The Snowshoe Cat
Snowshoes were first introduced to the world by a breeder in Philadelphia, USA, in the late 1960’s. Three kittens of Siamese parentage that were born with white mitted feet formed the foundation of the breed. American Bi-coloured Shorthairs were then used to develop the breed.
In 1986 a Snowshoe breeding project was started in the UK. From 1998 Mollie Southall of Coldenufforsnow cats worked tirelessly for years with other breeders to establish the breed in the UK. Import cats, as well as British shorthair, Ragdoll and Siamese cats have been used to ensure a healthy breed with no genetic health problems. Snowshoes are still relatively rare in Europe and it is usual to have to wait if you have a specific colour or pattern in mind. It is important to remember that it is the Snowshoe temperament that stands it apart from other cats, so any colour or patten of cat will be a playful, sweet tempered and affectionate member of the family. The Snowshoe is a medium sized cat, combining the heftiness of its shorthair ancestors and the length of its oriental ancestors. The cat is well balanced overall; neither too small nor too large. It is firm and muscular, deceptively powerful and should have an athletic build with the appearance of a runner rather than a weightlifter. Snowshoes are a healthy breed and are not bred to look extreme. They look like a cat and they act like a cat and have no health issues known today.
The Snowshoe is a Championship breed with the GCCF and TICA and my Snowshoes enjoy meeting new people and entertaining the judges at shows. Three of the four GCCF Champion Snowshoes were bred here by me and my teenage daughter Ellie. Sapphirestar Frostbite and Sapphirestar Summer days are both Champions. Frostbite was the first male GCCF Champion Snowshoe, Summer is the second female Snowshoe Champion and the youngest female to be made up at just 9 months. Diamondice Snow Prince (George) was bred by my daughter and was made up to Champion in April 2014, he is the first ever bluepoint Snowshoe to be awarded Champion status. George was also the first Snowshoe to be awarded a GCCF Grand Certificate.
The Snowshoe temperament is best described as ‘bombproof’ and indeed little seems to faze them. They are great extroverts at shows, revelling in the attention they receive and will come to meet you at the door when you get home. They love interactive play with their owners, quickly learning how to play “fetch” (they may even teach you how to do this). Ping pong balls are a great favourite, as are climbing frames, especially those that include a tunnel or hammock. They are quick, intelligent and also love human company and are an ideal cat for families. They readily accept other breeds of cats, dogs and of course children! The ideal all-round cat.
The combination of striking blue eyes, pointed pattern and white trim makes the Snowshoe unique amongst shorthaired cats. They are so eyecatching and inquisitive that they charm all visitors and can even convert non cat lovers!!
The Snowshoe can be shown in all the Siamese colours, including the tabby and tortie varieties. The most usual colours found in the UK are seal and blue point cats, with and without white. The preferred classic pattern is most striking, but very difficult to achieve. Some USA breeders describe Snowshoes as being ‘as different as pebbles on the beach’, each kitten showing its own distinctive pattern, each having its own unique appeal. Some Pedigree Snowshoes are born with no white at all and are very pretty, resembling the Old Style of Siamese found in the 50’s and still very popular today.
The Snowshoe makes an ideal pet for any household, they are great companion cats and their intelligence matched with an easy going temperament makes them like a lais back Siamese. They are very rewarding to live with, they run to the door to greet you when you get home and are happy to cuddle up for as long as you will. The Snowshoe is a perfect choice for busy active households – they are not phased by anything and seem to enjoy being part of the mayhem. You can sum up the breed by saying that they are everybody’s best friend. They are the least aloof cats I have ever met and are great at integrating themselves with non cat lovers.
Snowshoes adapt well to multicat households and mix well with other breeds, whether energetic or more sedantary breeds. On the whole a Snowshoe cat will adapt to living with older or younger cats. We have Snowshoes, British Shorthairs, the moggie and two dogs living in the house here. They range in age and all get on well (with certain exceptions!) and it’s lovely to see the different breeds sleeping in a big cat pile.
Snowshoes like people with time to love them, so are perfect pets for the retired or stay at home parents. They are lap cats and will sit happily on children or adults. The Snowshoe is more likely to share their love around than the Siamese, who can make more fierce loyalties to one person, but I do have Snowshoe’s with preferences for individual people.
Although energetic and playful the Snowshoe is not generally stressed about being left during the day, they are not a destructive breed – though all kittens can get up to mischief is left unattended! So Snowshoes are well suited to a working adult household. They are more adaptable to being left alone all day than a dog would be and they will be ready to play as soon as you walk through the door. If the kitten is to be left all day completly alone, then they would be happier if they had another cat for company – either pedigree or a rescue moggie would be perfect. It is down to personal preference of course, but several of my Snowshoes share their owners beds. They are a well balanced, people friendly cat.
My Snowshoes actually like children, so are very well suited to living in homes with children. Snowshoes are tolerant and are not stressed by much, so sudden noises and rushing around children are not a problem. My daughter was only 2 years old when we got our first Snowshoe in 2008, she was well used to cats so treated the new kitten with care and respect. Clearly caution should always be taken, but my Snowshoes who have gone to homes with children have bonded very well with them and my daughter is my stud boy Idris’ favourite person in the world.
Snowshoes are so adaptable that I know of cats holidaying with their families all around the country. They bond to their people and have no problem with upheavel such as moving house, a new baby or other pets entering the household.
The above characteristics are of course generalisations and upbringing must be taken into account. If you want a well socialised kitten who will adapt well to your household, then I recommend looking for a kitten who has been raised in similar circumstances. I have been breeding Snowshoes since 2010 and thoroughly enjoy raising confident, outgoing kittens who go on to delight their new owners and are great ambassadors for the Snowshoe breed. Once owned by a Snowshoe you will never be without one, they are truelly addictive personalities.
There are independent reveiws from Snowshoe owners on the catster link below, or come and meet my cats and see for yourself!
For further information on the Snowshoe breed please go to