Somalis - The First Decade and Beyond
by Debbie & Larry Ritter

From the 1990-91 CFA Yearbook, posted with permission from CFA

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1979 is marked as a special year in the history of the breed. It was the first year that Somalis were admitted into CFA Championship competition and Somali breeders were off and running to the shows!

That first year also saw Foxtail’s Rio Grande, a ruddy male, bred and exhibited by Patricia Neil Warren, become the first CFA Somali Grand Champion. However, Rio, who granded on a Saturday, was first by only a matter of hours. On the following Sunday, CFA had its second Grand Champion Somali, Nephrani’s Kubla Khan, a red male bred and owned by Ruth and Robert Morris.

It was a close race for the rest of the show season between Rio and Khan, but Rio went on to complete the season in a “grand” style by becoming CFA’s Best Somali, and 19th Best Cat in Championship. The many shows in which both of these fine examples of Somalis were shown, and the final outcome, renewed the efforts of many old and new breeders alike, of pursuing their hopes and dreams of producing the ultimate Somali.

As we’ve moved through our first decade of competition, we’ve seen the Somali accomplish great achievements within CFA. A large number of Somalis have granded, and have also achieved Regional wins of distinction. In 1985 another ruddy male, GC, NW Murex’s Sunrise, bred and owned by Richard and Karen Smith, earned top honors as CFA’s 16th Best Cat in Championship.

Silamos Rocky Boy, reached a new milestone in CFA by becoming the first cat to achieve the title of Best Cat in Premiership in a CFA Region (Gulf Shore, 1984). 1990 sees another cat repeating history by also achieving the title of Best Cat in Premiership. This time the region is the Southwest and the honors go to Zarpa’s Liberty Valance.

In recent years, three very high scoring fine Somalis fell just short of achieving top twenty wins at the national level. Zarpa’s Durango, Zarpa’s Lakota, and Nephrani’s Red Flash, during their show careers, all represented the Somali at its finest. As Somalis move into their second decade of competition, it is certain that the growing number of dedicated Somali breeders will produce many more cats of superb quality and distinction.

For the first time, in the 1990-91 Show Season, Cat Fanciers will see Somalis exhibited in four colors: Ruddy, Red, Blue, and Fawn. Originally, in 1980, Somalis were only recognized in two colors, Ruddy and Red. In 1986 Blue Somalis were recognized for Championship competition. It took four more years of hard work by the Fawn breeders before their cats would obtain equal status. The first and only Blue Somali Grand Champion, as of this writing, is a female, Yum’s Blueberry Cobbler, who granded in 1990. As we progress into the 1990’s, we eagerly await the first Fawn Somali Grand Champion.

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