The origin of the Snowshoe can be traced back to the early 1960's when Dorothy Hinds Daugherty, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania found three kittens in a litter of Siamese, each with four white feet. Dorothy liked the unique combination of pointed colors and white feet and began the process to establish a breed. In developing the breed, Dorothy bred the kittens to a domestic (American Shorthair) cat with tuxedo markings and eventually developed the popular white 'V' facial markings. The American Shorthair was still pending recognition as a breed at that time. The result of the breeding to a domestic cat produced a cat that is unlike either of the two ancestors with a combination of the personality of both ancestors.
Much of the history of the Snowshoe was lost due to poorly kept records over time and the original pattern restrictions which discouraged both new and old breeders because of the inconsistencies of the white patterning. Between 1960 and 1977, interest in the breed had declined until there was only one breeder in 1977, but by 1989, there were close to thirty documented breeders. The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the Snowshoe as a championship breed in 1994.
The Snowshoe personality is as unique as their appearance and is never boring. The personality is a complicated mix of mystical aloofness along with a slight dash of 'normal' cat. Like snowflakes and coloring, no two cats have the same personality. Some are shy, some are bossy (but nice), and some are caregivers, taking the role of worrying about their adopted person as though it were their lifelong ambition. Generally a 'talker', with a soft, melodic voice the Snowshoe normally habitats well in a multiple cat family but some are loners and prefer your total attention. Almost all are inquisitive and active, offering many hours of delightful entertainment and a cat's lifetime of affectionate companionship.
Most Snowshoes form a primary bond with their chosen person while still maintaining friendship with other people. They know what you are going to do long before you know it. They like to be near you, but unlike a dog, they prefer to lead you than to follow you. The resulting personality is not for every cat owner and being 'owned' by a Snowshoe is something you have to experience to appreciate. Once 'owned', you will probably never want to be without one.
Snowshoe kittens are born totally white. The point coloring begins to develop in a few weeks. The tail, legs, head and ears darken as the kitten ages. The body is a lighter color ranging from a light cream color with the shading darkening with age. The most common colors are seal point and blue point. The lighter colors of chocolate, lilac, etc are less common because of the specialized breeding required to produce the lighter colors and because the lighter colors do not produce as good a contrast between the point color and the white feet. The Snowshoe eye color ranges from a sparkling blue eye color to a pale blue gray color. Paw pads may be a combination of point color or pink or a combination of point color and pink.
The Snowshoe is a well balanced cat, neither too small nor too large; it is firm, muscular without being bulky and deceptively powerful and agile. The body has the appearance of a runner and jumper rather than that of a weight lifter being moderately but not extremely long giving the body the appearance of a rectangle. The ears are medium large and continue the triangular shape of the head. The body is muscular without being bulky. The paws are oval tapering to the toes, and are medium in size.
The Snowshoe male is a medium sized cat weighing approximately 9 to 12 pounds, with a heftiness that makes it seem heavier when lifted. The Snowshoe female is usually much smaller in size, weighing approximately 7 to 10 pounds, but some females match the male in size but not always in heftiness.
The Snowshoe is a shorthair cat, not to be confused with either a Birman or a Ragdoll and is not related to either of these breeds. The coat is a single layer with no evidence of an undercoat and is usually smooth to the touch. The short hair coat provides for an easy to groom coat and most Snowshoes will groom themselves unless they are not feeling well or are stressed.
Health Issues Common to Snowshoe
All pedigreed cats have some sort of health problem, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Any breeder who claims that her breed has no health or genetic problems is either lying or is not knowledgeable about the breed. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
Snowshoes are generally healthy and do not appear to have major genetic problems, though it's always wise to purchase a cat from a breeder who offers a written health guarantee.
Pet Insurance for Snowshoe
Pet insurance for purebred cats costs more than for mixed breed cats. This is because a purebred cat is more likely than a mixed breed cat to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
Embrace cat insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which purebred cats are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your cat is when he's a healthy kitten. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.