ALL CAT BREED PROFILES

Snowshoe Cat: So Beautiful They Think They’re the Cat’s Whiskers!

Beautiful Snowshoe cat sitting on a table
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

There’s something about animals with uniform patterns across their body that entices us. Take the penguins as an example; the fact that they look like they are wearing little tuxedos has made them really popular across the world. But what about the cat world? Is there a cat that deserves to be called the superstar of the feline kingdom because they have won the right to wear a special kind of garment like the penguins? Yes, there is. It’s the Snowshoe cat!

As their name suggests, the Snowshoe cat looks like they are wearing tiny little snow-white shoes on all four of their paws. But don’t be mistaken—these cats are more than just a pretty face. They are very friendly. They will lap up the attention of anyone in the household—even that of other pets—although these cats tend to glue themselves to one favorite family member. Their coat is short and smooth. It’s easy to care for because there is no undercoat. Overall, the Snowshoe is a great cat for beginners—too bad they are quite rare and may be difficult to adopt.

A Snowshoe cat sitting on a chair

If you’ve stumbled upon a chance to adopt this rare breed, don’t miss out on it! If you’re worried that Snowshoe cat characteristics may not help them fit well into your lifestyle, don’t worry. We’re going to probe deeper into the topic of Snowshoe cat temperament and reveal to you all the interesting facts about this cat’s true colors! 

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: High
  • Grooming: Low Maintenance
  • Health: Good
  • All Around Friendliness: Good
  • Exercise Needs: Above Average; relatively active
Cat Breed GroupSemi Long-Haired, Crossbreed
SizeAverage
Weight9 – 12 pounds
Lifespan12 - 15 years

The Snowshoe is a somewhat recent domestic breed. The medium-sized cat looks fairly similar to the Himalayans and the Birmans due to their coloring. The cats come in blue, seal, lilac, and chocolate, and you’ll see that their face, ears, tail, and legs are darker in color than the rest of their lithe body. The eyes of all Snowshoe cats are a clear, sky blue.

This cat is very sociable and therefore shouldn’t be left on their own hour after hour. Think twice before getting a Snowshoe cat if you’re a full-time worker with nobody else at home. It won’t be fair to leave a cat like this to their own devices. The problem can be somewhat alleviated by ensuring that your pet has another feline companion during the day.

Aside from tending to their social needs, to properly care for a Snowshoe, you will have to pay attention to their nutritional needs. A proper diet for your athletic Snowshoe will ensure that your vet expenses are far less.

close-up image of a little Snowshoe kitten with blue eyes,

Every cat has their fads and fancies when it comes to particular likes and dislikes with food—and this is especially true for Snowshoes since each one these cats are famous for being unique individuals of their own. Whereas other cats that belong to the same breed tend to exhibit similar character traits, the Snowshoe is different in that their personality is not set in stone.

Whatever your Snowshoe is partial to, you have to be wary of excess weight. Extra weight is an influential factor in the development of diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. You’ll also want to make sure that your cat has access to a bowl of fresh, cool water.

Main Highlights

  • The Snowshoe is an active cat that likes to be busy. You’ll need to spend some time with your Snowshoe as these cats love fun and games. Ensuring your furry family member gets their fair share of games and exercise will guarantee their muscles remain strong and toned.
  • Good with others, the Snowshoe is certainly not a solitary cat. They love to spend times with adults, children, and even other pets.
  • In 1982, the Snowshoe was approved for championship status by the CFF, and a little later, by the American Cat Fanciers Association in 1990.
  • This beautiful cat is rare, with strict standards being laid down for breeding. As a new breed, this wonderful cat is fast becoming a firm favorite among cat fanciers.
  • The Snowshoe is known for frequent vocalization, so they might not make the best apartment cats. Your 4-legged family member will let you know if they are hungry or bored.
  • Their coat is medium to short in length without any undercoat. In fact, cat associations look upon it as a fault if the Snowshoe has a plush double coat.
  • The coat doesn’t require much grooming and a good brush once a week will be enough. We also recommend massaging your cat to ensure the coat gleams with vitality.

Breed History

It was in the late 1960s that Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty devoted her time to developing a breed which was a mix of Siamese cat and American Shorthair. She was fascinated with kittens born to one of her cats that had these eye-catching white snow-shoe paws.

