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Curious and very active in their nature, the African Shorthair tends to seek interaction rather than inaction…


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Lively and intelligent, their keen sense of curiosity may surprise you.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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Despite their independence, being curious and intelligent, this cat can adapt to new people.


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Independent, the Sokoke does not suffer from loneliness as long as there is enough stimulation in their environment.

Behaviour of the Sokoke


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Their voice, particularly intense, has a singular tone and is rich in modulations.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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Their slender body-type and long, robust legs testify to their ability to jump, climb, run and a strong need to expend energy.

Tendency to run away

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An explorer at heart, their curiosity can sometimes lead them to explore and flee.

Greedy / Gluttony

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A very active cat that has a good appetite. It will be essential to regulate their portions using, for example, interactive bowls. They will love this, games and food combined!


Sokoke and cats

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The African Shorthair can live with another cat. As long as the two cats are introduced gradually.

Sokoke and dogs

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Active and playful, this cat is quite capable of coexisting with a dog if well socialized with the species. Provide, however, high points where the cat can take refuge if needed.

Sokoke and children

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Active and curious, this is the ideal playmate for a child as long as they respect the cat and understand feline body language.

Sokoke and the elderly

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The Sokoke is not the ideal cat for an elderly person as they need a lot of physical stimulation to expend their energy.


On average, the price of a Sokoke kitten is between £380 and £1500, the price often varies according to the lineage, the breeder, the age or even the sex. For the monthly budget, it will cost on average £25 / month to provide for their needs, by providing a quality diet and ensuring their good health.


Their very short fur, devoid of undercoat, requires very little maintenance. Brushing and polishing the coat with a grooming glove once a week will be sufficient.


Minimal hair loss, especially if the coat is well maintained.

Nutrition of the Sokoke

A diet that is of good quality and adapted to the individual’s requirements is recommended.

Health of the Sokoke

Life expectancy

These cats live for 12 to 14 years on average, but some can live for up to 20 years.

Strong / robust

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This cat is fairly robust, however, despite a thick coat, the absence of an undercoat means they are sensitive to colder temperatures.

Tendency to put on weight

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Because of this cat’s great appetite, it is necessary to meet their exercise requirements to avoid excessive weight-gain.

Common illnesses

Since the breed is new and rare, no diseases that are specific to the Sokoke are currently known. However, they can suffer the same illnesses that affect other domestic cats, including oral diseases.


Sokokes can only be bred with other Sokokes.

Good to know

Despite their exotic fawn-like appearance, DNA tests, conducted in scientific studies, have revealed that Sokoke shares genetic traits with cats on Lamu Island (off Kenya) and Kenyan coastlines, not belonging to a wild species.
The Sokoke is a rare breed that has developed naturally without the intervention of humans.

Origins and history

In 1978, Jenny Slater was the first to discover this breed by finding a litter of kittens on her coconut plantation, near the Arabuko-Sokoké Protected Forest on the east coast of Kenya. She bred two, then showed them to her friend Gloria Moeldrum who imported two specimens into Denmark in 1984 and several others between 1991 and 1992. The breed was recognised in 1993 by the FIFE and integrated into the category "new breed" by the TICA in 2003.


Good names for a Sokoke: August, Freddy, Millie, Tipsy

Find out name ideas for your cat here