A rare and distinctive breed, the Sokoke hails from the country of Kenya. It has a uniquely patterned coat; a see-through ticked tabby pattern. Both the ground color and the pattern, down to the tip of the tail, are ticked making unique and striking in appearance. The only color permitted for competition is the brown classic tabby pattern. This special coat is short and close lying. It is almost hard feeling and should have no undercoat. They are described by the locals as "looking like tree bark."
The head of the Sokoke is a modified wedge that appears small when compared to the body. Ears are medium large and broad at the base with tufts on the tips. Eyes are moderately large, set wide apart and slightly almond in shape; they should be brilliant and expressive. Eye color should be amber to light green and outlined in black. The body is medium long and slender, graceful with a well-developed chest and rounded rib cage. Males should be noticeably larger than females. The legs are long and slender with medium to fine boning. Back legs should be longer than the front legs and positioned to give the appears of walking on tip-toe. Feet should be oval and medium sized.
Not only is the Sokoke unique in origin, it is unique in temperament as well. It is a combination of sensitivity and interaction, intelligence and curiosity, intuition and restfulness. They are territorial while being aware of hierarchy and where they fall in it; both amongst other cats as well as their human family members. They are well known for being attentive to their humans; perching on chair backs or near feet. These cats will settle into a window and wait for the return of their humans. Intuitive, they have an uncanny ability to sense their owners emotions and will chatter comfortingly or call loudly when they sense danger. Intelligent and active, they will play in spurts and amuse themselves for hours with a single toy only to hide it and play again another day. The Sokoke is a breed that gives its whole heart and soul to its family and requires the same making them difficult to re-home.
The Sokoke is a healthy and hardy cat with a broad gene pool. It has no special grooming or nutritional requirements and should not have any hereditary or genetic conditions though potential owners should always have any cat examined by their vet before purchasing.
A native and naturally occurring breed, the Sokoke hails from the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Preserve in the coastal zone of Kenya. Because they have evolved without human influence, it is impossible to pinpoint precisely when they became the breed that they are today, however the Giriama people native to Kenya were the first to live with and discover this special breed. They worked their way out of Africa in 1978 when Jeni Slater found wild kittens on her coconut plantation and penned two that she later bred. She then introduced the breed to her Danish friend Gloria Moeldrup who then imported two to Denmark in 1984. In 1991 three more were imported to Denmark and another to Italy in 1992. These became the foundation for the "Old Line" of Sokoke.
In 2000/2001 Jeannie Knocker, another woman living near Watamu, Kenya, researched the breed and obtained more. She had been planning a film about the cats when financine fell through and her son contacted the breeders in Europe. Desperate for new blood to help expand the gene pool, these "New Line" Sokoke would imported to Europe and the United States. In 2004 they were accepted by TICA as a registration only breed and received Preliminary breed status by 2008.