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Flights of Fancy

The Rarest Domestic Cat Breed on Earth

Saturday, October 23, 2010

There are many domestic cat breeds. Most people including cat lovers will not have heard of a number of them. They will almost certainly be unaware of this rarest of breeds.

There is little hard fact surrounding the history of the Sokoke Cat. The breed was named after the forest from where she originated on the coast of Kenya. The Sokoke Forest is the largest on the east of Africa and contains much interesting wildlife.

Photo Credit: Jomegat
Close to the forest is the African Savanna, the home of another cat, this time a wild cat called the Serval.

The local people, the Giriama tribe, who live close to the Sokoke Forest have been aware of the Sokoke for a long time and they say this breed of cat has been living in the area for perhaps centuries.

They say that the Sokoke is neither a domestic cat nor a wild cat as the cat's appearance is distinctly different. Living as they have with this cat for so long they are to be believed.

Although the Sokoke is the size of a domestic cat she is rangy and exotic looking having the appearance of a cross between the Serval and a Bengal.

It is feasible to argue that such mating did in fact take place. But there is no hard evidence to substantiate that.

DNA testing of the cat shows no evidence of wild cat genes. The Sokoke is probably a feral domestic cat living in and around the villages of the Grimiama tribe who used the cat as a source of food at one time.

The tribal people called the cat "Khadzonzo". This word means "look like tree bark". This is because the coat color and pattern is reminiscent of tree bark being a modified marbled tabby pattern with "ticked" blotches.

Although well-known to the Kenyans of the area they were undiscovered until 1978 when a plantation owner and artist (and former horse breeder) Jeni Slater found them under a tree on her estate (in fact one of her servants or helpers found the mother cat and kittens).

Jeni's background in breeding alerted her to the fact that the cat she saw was special, different and unusual and a possible new breed of cat.

She took two of the kittens and that in effect was the first step in the establishment of a new and rare breed of cat now registered with FiFe and TICA.

Shortly after the discovery two kittens were shipped to Denmark and breeding began.

In due course the breed was exported to the USA and Canada. There are now breeders in the USA, Norway, Canada and Denmark but they are few and far between in comparison to the more well-known breeds.

You can read more about this rarest of cats at Pictures of Cats Blog and at Pictures of Cats

About the Author
Michael Broad runs these cat sites:
Pictures of Cats Blog and at Pictures of Cats and is a cat lover, animal lover. Both sites are intended to create income no matter how small to fund cat charities.

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