At a glance
The Snowshoe cat is an American breed of created by Siamese cat breeder Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty of Kensing Cattery, Philadelphia. A Siamese cat of hers gave birth to a litter of three kittens, all of whom had four white feet. Dorothy liked the look of these kittens and began a breeding programme crossing Seal Point Siamese with bicolour American Shorthairs. Eventually, Dorothy abandoned the breeding programme and a breeder by the name of Vikki Olander of Furr-Lo Cattery took over. Vikki wrote the first breed standard for the Snowshoe and pushed for breed recognition. The breed was granted experimental breed status in 1974.
Snowshoes went into decline after this, and it looked as if it might vanish completely until Jim Hoffman and Georgia Kuhnell contacted Vikki. The three worked together to develop the Snowshoe. More breeders came on board and worked on updating the breed standard. The Snowshoe won championship status with the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) in 1983.
Spotted cats have occasionally appeared in litters of Siamese kittens, but these were sold as pet quality. The Snowshoe remains a rare breed of cat, partly because the white spotting gene is quite difficult to work with. Numbers are increasing, however, and the breed is gaining popularity outside of the United States.
The Snowshoe is a medium-sized cat, well-muscled with long legs and oval paws. The body is a moderate oriental shape, and it is said to be modelled on the Applehead Siamese. They are slightly longer than they are tall.
The wedge-shaped head is as long as it is wide, with large, rounded, high cheekbones, the nose of a good length and a firm chin. There is a white inverted V on the face, which begins on the forehead. Eyes are a sapphire blue.
At birth, Snowshoe kittens are completely white; they develop their colour at a few weeks of age. The Snowshoe comes in Seal; blue; chocolate and lilac. The white mitts must not cover more than 1/3rd of the body. Each Snowshow has its own unique pattern.
They can be more vocal than other breeds of cat, but not quite as talkative as the Siamese.
The Snowshoe gets along with other cats and dogs and is a great cat for children. They tend to form a bond with one particular member of the family but continue to be affectionate to other members of the household also. If you are out for long periods, consider two cats for company as Snowshoes can get lonely if left for extended periods.
There are no health problems associated with the Snowshoe cat.