The Sokoke, whose appearance is often likened to an Ocelot or Cheetah, is a natural breed that was first discovered in a jungle rainforest of Kenya in 1978. Found on the property of Jeni Slater, a horse breeder and wildlife artist, the unusual litter of kittens gained immediate interest and a pair was later transported to Denmark alongside a neighbour, Gloria Moeldrup, who was keen to start breeding them. It is theorised that the Sokoke, whose name derives from its place of supposed discovery, was a sacred cat of the native Kenyan Giriama tribe. These people addressed the cats with fond affection and were quite possibly the first to have discovered the breed. The International Cat Association officially registered the Sokoke in 2004.
Recognisable for its lean, athletic body structure and elegant bearing, the Sokoke is a distinctive and handsome breed of cat with a wild appearance. The breed is further characterised by long, nimble legs, large cupped ears and a small wedge-shaped head. The eyes are typically light green to amber and correspond well with the coat. The coat itself is short and close-fitting, and is easily maintained with regular grooming. The patterning of the coat is perhaps the most distinctive feature of the breed, being tabby with dark banding around the legs and its narrow tail. The Sokoke is a notoriously capable climber and can reach great heights with ease.
The Sokoke is a fiercely devoted cat with a natural love of people. Compatible with children and other house pets when introduced to them gradually, the Sokoke is well suited to living in the home and makes a delightful companion pet. Highly intelligent, the Sokoke is able to perceive its owners emotions and will respond with love, loyalty and affection whatever the situation. This breed is moderately demanding of attention and does not appreciate being left alone for long periods of time. The average Sokoke will communicate softly when it wants to be noticed and will trail behind you for a cuddle. Typically, a healthy adult Sokoke will weigh 5-10 pounds, with an approximate life expectancy of 12-15 years.
The Sokoke is a rare breed of cat so determining breed-specific or genetic health conditions is difficult. Ear infections are well documented in the breed so checking ears regularly for a build-up of wax is essential.