Let's talk Snowshoe cats

The Snowshoe is a distinctive-looking feline with a unique personality to match. Their name comes from having four white paws, similar in appearance to snow boots. The Snowshoe is a fairly vocal cat breed, due to their Siamese heritage. This shouldn’t be a problem however as their voice is soft as opposed to screechy or high-pitched. This is a feline who likes to stay active and expects lots of attention from her favourite human of the household. With their affectionate temperament and sharp mind, the Snowshoe is sure to charm the socks off of you.

Official name: Snowshoe

Other names: N/A

Origins: United States

Side view of Snowshoe in black and white

 Shedding level:

Medium

Warm weather?
 Energy level (high, low, medium)*: Medium Family Pet?*  Very high
 Compatibility with other pets:

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
 
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).
 
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
 
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
Spider chart of Snowshoe characteristics
Illustration of Snowshoe cat
Male
30 - 35 cm Height
3 - 6 kg Weight
Female
30 - 35 cm Height
3 - 5 kg Weight

 

 Baby cat  Birth to 4 months
 Growing kitten  4 to 12 months
 Adult  1 to 7 years
 Mature  7 to 12 years
 Senior  From 12 years

Close-up of Snowshoe with blue eyes

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Get to know the Snowshoe

All you need to know about the breed

The physical appearance of a Snowshoe cat is sure to catch your eye. A perfect balance of their feline ancestors, the Siamese and the American Shorthair, they are medium in size with a muscular body. But it is a long body, so the Snowshoe moves with the elegance of an athlete as opposed to a bulky bodybuilder. Their pointer colour ranges from dark chocolate and fawn to orange and lilac, although lighter colouring is less common. And those white paws front and back are irresistible.

Personality-wise, you never know which type of Snowshoe cat you will end up with until you start living with them. This breed could be any one of the following: the doting type, the “leader of the pack” type, the “sticks to you like glue” type, or the class clown, cat version. Whichever Snowshoe temperament you get, they all make for a charming feline companion, showing great affection to their family, including children and cat-friendly dogs.

The Snowshoe is a moderately active cat who appreciates having something to do most of the time, from following you around the house to keeping an eye on the action from a high vantage point. But don’t worry, they’re also calm and laid-back, and more than content to climb into your lap for some snuggles.

Snowshoe lying on carpet looking at camera

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2 facts about Snowshoe cats

1. Snow white

A Snowshoe kitten will always be born white. Their pointer colouring develops once they are a few weeks old. This means that the fur on the tail, legs, head and ears of a Snowshoe gets darker as they age. This contrast of lighter and darker coloured fur makes for a beautiful looking feline, and helps those snowy white paws to really pop.

2. Splash splash

Snowshoe kittens are known to love water, unlike most other cat breeds. Watch out during bath-time, your Snowshoe may try to join you. You can see how your Snowshoe cat reacts by giving them a shallow bowl of water to play with. It is another way to keep them entertained and out of mischief.

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History of the breed

The Snowshoe is a thoroughly modern cat who has been around since the swinging Sixties. The woman responsible for introducing Snowshoe cats to the world was one Dorothy Hinds Daugherty, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Upon discovering three kittens with four white feet in a Siamese cat litter, Dorothy was so drawn to the contrast in fur colour that she went about creating a dedicated breed.

Dorothy started by crossing the white-pawed Siamese kittens with a domestic cat, thought to be the American Shorthair by experts (bad record keeping unfortunately makes things less clear). The mix of domestic and Siamese cat genes created the even-tempered Snowshoe, who equally resembles both their ancestors in the looks and personality department. Having inherited intelligence from both sides, the Snowshoe breed quickly became popular both at shows and as human companions.

Dorothy eventually gave up breeding, which may have played a part in the decreasing demand for the Snowshoe in the late 1970s. However, by 1989, there were around 30 documented breeders. The Cat Fanciers Federation recognised the Snowshoe in 1982, the Cat Fanciers Association in 1990 and the International Cat Association in 1994.

Side view of Snowshoe in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Snowshoe cats

1. Tail

Tail is medium length, wide at the base and tapers off.

2. Body

Body is muscular but long for an elegant appearance.

3. Coat

A thick coat, short or semi-short in length, and silky soft.

Extreme close-up of Snowshoe looking at camera

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Snowshoe

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Caring for your Snowshoe

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Your Snowshoe cat will require weekly grooming. One to two brushing sessions will handle the dead fur and evenly distribute their skin oils for a sleek appearance. Brush their teeth everyday and trim their nails regularly. The Snowshoe appreciates all extra attention that comes their way. The Snowshoe is an active breed, so a variety of toys and contraptions such as a running wheel will keep them trim. They will be content to play with you so have interactive games handy. And they are known to like water so encourage them to splash around in shallow depths. Training your Snowshoe should be simple and enjoyable for both parties. They will relish the opportunity to learn uncomplicated tricks and commands, such as opening doors and playing fetch. They can also be trained to walk on a leash. Take a positive approach, it will help to strengthen your bond.

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All about Snowshoe cats

The Snowshoe cat is a highly sociable breed, open to making friends with almost anyone. This includes cat-friendly dogs, who will make for a great companion, once formal introductions are out of the way.

No, the medium to short coat of a Snowshoe cat means there is little undercoat. Like all cats, the Snowshoe sheds seasonally but it is nothing excessive that requires furniture coverings. Your Snowshoe will enjoy their weekly brushing session as it means they have your full attention for a little bit longer.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book