The Snowshoe cat’s most distinguishing feature is its white feet, often referred to as “snow boots” by cat lovers and experts alike. The breed is sometimes called Snowshoe Siamese as it comes from a mixed lineage that include American shorthairs and Siamese cats.
The sweet-natured feline sports bright blue eyes and pure white paws that’s sure to elicit curious looks all around. Go for a closer look and you’ll understand why this cat is undeniably more than meets the eye. They’re truly unique creatures whose charm exceeds that of a typical feline.
Athletic, enchanting and friendly are the hallmark traits of this cat. What’s more, Snowshoes are considered very rare because it’s quite difficult to get the trademark “snow paws”.
History of Snowshoe Cats
In 1960, Siamese cat breeder Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty found a pleasant surprise when she woke up in the morning to find a new litter of kittens. There were 3 kittens who exhibited common Siamese markings and wore sock patterns, to boot! The Philadelphia-based breeder’s curiosity was piqued, and from then on she started to try and replicate the results.
After some time and with no promising results, Dorothy sought help from another breeder named Vikki Orlander. Vikki started a breeding programme using American shorthairs and the Siamese variety, and voila! Snowshoes were born. Vikki and Dorothy then wrote what was to be the standard for the newly-discovered breed.
In the 70s interest in the breed waned, but a few years later it was revived. The Cat Fanciers Foundation and the US Cat Association registered the Snowshoe cat breed in 1974. Vikki was then joined by like-minded cat enthusiasts, and the act led the cat associations to upgrade the breed from experimental to provisional status. Finally, in 1982 Snowshoes gained championship status.
Size of the Snowshoe Cat
These cats are remarkably strong and well-built. The males’ weight falls somewhere between 9 to 12 lbs., and their female counterparts weigh somewhere between 7 to 10 lbs. Cat associations list the breed as medium-sized and having a long and stout countenance.
Personality of the Snowshoe Cat
Snowshoes have personalities as distinctive as their paw markings. You’ll be drawn in by their sweet and affectionate disposition! As pets, they are mellow and sweet-tempered, with a bit of playful personality every now and then. They will do every kind of trick imaginable to capture your attention, from getting up to your lap to watching you intensely while perched up on a high place.
These cats love height and spend most of their time in them. You may think of them as loners in this regard, but they do need companionship. Owners should spend some time and make sure they aren’t left alone by themselves for long.
Once your pet becomes attached to you then you’ll be the object of their affection. They’re similar to dogs in that they love to follow, or lead you into their favored spots in the house. As far as noise is concerned, Snowshoe cats aren’t typically demonstrative, nor are they too quiet. Your pet will be there at the front door to greet you with a loud meow, and sometimes they love to chat up a storm. Most of the time these cats are lively, curious and love to get their nose into other people’s business.
Surprisingly this breed isn’t afraid of water and they may come in the tub with you. The intelligent aspect means you can teach your pet a few tricks, which he or she will pick up easily without any problem.
Because snowshoes are of Siamese descent, they’re born completely white and without any markings. It’s only after a few weeks that you’ll know whether you have a snow-padded kitten or not. The dark features become apparent only after a few years. It’s completely normal for this breed to develop dark coat as they get older.
The breed belongs in the rare variety because it’s not easy to replicate their telltale markings. Moreover, breeders have found that the white paw genes are inherited through recessive genes, and breeding programmes hardly cross Siamese with American shorthairs. Today, Snowshoe breeders prefer to mix Siamese with the Oriental shorthair for better consistency and results.
It can be quite difficult to get one as a pet. Understandably, there’s a long waiting list for these kittens. Breeders should be able to present you with proof that the kitten comes from parent cats that are relatively free of genetic health issues. It’s recommended that you do your own research as well. Go with reputable breeders who treat their cats right and you should be able to take home a healthy Snowshoe.
Snowshoe Cat Health
The Snowshoe breed doesn’t have any specific health disorders down the line. There are, however, minor possibilities that the cat may have crossed eyes or a noticeable kink in his or her tail, something that was inherited through the Siamese ancestry.
All in all they shouldn’t have any health illness for the most part. Just to make sure you can ask the breeder if they have had their cats undergo genetic testing to prevent expensive medical treatment. Your Snowshoe cat’s lifestyle, diet, exercise level and genetics determine the length of their lifespan. Studies suggest that this breed has an average expectancy of somewhere around 12 to 15 years.
Care of the Snowshoe Cat
These cats won’t need expansive living spaces to enjoy daily activities. Interested individuals who live in small apartments and condos can take them home and they’ll be able to adjust fairly well to the new living environment.
Keep in mind that any pet won’t want to be left alone for long intervals, and Snowshoes especially enjoy human contact and interaction. As such, it’s in your best interests to keep your cat occupied for as long as possible. Buy toys that cats love- a fishing pole, a ball of yarn and a scratching post, for example. You can also have your Snowshoe cat chase something that’s fast to exercise their natural instincts and limbs.
You can put up a shallow pool of water in a container and your pet cat will happily wallow in it and be entertained for hours on end. Make sure to brush your cat’s coat twice a week or more to distribute oils and eliminate dead hair. Dental hygiene should be observed to keep your pet’s teeth strong and healthy.
Always keep your pet indoors to prevent contact with outside animals and keep him or her away from outside dangers.
Litter Box Training
Litter training should start the moment your cat steps inside your home. The good thing is that most reputable breeders begin litter training in the 8 to 10 week period. Keep the litter box clean all the time. Clear out waste and cat poop by scooping them up as soon as you see them. Make sure to place the box strategically in a quiet place and away from their feeding spot.
Snowshoe Cat Nutrition
Pet owners should feed their cats a well-balanced diet. Opt for variety in both dry and wet food. Snowshoe kittens will need plenty of protein and fats for optimal growth. Give your cat vitamins and calcium supplementation, or as directed by a professional veterinarian.
The nutritional needs of a cat will change, depending on their age and condition. Obesity is a possibility in this breed, so make sure you’re feeding your pet on time and with the proper amount. Exercise is a great way to keep your cat’s weight in check. As always, keep clean fresh water available 24/7.
Coat Color and Eyes
Snowshoe cats have short-length coats that can come in black, cream, red or white. Also, there are visible patterns of white with dark spots on the cat’s head, ears, legs or tail. The characteristic white paws give the rare breed the appearance that they always wear white socks on their feet.
Eye color can range from pale blue to a deep sapphire hue that’s always bright and shining.
Snowshoe Cat Grooming
The breed requires moderate maintenance in the form of regular grooming. Brush your cat often to remove the dead hairs and distribute the oils in their skin. Snowshoe cats shed in a moderate manner, but this event can be contained in a pet bed or similar areas. Check the ears regularly for debris and brush your cat’s teeth at least once a day.
Children and Other Pets
Snowshoes love it when all family members are home! This pet can be such a joy to have when there are young children around. They tolerate kids well and can manage the occasional tug and rough-housing. Moreover, they don’t startle easily and won’t react negatively when there’s too much noise.
Your pet will start to target you or a family member, then follow him or her around consistently. Snuggling, petting and paying attention are part of the Snowshoes’ requirements. If you do these things you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful friendship!
Snowshoe cats will usually accept other pets coming in your home. They will find camaraderie in other cats when you or your family members are away for the day.