The Snowshoe cat is an American breed of cat that came about by a Siamese breeder by the name of Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty of Kensing Cattery in 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. It is Vikki who wrote the first breed standard for the Snowshoe and pushed for the breed to be recognised with the cat associations. The breed was granted experimental breed status in 1974.
The breed went into decline after this and it looked as if it may vanish completely until Vikki was contacted by another breeder by the name of Jim Hoffman from Ohio. The pair of them worked together to develop the Snowshoe. More breeders came on board and they worked on updating the breed standard. The breed eventually winning championship status with the CFF in 1982.
While the Snowshoe is a fairly new breed of cat, spotted cats have sometimes shown up in litters of Siamese kittens, but these were sold as pet quality only. The Snowshoe remains a rare breed of cat, partly due to the fact that the spotting gene is quite difficult to work with. Numbers are increasing however and the breed is gaining popularity outside of the United States.
Appearance of the Snowshoe cat:
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. The eyes are a sapphire blue. There is a white inverted V on the face, which begins on the forehead. The white mitts must not cover more than 1/3rd of the body.
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.
Temperament of the Snowshoe cat:
Snowshoes are gentle, loving, affectionate. It is said that their temperament is a somewhere between that of the Siamese and the American Shorthair.
They can be more vocal than other breeds of cat, but not quite as talkative as the Siamese. They have a soft voice.
They generally get on well with other cats and dogs and are great pets for children. They have a tendency to form a bond with one particular member of the family but continue to be affectionate to other members of the household also. They can get lonely if left for long periods of time so if you are out at work all day, it is recommended you get two cats.