Cat Breeds


Isabel Hartley

The Snowshoe cat is a breed that combines the striking looks of the Siamese with the sturdy build of the American Shorthair.

With its unique set of features that include white paws, which look as if the cat has delved into snow, and distinct point coloration, the Snowshoe is both a visual delight and a charming companion.

These cats have captivating personalities to match their alluring appearances; they are well-known for being sociable, affectionate, and intelligent.

These cats are born with a completely white coat, which gradually develops color in the points—ears, face, tail, and paws—as they mature. The signature white paws combined with their traditionally blue almond-shaped eyes give the Snowshoe an arresting appearance.

Originally from the United States, this breed has a modest origin story, having come into existence in the 1960s from a litter of Siamese kittens that displayed the unique white markings.

Alongside their beauty, Snowshoe cats are valued for their companionable nature. They typically enjoy being part of family activities and are known to form strong bonds with their owners.

Their vocal tendencies are inherited from their Siamese heritage, but they often have a softer voice.

Above all, snowshoes are adaptable and equally content to play or relax, making them well-suited to a variety of homes.

Origin and History

The Snowshoe Cat boasts an American heritage, emerging in the 1960s. Its history is a tale of serendipity mixed with intentional breeding.

They owe their origins to a traditional Siamese cat that unexpectedly gave birth to three kittens with unique white paws, resembling snowshoes.

The visual appeal of these markings caught the attention of Siamese breeders.

Key Traits:

  • White feet: hallmark of the breed
  • Bicolor pattern: distinctive contrast
  • Point coloration: Siamese influence

Breeders saw potential in these charming cats and endeavored to enhance the trait. They combined the Siamese with the American Shorthair, enriching the genetic pool and solidifying the breed’s iconic look.

Breeding Goals:

  • Maintain white feet
  • Preserve personality traits
  • Ensure genetic diversity

Despite their magnetic appeal, Snowshoes remain relatively rare. Their scarcity adds to their mystique, making them a treasure for feline enthusiasts. The Snowshoe’s evolution continues as breeders and cat fanciers celebrate and sustain this unique lineage.

Physical Characteristics

The Snowshoe cat sports distinctive features that make it easily recognizable. It carries the legacy of its Siamese heritage through its features, while also bearing unique traits.

Coat and Color

The Snowshoe’s coat is short and lies close to the body, offering a sleek appearance. These cats are mainly known for their white paws that starkly contrast with their primary color, reminiscent of actual snowshoes.

While they are born all-white, a Snowshoe cat’s coat develops colorpoint markings similar to those of a Siamese as it grows. The colors usually observed are seal point or blue point, where darker colors decorate their ears, face, tail, and sometimes their legs.

Body Structure

Snowshoes are of medium-large size, balancing grace with muscular strength. They have a sturdy build with:

  • Average Height: 9 to 11 inches
  • Adult Weight: Between 6 and 12 pounds

Both males and females typically possess a triangular face, bright blue almond-shaped eyes, and medium-sized ears that align with the apex of the triangle.

Their physique is rounded, with a well-developed chest and firm legs, exuding both power and elegance.

Temperament and Behavior

The Snowshoe cat is known for its sociable nature. They typically thrive in the company of humans and often exhibit a warm and friendly demeanor. Their affectionate character makes them suitable for families and individuals alike, as they tend to form strong bonds with their owners.


  • Love attention and play
  • Enjoy being part of the family
  • Sociable with other pets and children

Character Traits:

  • Intelligent
  • Inquisitive
  • Playful

They often display a playful side, enjoying interactive games and even learning tricks. Curiosity is a hallmark of their behavior, and they may follow their owners around the house, showing interest in their activities.

Despite their playful antics, snowshoes are not overly demanding of attention; they are content just to be in the presence of their human companions.

Their vocalizations tend to be softer than those of their Siamese ancestors, and they use meows and chirps to communicate, often voicing their opinions on matters or initiating interaction.

Indoor Behavior:

  • Quiet and gentle indoors
  • May seek high perches

In a domestic setting, snowshoes usually adapt well. They can be found perched at high vantage points, surveying their environment, or nesting in cozy spots.

Their balanced temperament makes them adaptable and even-tempered housemates.

Care and Health

When it comes to the Snowshoe cat breed, their care is uncomplicated but vital for their well-being, and they have several health considerations worth noting.

Grooming Needs

Snowshoe cats have short coats that are relatively easy to maintain. They typically require weekly brushing to remove loose hair and distribute skin oils.

This grooming routine not only keeps their coat in good condition but also strengthens the bond between the cat and its owner.

Nail trimming should be done as needed, usually every couple of weeks, and it’s important to maintain good dental hygiene through regular tooth brushing.

Health Considerations

This breed is generally healthy, but it’s imperative to be aware of potential genetic health issues. Here’s what to look out for in a concise list:

  • HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy): A heart condition that is hereditary in some cat breeds, including the Snowshoe.
  • Obesity: Keeping an eye on their diet and weight is crucial, as excess weight can lead to various health issues.

Regular vet check-ups are key to preventing and managing these health issues. Vaccinations, parasite control, and health screenings help ensure a Snowshoe cat stays healthy throughout its estimated lifespan of 14 to 19 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, readers can find quick and useful information on Snowshoe cats, including their cost, adoption, behavioral traits, health concerns, physical identification, and affection levels.

What’s the typical price range for a Snowshoe cat?

Snowshoe cats can vary in price but typically range from $600 to $1200. This can depend on the breeder, location, pedigree, and coat pattern.

Where can I find snowshoe cats available for adoption?

One can find Snowshoe cats through local animal shelters, rescue groups specializing in Snowshoes, or dedicated online pet adoption resources.

What are some standout features of Snowshoe cat personalities?

Snowshoe cats are known for their friendly and social nature. They often seek out human companionship and interact well with family members.

Are there any common health issues associated with snowshoe cats?

While Snowshoe cats are generally healthy, they can be prone to some genetic health issues similar to those of their Siamese ancestors. These can include heart and kidney problems.

How can I identify if my cat is a Snowshoe breed?

A Snowshoe cat typically has a combination of Siamese and American Shorthair features, such as point coloration, an inverted ‘V’ facial marking, and white paws.

Do snowshoe cats typically enjoy cuddling and being held?

They are often affectionate and enjoy cuddling. Snowshoe cats are also known for their love of being held and may actively seek out their owners’ laps.