18 October, 2018

Introducing a Puss in Boots: The Snowshoe Cat Breed

snowshoe cats snowshoe lying on a log

The Snowshoe Cat inspires visions of fluffy softness and little balls of fun. You would be hard pressed to find a more personable cat, and a Snowshoe will not mess around when it comes to choosing its “person” to love.

As such, they make excellent Emotional Support Animals, family pets and the best fur babies imaginable for any person. The Snowshoe pattern is carried by a recessive gene, which means that this breed is fairly rare, and the perfect breed standard cannot be assured through the breeding process.

The Brief History of the Snowshoe Cat Breed aka Snowshoe Siamese 

The history of the Snowshoe can be traced back to Victorian times, during which time a likeness of one is captured in a photo. It was also depicted in a Japanese silk screen showing one peering around a door at a spider. However, it is quite a new breed which most certainly has ancestral links to the Siamese cat and the Birman.

Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty from Philadelphia was, in fact, the instigator behind creating the Snowshoe as a breed. She bred Siamese cats and started to develop and promote the moderate, white-footed Siamese-typed cat with white feet, coining the name “Snowshoe”.

This came about when her litter of Siamese included three kittens with perfect white-booted feet, a trait which was originally called “silver laces.” She was so enamored by these cutie pies that she paired one of the white-footed kittens with an American Shorthair cat boasting tuxedo markings.

The resultant litter led to the characteristic inverted “V” markings inherent in the faces of today’s Snowshoe cats. Dorothy developed a rudimentary standard and approached the Cat Fanciers Federation, who approved the breed for Exhibition only.

Vikki Olander of Furr-Lo Cattery in Norfolk, Virginia went on to see to it that the breed heading for defunctness became registered as Experimental in the CFF and American Cat Association.

Sadly, only four Snowshoes were registered by 1977 and were it not for Jim Hoffman and Georgia Kuhnell, a Snowshoe fade out was imminent. These two enquired about the unusual cats and were put onto Vikki.

Soon enough Snowshoes as a breed were snowballing across America and by 1982 the breed was recognized for Championship status. Today, the sky is the limit and many Snowshoes have earned championship status since.

Their Appearance

These rare cats have a distinctive moderate oriental or foreign type appearance modeled after the old type Victorian Siamese, now known as an apple head. They are built more like runners than bodybuilders, with lithe muscular bodies rather than chunky builds.

The head bears the telltale upturned V marking and is shaped like a slightly rounded equilateral triangle with a longish nose that is neither broad nor pointed. Their walnut-shaped eyes are as bright and clear a blue as possible.

cat with snowshoe cat markings looking up

Puss in Boots: Their Special Cat Markings

The trademark white boots on the back feet and white mittens on the front feet distinguish these Siamese Snowshoe Cats from other breeds. A dark insertion of color between the white feet and the light body coloring is ideal and helps to emphasize the puss in boots look.

The white boots and socks should not run too high up the leg though. The two white mittens in the front should be no higher than the dew claw.

The white boots on the back feet should be no more than a finger-width above the point of the hock, although the ideal is about a fingers-width below the hock joint.

The Average Size and Weight of Snowshoe Cats! 

Adult males will usually weigh in at between 9 to 12 pounds and females at 7 to 10 pounds. This is a medium to large breed, longer length-wise than most cats.

Coats and Colors Explained!

Snowshoes are always born white, with the distinctive markings known as points coming in at a few weeks and darkening as they mature.

They also always have the tell-tale white paws. Points are the dark or patterned areas of fur on the ears, head, tail, and legs. These rare cats typically have light cream colored bodies, either beige or tan, with seal or blue points.

Point colors such as chocolate or lilac are less common and difficult to produce. The cats have pink paw pads and noses, but these can also be the same color as the points or a combination of the two.

Ideally, the perfect Snowshoe has symmetrical markings, the inverted white “V” between the eyes and on the muzzle, two white mittens in the front and two white boots in the back.

What Are Their Grooming Requirements? 

The Snowshoe has a short coat that you can brush once or twice a week to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. Daily dental hygiene is preferential to avoid periodontal disease, but weekly brushing will be fine too.

Temperament and Personality: What to Expect! 

Snowshoes love one on one attention, and they will have a chosen person although they will maintain a civil relationship with all the humans and pets in their home. These kitties are intelligent and active and do not cope well when left alone at home for extended periods. Although, even the family dog will be an acceptable companion while the humans are away from home.

They are talkers, who fortunately have a soft melodic voice, which makes this quite a sweet trait. Expect to have long and involved conversations with your Snowshoe cat, who will want to hear all about your day when you get home.

They love to perform tricks, play fetch and even play in water. A Snowshoe from California by the name of Dusty took his tendency to fetch to new levels, earning the name Klepto Cat from neighbors whose possessions continuously got taken during this cat burglar’s nightly excursions.

snowshoe siamese balancing on door

Grumpy Cat Breed: What Kind of Cat is Grumpy Cat? 

Not even Tardar Sauce, the Grumpy Cat’s owners know what breed she is, although they say that she looks like a Ragdoll or a Snowshoe, and not at all like her mother or father.

Her mom is a calico domestic short hair cat and they suspect her father to be the grey and white striped Tom who pays their Calico opportunistic visits, but cats can be promiscuous… Grumpy Cat’s petite size and famous face are likely due to feline dwarfism.

What is Their Average Lifespan? 

Twelve to fifteen years is the expected age of these exceptional cats.

List of the Breed’s Potential Health Issues!

Since the breed is relatively new, the breed has no known or prevalent health issues. It might be pertinent to consider the health issues known to be relevant in Siamese and American Shorthairs, however.

  • Feline hepatic lipidosis, also known as Feline Fatty Liver Syndrome, is a common liver disease in cats and has no known cause.
  • Amyloidosis is a genetic disease prominent in Abyssinians and Siamese cats, which can lead to kidney and renal failure.

Snowshoe Kittens for Sale! 

Destrier Cats are a professional international registered breeder of Snowshoe and Siamese cats worldwide.

Circumstances may see these breeders having kittens or cats returned for rehoming and they sometimes retire their breeding cats so that they can enjoy the pampered life, one on one with their own humans. Look for similar breeders in your region, or ask your vet for referrals.

kitty pictures cute snowshoe kittens for sale on red sofa

Snowshoe Kitten Price 

Kittens vary in price depending on whether they are eligible as show cats or destined to be family pets. Deposits of $50 to $100 or higher can secure a kitten from a yet to be born litter. Snowshoe Siamese kittens could cost between $750 and $1,800.

What to Look for in Reputable Cat Breeders! 

Underpriced cats may be a warning sign of an unvaccinated, unregistered kitten, bred for the purpose of making money only. Ethical breeders follow Defra, Tica, GCCF and Fife standards and sell healthy, fully vaccinated kittens, with papers.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Find a Snowshoe Cat Rescue Group! 

Concerns like the Snowshoe Cat Rescue Network find forever homes for Snowshoes, Siamese and pointed cat breeds throughout the United States. Sites such as theirs provide photos of cats available for adoption from shelters and foster homes.

Breeders also rehome their cats for an adoption fee in the region of $330. This usually includes neutering, vaccinations, paperwork, a comfort blanket and change over food.

Bear in mind that owners of Snowshoe Cats might start off owning the delightful kitty, but the cat soon becomes the owner of the person!

Common Questions on the Snowshoe Cat

Can a Snowshoe cat have 3 white paws?

If the Snowshoe cat gene is recessive, does this mean my Snowshoe female can’t have Snowshoe kittens?

Where is the best place to adopt an adult Snowshoe cat or Sealpoint Siamese Point on the East Coast?