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Category: "Sokoke"

Sokoke - The rarest breed

by Ed  

The original name of the Sokoke breed was Khadzonzos. The Khadzonzos cats were discovered in the Arabuko-Sokoke forest, on the Kenyan coast, by Jeni Slater in 1978. Gloria Moeldrop, a friend of Slater's, brought some of the cats home with her to Denmark to breed. In 1990, she imported more cats from Kenya to strengthen the breeding stock. The cats were first shown in Copenhagen in 1984. The breed was officially recognized by the Fifee in 1993, with the name changed to Sokoke, after where they came from.

Sokoke
Sokoke breed - said to be the rarest cat breed in the world.

Sokokes have blotched tabby coats in shades of brown, with amber to light green eyes. Their coats are short and coarse, with little to no undercoat. Their bodies are long and thin, with long legs. The back legs should be longer than the front legs, similar to an ocelot. Sokokes are very active and enjoy climbing and "talking" to their people.

The Sokoke Cat is quite possibly the rarest Breed in the World, with only 10 breeding adults in the USA currently, and 3 in Canada.

An ancient Breed, it is found in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest District near Watamu, Kenya in Africa - tribal elders for generations had called the cats "Kadzonzo" which in the native Swahili means "looks like tree bark".

Jeannie Knocker has since written from Kenya that Kadzonzo means, "Come, beautiful one" to the local Giriama tribe - they describe Kadzonzo as "looks like tree bark" but the fact the word means, "Come, beautiful one" tells us that the tribe has had an affection and affinity for these cats for awhile now.... All of the new-line found cats have been found semi-domesticated in settlements - none have been found inside the Forest Preserve itself, but since much of it is trackless and 400 sq. kilometers, the possibility is always there that more may be inside the Forest Preserve boundaries. These elegant cats are believed, along with the cats of Lamu, to have come down on trading boats from Egypt on to have settled and populated this area.

Because of their resemblance to the ancestor of all domestic cats, Felis Lybica (African Wildcat) it is surmised that they are closely related to them; because the African Wildcat's DNA is in all domestic cats, the DNA testing on them has come up domestic, which they are. Dr. Richard Leakey, famed anthropologist, has suggested that the Sokoke Cat may come from a previously unknown branch of the Taita Wild Cat. Still others believe they are a completely independent genera. An ancient, 'living antique" domestic - quite possibly the "Missing Link" to the appearance of the classic tabby pattern in our domestic cats - these rare, mysterious felines are one of the International Cat Associations's newest Breeds.

They have been a FiFe (Fédération Internationale Féline) Championship Breed for ten years, and are accepted by CCA, and UFO as Experimental and NBC Breeds respectively.

"Discovered" in 1978 by Jeni Slater, a Coconut plantation owner, and later brought to Europe by Gloria Moeldrup, a friend of Jeni's, the Sokoke has had a very limited gene pool. A Sokoke Club in Denmark was formed after Gloria brought a breeding pair over, and the first ones were shown in Copenhagen in 1984.