The Sokoke cat is originally from Kenya, Africa, and its name means “looks like tree bark” in Swahili, a reference to the unusual markings on the breed.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 1 to 20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 16 to 25 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $1000+
  • Allergies: Severe
  • Shedding: Moderate
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

Not generally as commonly found in shelters and rescues, Sokokes do lose their homes for reasons common to other breeds, including an inability to financially care for a Sokoke any longer, a divorce, or a move to a residence that is not pet-friendly.


An extremely healthy breed, Sokokes are a natural cat descending from Africa. Both shedding and grooming are minimal. Spend plenty of time with your Sokoke, and she’ll become friendly toward family and strangers. Sokokes are loving, playful, active, and just want to be with their families. They typically do well with children of all ages, although it is important to teach your children how to properly treat a cat.


Sokokes do not like being alone. If you are away from home for long hours each day, you may want to consider another breed unless you already have cats or are willing to adopt a feline friend for your Sokoke. An only Sokoke often demands and craves affection and attention. Sokokes also have minds of their own and do what they want. Your cat will lie in your lap and demand that you stroke and pet her, whether it’s a good time for you or not.


Feed your Sokoke a high quality diet rich in protein. Some cat owners prefer feeding a raw diet while others opt for a strictly dry food diet. You may also want to combine dry food with wet food several times a week. Unlike most breeds, Sokokes don’t typically show much interest in treats nor do they respond enthusiastically to catnip.


Single cats require significant play time with their humans while Sokokes in a multiple-cat household generally get enough exercise running around and playing with each other. Sokokes require plenty of space in which to run around. Ideally, your cat will have a cat tree that goes as high as the ceiling, giving her the opportunity to climb and jump.

Possible Health Issues

The Sokoke is a natural, not a man-created, breed from Africa. As a result, the Sokoke is an overall hardy and healthy breed.


A natural litter is best for a Sokoke. Most love to roll around and bathe in sandy litter, so opt for one that is chemical-free. Litter should always be digestible. Some cats accidentally ingest litter while cleaning their paws, which could lead to serious gastrointestinal problems.


Sokokes require minimal grooming. Petting your cat regularly is sufficient to keeping her fur healthy and shiny. Nails should be trimmed as needed.


Most cats, regardless of the breed, have a mind of their own, making the success of training depend on the individual cat’s personality and the persistence of her human. Sokokes tend to learn commands and routines very quickly. But, don’t put your Sokoke in a spot and command her to stay there. An independent breed, she will typically go where she wants when she wants but can be trained to come when she is called.


Because of their African roots, Sokokes love to climb. Provide your cat with a ceiling-high cat tree, if possible, and cat shelves so she can climb and jump whenever she’s in the mood. Their natural tendency is to hunt, particularly flying animals like butterflies, so a wand toy with a feather at the end is a good way to allow your Sokoke to hunt. Most also enjoy a good game of fetch.

We want to thank S*Kadzonzo Katteri for help with this profile.

Read Full Pet Profile