The Snowshoe Cat: 11 Amazing Facts

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Last Updated: November 10th, 2023

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A Snowshoe cat is a breed of cat originating in the United States. It’s a striking breed known for its unique color points and white markings. Explore their key characteristics in this article.

the snowshoe cat

The Snowshoe cat, a lesser-known but fascinating breed, combines distinctive features and a charming personality. Emerging in the United States during the 1960s, this breed has captured the attention of cat enthusiasts with its unique combination of Siamese point coloration and characteristic white markings. This article aims to offer an insightful look into the Snowshoe cat’s origins, temperament, and care requirements. Join us as we delve into what makes the Snowshoe cat a beloved yet rare companion in many households.

11 Facts About The Snowshoe Cat Breed:

Snowshoe Cat History

The Snowshoe cat, a distinctive and relatively rare breed, originated in the United States during the 1960s. Its creation is credited to Siamese breeder Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty of Philadelphia, who noticed unique white markings on the feet of some kittens in a Siamese litter. To develop this new breed, she crossed Siamese cats with American Shorthairs, aiming to blend the Siamese’s pointed coloration and striking blue eyes with the white, tuxedo-like markings of the American Shorthair.

Despite the initial difficulties and its rarity, the Snowshoe was eventually recognized by major cat registries and has since garnered admiration for its friendly temperament and elegant appearance, combining the robust build of the American Shorthair and the grace of the Siamese.

Their Unique Appearance

Snowshoe cats are medium-sized with a short coat. They have a pointed color pattern, similar to a Siamese, with dark coloration on the ears, face, paws, and tail. What sets them apart are their white markings, which usually include white feet, giving them the appearance of wearing little snowshoes. They also have beautiful, striking blue eyes, a trait they share with Siamese cats.

snowshoe cat with beautiful blue eyes

Snowshoe Cat Color Variations:

Snowshoe cats exhibit a distinctive color pattern known as “point coloration,” similar to that of Siamese cats, but they also have unique white markings. The primary color variations in Snowshoe cats include:

  • Seal Point: This is the most common coloration. Seal point Snowshoes have a light body color with darker points (ears, tail, face, and paws) in a rich, dark brown or black shade.
  • Blue Point: These cats have a bluish-white body with points in a slate gray color. The blue point is a dilute version of the seal point.
  • Chocolate Point: This variant has ivory body fur with points in a lighter brown or chocolate color.
  • Lilac Point: A rarer color variation, lilac point Snowshoes have a glacial white body with pinkish-gray points.

It’s important to note that Snowshoe kittens are born white, and their points and markings develop as they mature. The full color and pattern of a Snowshoe cat may not be completely visible until they are around two years old. Their distinct coloration, combined with their striking blue eyes, gives the Snowshoe cat a particularly captivating appearance.

Excellent Family Pets

Snowshoe cats are celebrated for their affectionate and sociable temperament, making them excellent companions in a household setting. They inherit the playful and friendly nature of their Siamese ancestors, often forming strong bonds with their human family members. Snowshoes are known for being interactive and enjoy being involved in family activities, displaying a curious and intelligent disposition.

Are Snowshoe Cats Very Vocal?

While they can be vocal, they typically are not as loud as Siamese cats. Snowshoe cats, that inherited some vocal tendencies from their Siamese lineage, are generally not as vocal as Siamese cats. They do communicate with their owners, often in a softer, melodic voice, and are known to be expressive in their interactions. However, they typically do not exhibit the loud, persistent vocalizations that are characteristic of the Siamese breed.

Snowshoes are more likely to use their voice to indicate their needs or desires, such as wanting attention or food, but they tend to do so in a less demanding manner compared to some of the more vocal breeds. Their vocalizations are often described as charming and endearing rather than intrusive or overwhelming.

Their Activity Level

Snowshoe cats are known for their moderate to high activity level, reflecting a playful and energetic disposition. They inherit a sense of curiosity and playfulness from their Siamese ancestry, often showing a keen interest in interactive play with their humans. Snowshoes enjoy a variety of activities including climbing, exploring, and playing with toys. They are intelligent cats and can be trained to perform tricks or play fetch, enjoying mental stimulation as much as physical exercise.

showshoe cat chilling

Are They Cudly?

Despite their active nature, Snowshoes also have a balanced temperament, meaning they appreciate moments of relaxation and affection. They often seek out the company of their owners for cuddles and petting, making them versatile companions. Their adaptable personality allows them to fit well in most home environments, whether it’s engaging in playful activities or enjoying quieter moments. It’s important for Snowshoe cat owners to provide enough playtime and enrichment to keep these active cats happy and healthy.

Snowshoe Cat Cost

The cost of a Snowshoe cat in the United States varies depending on factors like breeder reputation, pedigree, and whether the cat is of pet or show quality. Pet-quality Snowshoe cats typically range from $600 to $1,200 and are suitable for families seeking a companion animal. Show-quality cats, which adhere more closely to breed standards, can cost between $1,200 to $2,500 or more.

snowshoe cat on baby blue background

Possible Health Concerns

Snowshoe cats are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the common health concerns for Snowshoe cats include:

  • Respiratory Problems: Due to their Siamese ancestry, Snowshoes may inherit a predisposition to respiratory issues, including asthma and bronchial disease.
  • Dental Problems: Dental issues, such as periodontal disease, can be a concern. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are important for maintaining oral health.
  • Heart Conditions: Some Snowshoe cats may be at risk for heart conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a form of heart disease that is common in many cat breeds.
  • Kidney Issues: Renal problems, including chronic kidney disease, can occur in Snowshoes, particularly as they age.
  • Eye Problems: They may inherit some eye issues, such as crossed eyes or nystagmus (involuntary eye movement), from their Siamese lineage.

If you see any changes in your cats behavior like lethargy, reduced appetite, excessive meowing or excessive thirst, make sure to get your cat checked by a vet.

Is Snowshoe Cat High Maintenance?

Snowshoe cats are relatively low-maintenance, making them a good choice for a wide range of cat owners. Their short coats require minimal grooming, usually just a weekly brushing. Although they are moderately active and enjoy play, their exercise needs can be easily met with regular playtime and interactive toys. Health-wise, they are generally robust but benefit from routine veterinary care and a balanced diet, like any other cat breed.

Why Are They So Rare?

Snowshoes are rare primarily due to the challenges in selective breeding and their limited genetic pool. The breed’s distinctive white markings, governed by a partially dominant gene, make consistent breeding difficult, as even kittens from the same litter can vary greatly in appearance. Originating in the 1960s, the Snowshoe is a relatively new breed and hasn’t had as much time to establish a large population compared to older breeds. Additionally, the breed is lesser-known, leading to fewer breeders and a smaller overall breeding population. These factors combined contribute to the rarity of the Snowshoe cat breed.


    Overall, Snowshoe cats are known for their charming personalities, striking appearance, and playful nature, making them a beloved choice for cat enthusiasts. With its distinctive appearance and amiable personality, they remain a rare yet intriguing breed. Despite breeding challenges and a limited genetic pool, its growing popularity suggests a bright future. As more cat lovers discover the Snowshoe’s unique charm, this breed may gradually move from the fringes of rarity to become a more familiar breed in the feline world.



    Maja Sebenik is a proud owner of a Dachshund named Bimba. With three years of experience working as a researcher for a pet magazine, Maja's love for animals runs deep. Through her heartfelt writing, Maja shares practical tips, advice, and heartwarming anecdotes to inspire fellow pet lovers. Join her on a journey to explore the wonders of the animal kingdom, one paw at a time.

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