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A Definitive History of the Somali Cat

compiled by Walter & Karen Del Pellegrino

Maintained in loving memory,

Walter Del Pellegrino, July 20, 1948 - August 8, 2019

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Table of Contents

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This site is designed for the serious student of early Somali history and development. It is meant to be used as a tool for the Somali owner or breeder who wishes to write and speak intelligently about the breed's beginnings. At this moment this study contains over one hundred printed pages of the Somali's early history and the site is still under construction. It is not meant for the casual browser.

You, the reader, will discover reprints of early newsletters, personal letters from early notable breeders, forgotten and lost early Somali pedigrees. Over the last quarter century we have lovingly filed away and archived that history knowing that if someone did not preserve these documents truth would be replaced by rumor and fact would become myth. We have searched the worldwide web and read all available literature. All are filled with speculation, theory and hearsay. Without an effort such as this one, the history of the Somali would be lost forever.

Herein you will find the facts, the cats and the people that helped to create that magnificent Somali that now resides in your home. Without these people and their cats and their immense efforts, that Somali would not exist today. They have earned their place in history and this is their testimonial.

This is the story of a long hard struggle for acceptance. It is a story of rejection, humiliation and forced isolation. It is also a story of triumph over prejudice and almost insurmountable odds. It recounts the fight of a small band of dedicated individuals to gain worldwide recognition for a breed once considered "undesirable" and "unwanted".

In the end we hope that you leave this site not only better informed but filled with a greater sense of appreciation for that Somali laying on your lap. Perhaps when next you pick up your cat's four or five generation pedigree you might even imagine what those early cats and their owners really represent.




Complete reprint of groundbreaking 1976 study presented to the CFA Board of Directors.

Includes early sketch pedigrees of Abyssinians known to carry the longhair gene, early Somali pedigrees and 1998 update completing the history of Raby Chuffa of Selene, the forefather of all early North American Somalis.

Genesis | 1998 Update

To Chuffa's Pedigree

The interesting history of Chuffa's great-great grand dam can be found in the 1998 Update section.


THE 1970'S

Excerpts from early club newsletters plus complete reprint of volume 1 number 1. Contains the names of those early pioneers and those Somalis that helped to create the beloved bloodlines of today. Includes how the battles were fought and won, the strategies and tactics utilized to gain precious recognition.

1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979

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The 1978 proposal as presented to the CFA Board of Directors in Rosemont, Illinois. This was one of two proposals requesting CFA recognition of the Somali for Championship status (the other was presented by the International Somali Cat Club). It was at this meeting that the dream became a reality.

The Proposal

Original Document Scans with Artwork by L. Swanson


When doing the research for GENESIS we contacted many early Aby and Somali breeders. These are their personal views and firsthand experiences. These letters offer unprecendented insight and present the reader with a truly personal history of the breed.



A compilation of those individuals and cats who were the first to make history and leave their mark forever more.

Historic Firsts

Add an historic event by filling out a simple FORM.

All additions are welcome, especially firsts from Europe,
Australia, Japan and the UK, and the blue and fawn colors.


These are some of the earliest Somali pedigrees available. Compiled by Mrs. Ina Rauch for the Somali Cat Club of America and foraged from other early sources. This should prove to be an invaluable tool for the researcher wanting to extend his Somali's pedigree back through the darkness of time.


An opportunity to see some of the original foundation cats
and other images from the Somali's past.

Look for the camera image, , throughout the site
as an indication that there is now a photo available.

Somali Links

Our suggested Somali links, well worth visiting.

Filtered ISP's

Off the topic but good general information - we've added a page of links to Filtered ISP home pages. Parents may want to see if any of these 'content blocking' services can help provide safer web surfing for their kids.

Also off the topic but we DO have a life beyond Somalis!
We've added this link to our new book, Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

"Italian Pottery Marks From Cantagalli To Fornasetti
(And Everyone In Between)"

Collectors of majolica and faience may find it useful;
years of researching our "treasured finds"
(Ebay, we hold you responsible for so many of them!)
have finally come together in this reference guide. If you collect Italian pottery, we hope you find the book interesting and helpful!
Preview the book

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Update 11/21/2021

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