Studio image of a Snowshoe-cat lying down

Dorothy decided to produce the desired look—dark color points over the ears, face, legs, and tail, as well as the blue eyes and the white paws—by mating her Siamese cat with an American Shorthair. The new kittens flaunted a white upside down ‘V’ shape starting on the forehead and extending down over the muzzle.

The fact that there is so much enthusiasm for the new breed comes as no surprise. The beautiful markings, mesmerizing blue eyes, their intelligence, and the lean, lithe, athletic body of the social cat make them a sure winner.  Vikki Olander, also a breeder, helped Dorothy raise recognition from cat registries. As previously mentioned, this rare cat has been approved for championship status.

Size

The Snowshoe is a medium to large cat. The cat’s actual body is longer than your regular cat. Both males and females can weigh anything between 8 and 14 pounds. The legs of this cat are long and strong. Their medium-length tail gradually tapers to the tip. Their ears are also fairly large with rounded tips.

Snowshoe Cat sitting on a table and meowing to his owner

These cats have a stocky, muscular body. They don’t tend to put on a lot of weight since they are quite active and athletic. Pure white at birth, if you didn’t know better, you’d think you had adopted a pure white cat. However, after only a few weeks the cat’s coat will undergo remarkable color changes.

Personality and Character

People who have lived with Snowshoes before will tell you that Snowshoe cat personality isn’t set in stone. There are some that are not nearly as social as the others. While some Snowshoes like to always be in the limelight, others aren’t party animals at all. Generally, however, they’re cats that are loyal and devoted to their human family—often jumping into your lap looking for a dose of attention.

little Snowshoe kitten with blue eyes, lying down

Snowshoes usually choose a favorite person in the family. That doesn’t mean they ignore other family members—not at all; they like to be everyone’s friend—but that one special family member usually gets the cat’s full adoration.

The Snowshoe is an energetic cat. You need to ensure that you play with them and supply them with toys when you’re not able to. The cat is intelligent, and puzzle toys are needed to keep your furry companion both physically and mentally active.

Health and Potential Problems

The Snowshoe is a healthy cat. That kink in their tail or maybe their crossed eyes—which are a part of their Siamese ancestry—just happen to be cosmetic flaws. These small flaws won’t jeopardize the cat’s health one bit. Your Snowshoe may belong to a healthy breed, but every cat is prone to some common illnesses. Here we take a look at some cat diseases you need to be aware of:

  • Amyloidosis is a feline disease found more often in Siamese cat breeds. The cat usually develops this disease between one to five years of age. Amyloidosis occurs when there is an abnormal deposit of the protein complex amyloid in the liver, spleen, and kidneys—resulting in bacterial infections, inflammation, and cancer.
  • Aortic Stenosis in cats is a serious heart defect concern that can result in serious complications. The defect develops over the first few weeks of your cat’s life. The cat will have difficulty with breathing, abnormal lung sounds, and there can be a sudden loss of consciousness.
  • Asthma/bronchial disease is an inflammatory disorder of the lower airways that causes a chronic case of coughing. There will be airway inflammation, mucus, wheezing, and respiratory distress. Feline asthma and bronchitis are most often seen in cats from 2 to 8 years of age. Siamese cat breeds—especially overweight ones—are at a higher risk of developing the disease. That’s why it is important to ensure your Snowshoe maintains their weight.
  • Dental problems, particularly gingivitis—which is inflammation of the gums—should be prevented with routine dental care. The thing with gingivitis is that it can lead to more serious conditions if left unattended. Other dental problems to watch out for are bleeding gums, broken teeth, and swelling of the gums. Toothpaste for cats is available in flavors your cat will enjoy. Avoid human toothpaste as these can be toxic to your pet. If in doubt about the health of your cat’s teeth, have the vet check them over.
  • Worms can come from fleas. When your cat chews on the skin, the worm enters your cat, attaching itself to their intestinal lining, where it continues to grow. Both worms and fleas will cause your cat to be lethargic, have frequent loose stools, a dull coat, and pain in the abdomen. Certainly, your pet has the means to brush off the effects of most parasitic organisms, but when the intensity of the attacks increases, your pet’s health will be at risk—not to mention yours. Talk to your vet about keeping your pet flea- and worm free.

There are things you can do to maximize your cat’s lifespan. Always make sure that all vaccinations and parasite treatments are up to date. Look after your furry family member well. Provide good food, regular vet checks, and lots of love to ensure many years of loyal companionship from your feline pet.

