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The Snowshoe Cat

History and Recognition

The Snowshoe cat was bred in Philadelphia by Dorothy Hinds Daughery in 1960. After finding three Siamese kittens with white feet Dorothy tried to selectively breed the colour variation into the Siamese. Unfortunately she was unsuccessful and eventually crossed the Siamese with a bi-colour American Shorthair; this gained the pointed colouration with the white contrast.

This was not a new idea, in the 1950’s a white footed Siamese was unsuccessfully bred and marketed under the name Silver Laces but quickly disappeared into non-existence and the Snowshoe was experiencing the same problems and destined to fade out. Dorothy has already quit breeding due to the frustration of trying to gain recognition of the breed but breeding continued with Vikki Olander of Virginia.

Vikki wrote a breed standard and in 1974 obtained experimental status with the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) and American Cat Association (ACA). Unfortunately by 1977 she was the only breeder left and it was feared the Snowshoe would fade into oblivion. It wasn’t until the intervention of Jim Hoffman of Ohio and Georgia Kuhnell of Cincinnati that the breed really took off. These two people were instrumental in saving the Snowshoe from oblivion and, as described by the ACA, started “a tiny Snowshoe snowball rolling”.

Ultimately the persistence throughout the breeds history paid off with the CFF granting championship status in 1982, the ACFA championship status in 1990 and The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1993. While most cat associations in the United States recognise the Snowshoe, with the notable exception of the Canadian Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers Association, breeders are still attempting to gain acceptance in the CFA Miscellaneous Class, which will be a step towards total acceptance of the breed.



The Snowshoe is a medium sized shorthair cat that combines the solidness of the American Shorthair with the body length of the Siamese.  It has medium boning and muscle, being neither delicate nor bulky.  It has a broad wedge shaped face that is slightly rounded. Eyes are oval shaped and slanted towards the base of the ear, with bright and expressive in nature and blue in colour. 

The Snowshoe can be a blue point or seal point with a white inverted V between the eyes and over the muzzle as well as white mittens. A white blaze on the face, as well as white on the stomach, chest, throat and chin are also common.



Snowshoes are well known as social, affectionate and intelligent cats.  They are often described as being the perfect combination of the placid American Shorthair and the lively and vocal Siamese, producing an active cat without being high strung.

It is often said that they are almost too intelligent, learning to open doors and cabinets.  They take after the Siamese in their love of carrying things and retrieving objects thrown for them.  They also have a fascination for water, particularly running water.

Snowshoes are extremely people orientated and can often be found underfoot. They dislike being left alone for extended periods of time and are known to reek havoc on a house when they are, although this can be eased by having another cat in the household.  While they aren’t as vocal as the Siamese the Snowshoe will become vocal when they aren’t happy, their voices are generally more melodic and quieter than the Siamese.


The snowshoe will live between 10-14 years and does not have any major inherited health traits but general good health practices should be followed to ensure a happy and healthy cat.

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Lynnette Warnecke on April 09, 2012:

With the 6 cats we had over the years, my snowshoe cat is my favorite one to have. So lovable, and funny. We play a fetch game with treats and he looks forward to this every night. He actually can catch them in his paws!! What a joy he brings into my life.

craftybegonia from Southwestern, United States on December 06, 2011:

What a pretty cat! Great Hub. Voted up.

mikedacook on September 24, 2010:

I have a snowshoe, that I got for free from someone who's cat had kittens that she had to get rid of. Tarkus is now 13 and is the most lovable and intelligent cat that I have ever owned. The thing that intrigues me the most about him is...whenever I lose something around the house ie; a ring or chapstick (lol)..It will turn up within a few days in his food dish. It's as if he knows that I have been looking for it. The BEST cat that I have ever shared my life with :)

MarianG on August 13, 2010:

They are so beautiful! I have ragdolls and they are wonderful cats also. I would love to have a Thai Siamese...

Alexandra on April 18, 2010:

Wow, I found my snowshoe kitten almost 9 years ago when I was 10 years old, she was an abandoned kitten on the side of my dads house. When I took her to the vets to get fixed he made a really big deal about her breed. I love my snowshoe(Lily)

Holle Abee from Georgia on December 10, 2009:

Beautiful cats and informative, interesting hub!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on December 08, 2009:

Wow - I've never heard of the Snowshoe Cat. What a beautiful creature. Thanks for sharing this info as well as the pictures.

Andria on December 08, 2009:

Not a bad start (overall) re all you hubbing efforts :) Lots of good quality text, relevant pictures etc. Welcome to HubPages ;)

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