If you are a fur parent who has lots of love and attention to give, the Snowshoe cat breed is the perfect fit for you! With their bright, beautiful blue eyes, their white “snow boot” paws and their very sweet personality, there is no doubt that this cat breed is becoming a favourite among cat lovers and enthusiasts.
There are two distinctive features of this cat breed which are their coat and their colour markings. Both of these reflect their Siamese ancestors. They are born all-white and develop their dark features in the first few years of their life. This cat breed is a blue point or seal point, just like a Siamese. However, Snowshoes have a coat resembling a "tuxedo" where their feet are different, which comes from their American shorthair genes. As they ages, it is normal for their coat to darken.
Snowshoes are unique and beautiful, mixed with their athletic built, which makes an outstanding combination. Unlike their Siamese cousins, this cat breed has a rounder and fuller face and body. Males are much sturdier than their female counterparts, but both have muscular bodies. Typically, their head is triangular with long ears that are rounded at the tips. Another striking feature of the Snowshoe is their eyes' colour, ranging from deep to pale blue and always bright and shining.
The Snowshoe’s personality is as exceptional as their appearance. Like snowflakes, no two have identical personalities. Some cats are shy, some are bossy, and some are caregivers. All, though, are highly intelligent, entertaining and loyal. As they grow and mature, the contrast of the white against their point colours darkens. They are an excellent choice for families with young children or other cats and are easy to maintain by brushing weekly.
- Grooming: Once a Week 2/10
- Shedding: Low 2/10
- Hypoallergenic: Low 2/10
- Activity Level: High 10/10
- Playfulness: High 10/10
- Friendliness to other pets: High 10/10
- Friendliness to children: High 10/10
- Affection towards it’s owners: High 10/10
- Vocality: Medium 6/10
- Intelligence: High 10/10
- Independence: Low 2/10
The Snowshoe’s origin can be traced back to the early 1960s. It is when Dorothy Hinds Daugherty of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, found three kittens in a litter of Siamese with four white feet. Dorothy liked the exceptional and unique combination of their pointed colours and white feet and started the process to create a cat breed. In developing this cat breed, she bred the kittens to a domestic American Shorthair with tuxedo markings. This ultimately developed their popular white 'V' facial markings.
The American Shorthair cat breed was still pending recognition as a breed at that time. The outcome of breeding a domestic cat produced a different cat from either of the two ancestors with a combination of both ancestors' personalities.
However, much of the Snowshoe’s history was missing due to poorly kept records over the years. The original pattern restrictions discouraged both new and old breeders due to the inconsistencies of the white patterning. Between 1960 and 1977, interest in the cat breed had diminished until there was only one breeder in 1977. In 1989, there were close to thirty documented Snowshoe breeders.
Finally, in 1994, The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the Snowshoe as a championship breed.
Snowshoes look virtually like a marriage of the Siamese and American shorthair cats. Keeping much of their body length of the Siamese but adding a little more of the American Shorthair’s weight to it, the Snowshoe is a medium-large, moderately built cat breed. Their heads can be either apple-shaped or triangular. The best varieties have shorthair markings on their gorgeous faces, with an upside-down “V” marking that is one of the cat breed standards. Their pointed ears are broad set, and their walnut-shaped eyes are always a shade of blue.
The kittens are born white. Their point colouring starts to develop in a few weeks. Their head, ears, legs and tail darken as the kitten ages. Their body is a lighter colour from a light cream colour, with the shading darkening as they age. The most common colours are blue point and seal point. The lighter shades of chocolate and lilac are less common due to the specialized breeding requirements to produce lighter colours. Moreover, the lighter colours do not have better contrast between their point colour and their white feet.
The Snowshoe is a well-balanced cat, neither too small nor too large; they are strong, muscular without being huge and deceivingly powerful and agile. Their body looks like a runner and leaper rather than a weightlifter, having a slightly but not very long, which makes their body appear more of a rectangle. Their medium-large ears continue the triangular shape of their head. The medium oval-shaped paws are tapering to their toes.
The Snowshoe male is a medium-sized cat weighing approximately nine to twelve pounds, with a heaviness that makes them seem heftier when lifted, while the Snowshoe female is typically much smaller, weighing about seven to ten pounds. However, some females match the male in their size but not always in heaviness.