Care Features

The Snowshoe is an active cat, so you will want to put in some daily play time with them to keep them alert and adventurous—especially if you keep them as indoors-only cats. Cats are fastidious about cleanliness, so it is only fair to ensure that there is always a clean litter box for your Snowshoe by scooping out their daily waste. Don’t forget to check their teeth and ears regularly for signs of pain or infection.

The Snowshoe has a low maintenance short coat. They don’t have an undercoat, so a weekly brushing session will be enough to keep their coat shiny and glossy. Your cat will love the attention this brushing session provides.

a Snowshoe cat with blue eyes lying on a cat tree

Cats like to scratch, and if your Snowshoe is an indoor cat, a scratching post becomes a must-have, or else they will unleash their frustration on your couch and carpeting. These posts should be tall enough to allow your cat to stretch to their full length, which is saying something because Snowshoe cats are quite long.

If you’re not looking at turning your Snowshoe into a parent, the best thing you can do for your furry friend is to have him or her spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering improve your cat’s overall health. Both male and females are less likely to roam too, making them more domesticated. A huge bonus with neutering, particularly with your male Snowshoe, is that it decreases the occurrence of urine spraying.

Feeding Schedule

The nutritional needs of your Snowshoe will be protein, minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, and enzymes. Your Snowshoe isn’t going to require any carbohydrates. Speak to your vet about the best food for your precious feline friend as some cat food manufacturers use ingredients such as flavoring, colorants, wheat, corn, and rice as fillers to make the food look more attractive but less wholesome.

Your Snowshoe certainly won’t turn up their nose at some home-cooked meat every once in a while. Some tasty tuna now and then which is rich in omega-3 will go down well. While some vegetables can be added in, keep it on the down low since cats are obligate carnivores. For the same reason, your cat should not be allowed to chew on any houseplants

close-up of a Snowshoe cat lying down

Always make sure that you provide your cat with food suited to their age and condition. A kitten will have different feeding requirements as compared to a pregnant cat or an old cat with arthritis.

Cats prefer several small meals throughout the day. Consult a vet if you notice that your cat’s eating habits have suddenly changed as this could indicate an illness. Your Snowshoe also needs a constant supply of fresh, drinking water.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

The attractive Snowshoe has a light-colored body with dark areas in either seal or blue. If you’re planning a showbiz career for your Snowshoe, they will certainly be required to have those famous white paws that gave them their name. Also, a Snowshoe cat should always have sky-blue eyes.

A Snowshoe cat sitting on a table and meowing to someone

This cat is regarded as a low maintenance cat due to their short, single coat which only needs to be brushed once a week. Brushing the hair will remove dead, loose hair and distribute skin oils to keep the coat in tip-top condition.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

Children in the family are never going to get bored with these intelligent, energetic cats around. You actually can’t pinpoint a Snowshoe in terms of character as they can sometimes defy the norm. Nonetheless, they are usually inquisitive, active, and playful.

Children will be delighted to discover that these smart cats can even learn a few dog tricks. Also, they aren’t entirely averse to water, which simply adds another fascinating dimension to this already-exceptional cat. They love to play with children, but they know to act calm around seniors. The Snowshoe will get along well with visitors too although they do tend to be rather shy around strangers.

Snowshoe Cat with brown coat sitting on the grass

The Snowshoe gets along well with other pets—be it cats or dogs. In fact, we encourage you to keep other pets alongside the Snowshoe especially if you’re going to be away often because these social cats don’t do well when left alone for hours on end.

Wrap Up

To wrap everything up, the Snowshoe cat—a blend of Siamese and the American Shorthair—has given cat lovers an exciting new option with that distinctive inverted ‘V’ mark on the face and their snow-white paws. In 1994, the International Cat Association accepted the Snowshoe as a championship breed.

The Snowshoe isn’t only about good looks because they have a wonderful personality to match. The fact that the Snowshoe is social and gets very attached to people makes this awesome cat a sought-after companion. They are attention seekers, and they relish the attention bestowed upon them by their human family members. This combination has endeared the breed to cat lovers worldwide.

Snowshoe Cat lying down on a blue cover

But just because the cat is fairly docile and amiable, doesn’t mean they should be left alone for hours at a time. You’ll hear them voicing their displeasure at this state of affairs. They can be quite vocal.

Do you think the Snowshoe would fit into your home like a glove to a hand? If you live in a small apartment and you’re not sure you can handle a vocal cat, don’t worry because we’ve got another suggestion for you. Got something unique to tell about your amazing Snowshoe? We’re dying to hear from you.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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