January 4, 2019

Snowshoe Cat

The Snowshoe is a relatively new breed that appeared on the scene in the 1960s when a Siamese breeder, Dorothy Hinds Daugherty, in Philadelphia noticed three kittens in her litter with paws that looked like little white boots. This feature was in fact unacceptable in the Siamese breed. However, Daugherty took the opportunity and started breeding this new line of feline with her white-pawed offspring. These white-booted cats were first crossed with the bicolor American Shorthair.

However, the subsequent offspring lacked the traditional Siamese points. Daugherty then began breeding the cats backed with the Siamese breed. Eventually the Snowshoe was born as a breed that has the coat of an American Shorthair and certain traits of the Siamese. The Snowshoe achieved the championship status in 1990 under the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA). In 1993 International Cat Association (TICA) granted the breed recognition and eventually extended the championship status to it as well. The striking coloration of the Snowshoe is very difficult to reproduce as the unusual white markings rely on recessive genes. Thus, this breed remains uncommon and rare.

Physical appearance and attributes
This is a medium sized cat that weighs between 10 -1 2 pounds. It has a semi-foreign body type that combines the body length of its Siamese ancestors and the sturdiness of the American Shorthair. The musculature is both firm and good, neither oriental nor cobby. The legs are of a medium length, tapering into round compact paws. The tail is well-proportionate to the body, thick at the base and tapering into a rounded tip.

Snowshoe has a head that is a modified wedge with rounded contours. It appears to be as wide as it is long with angular contours marked by its high cheekbones and a gentle whisker break. The ears are medium in size and are set to continue the lines of the modified wedged. They are wide at the base and taper to a slightly rounded tip. The eyes of the snowshoe are oval or rounded in shape and show a slight slant towards the ears. They are also always a dazzling shade of blue; a trait passed on from the Siamese and is now also a characteristic feature of the Snowshoe. Viewed in profile, the muzzle is neither extremely broad nor pointed. It has a firm chin that is in line with the tip of the nose. The top of the head appears flat and two distinctive planes, separated by a gentle break or concave curve along the nose, can be traced from the forehead to the nose tip.

The cat wears a single coat of smooth, short hair that is moderately close-lying to the body. Like snowflakes, no two Snowshoes have the same coat pattern even thought their paws are always white. In fact, all white is how this breed is actually born. It is not until a few weeks after birth that it develops its characteristically darker points on the face, ears, legs and tail. However, the distinct white markings on its paws and muzzle will stick around. This coat pattern of the Snowshoe also boasts of another distinctive feature, that is, an inverted white “V” marking on the muzzle; which may sometimes be prominent or faint.

Personality and temperaments
This breed possessed a well-balanced temperament; having both the bossy and mellow side. This is a people-oriented cat that can get along well with everyone in the family, including cat-friendly pets. However, its special affection is reserved for few. The privileged one will receive its extreme devotion and loyalty. This can be reflected by following you around the house or just wanting to be near you whenever possible. It loves company and will not tolerate solitude. The Snowshoe is never at a loss of words and will express itself whenever possible. However, it is not as loud or outspoken as the Siamese breed. Marked also with high intelligence and dexterity, the Snowshoe is capable of learning tricks such as fetch as well as opening various cabinets and doors. It is a playful cat that can make a game out of anything, but it is not destructive.

Care and health issues
The Snowshoe is a healthy breed with few health issues and has a lifespan of between 9 – 13 years. Like the Siamese, it is however prone to gingivitis and other issues related to their dental care. It would be wise to still send your cat for yearly health checks and vaccination to maintain an overall good health. To ensure that it is a hearty breed that comes from responsible breeders, obtaining a written health guarantee upon purchase is important.

This is considered one of the easiest feline to groom as it tends to its own appearance and sheds very little. A weekly brush out would help to remove dead hair and to keep the coat in a nice sheen. To prevent oral health issues, brush the teeth frequently with vet-approved toothpaste. Trim the nails and clean the ears whenever necessary to keep the cat clean and happy.

The ideal home
Snowshoe is suitable for indoor living and is an ideal companion for most types of household. Its balanced disposition and friendliness allow it to get along well with all in the family. However, if you are serious about bringing the Snowshoe into your family, be prepared to shower it with the attention it needs. Provide it with interactive toys, cat gym sets and scratching poles. With responsible care and attention, this one of a kind Snowshoe will reward the family with a one of a kind love.


Image Credit
Photo by Arnaud Dessein - CC BY-SA 2.0

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