The Snowshoe’s coat is short, thick, close-lying, silky coat with no obvious undercoat. It comes in a wide array of colours and patterns. Snowshoe is a shorthair cat, not to be mixed-up with either a Ragdoll or a Birman. They are not even related to either of these cat breeds. Their coat is a single layer with no indication of an undercoat and is typically smooth to the touch. Their short hair coat is easy to groom, and most Snowshoes will groom themselves unless they feel sick or stressed.
Snowshoe’s personality is an exceptional combination. There are times that they are considered shy, while at some time, they are viewed as bossy because of their desire to lead their human companion. But all Snowshoes are considered a mellow cat breed that thrives on affection, companionship and interaction. Snowshoes are known to express themselves vocally and enjoy talking with their human companions. They do so in a soft, melodic voice. While reserved around strangers, this cat breed shows great dedication and love towards their family. They often attach themselves and serve as a constant feline companion to one family member.
They adore being around people, making this cat breed perfect for families with children and will get along well with other pets too. Snowshoes are very social and should not be left alone for long periods of time.
Snowshoes love water. So, don't be surprised if they jump in the tub with you. While many cats like to stick their paws under a running faucet, Snowshoes loves to swim. To keep them entertained for hours, put a shallow container of water to splash around.
Snowshoes are brilliant, lithe, active, and loves to play. They learn new things quickly. So, it is best to keep this cat breed busy with brain activities such as toys and exercised with teaser toys where this cat breed can hunt and run around and a big cat tree where they can climb. Challenge their bright minds and keep them focused by teaching them commands, games and tricks. Give them many puzzle toys and other interactive toys that will reward them with kibbles or treats when they learn how to operate them.
Aside from being very energetic, the Snowshoe is very clever and easy to train. They enjoy learning new tricks such as playing fetch, walking on a leash, and opening cupboards and doors. Their speed and cleverness are also a good match for the cat agility courses.
Engaging cat companions for people of all ages, Snowshoes are thriving in the company of others. This cat breed is best suited with companions who can spend more time at home, including an older kid who can train and play with them. Because they desire companionship, they will find ways to involve their family in their activities. Snowshoes enjoy the company of another cat with a similar active temperament in the home for playing or cuddling.
When a Snowshoe is appropriately socialized and trained during their kittenhood, they will thrive on being a well-rounded and well-mannered feline companion.
Snowshoes are active, athletic cats who answer well to activities and games that keep them moving. Getting a multi-level cat condo or even a running wheel is an excellent option for your Snowshoe cat. They love toys but keep a variety on hand to match their ever-changing quirks.
Snowshoes have short, close-lying, thick coats, but surprisingly, they are low maintenance on the grooming department. Weekly brushing or combing and a wipe over with chamois leather are all you need to keep their coats healthy and in good condition with a nice shine on them. Like other cat breeds, they tend to shed the most during Spring and then again during Autumn, when more regular brushing is typically necessary to keep their coat in tiptop condition. Also, Snowshoes are not assumed to be heavy shedders.
Train your Snowshoe to adapt to regular brushing or combing at an early stage. This way, they get acquainted with staying still and behaving well when being brushed or combed. Begin by using a very soft brush to pull or hurt the kitten’s fur or skin. Remember to give them a reward whenever your Snowshoe behaved throughout the grooming session. As it matures, you can get a more effective brush or comb to suit its coat needs.
Brush their teeth weekly to prevent any tooth and gum diseases. To keep their nails clean and neat, trim them twice a month or when needed. Wipe the corners with a clean, soft, damp cloth to remove any dirt or discharge for clean and healthy eyes. Just make sure to use a different part of the clean, damp cloth for each eye to prevent the risk of any infection.
To keep their ears free of dirt, debris and wax, wipe them with a cotton ball or a clean, soft damp cloth and a vet-approved ear cleanser weekly. If you smell a foul odour coming out of their ears, immediately bring your Snowshoe to the vet clinic for treatment.
To avoid getting dirt and debris on their coat whenever they use their litter boxes, keep it always clean. If it is left unclean, they tend to use other places in the house.
Snowshoes are generally healthy. Their life expectancy is between fifteen to more than twenty years with proper care, exercise, and a high-quality diet. It is crucial to keep their vaccinations and parasite treatments up-to-date.
This cat breed gets along great with children, other cats, and cat-friendly dogs. So homing them in large families or multi-pet homes should be easy. In fact, it is encouraged to have them grow up with another pet due to their low tolerance for being alone. It is always recommended to introduce pets gradually and in controlled environments to make sure that they learn to get along well together.
Always supervise younger kids to avoid accidents and won’t hurt the cat by pulling their fur or twisting their tail.