The Snowshoe is a caring cat and very loyal. Did you know that the white paws that are so characteristic of the Snowshoe were originally a mistake? Are you curious why this is so and would you like to know more about this unique cat? Then read on!
The origin: a cross between a Siamese and an American Shorthair
As mentioned, the white legs that are so characteristic of the Snowshoe of origin are actually a mistake. The Snowshoe was first seen in the early 60’s in a litter of kittens from a normal colorpoint Siamese in Philadelphia. In this litter four kittens had completely white paws. The breeder, Dorothy Hinds, thought the appearance of these kittens was special enough to breed them separately. This made Dorothy the first official breeder of the Snowshoe.
In this breeding she crossed the special cats from the litter with an American Shorthair. The kittens that came out of this litter formed the Snowshoe breed. The cat has both characteristics of the American Shorthair and Siamese. What makes this cat so special are the white paws. This is so special because both the Siamese and the American Shorthair have no white legs.
Further documentation of the history of this breed has been poorly maintained and therefore lost. Between 1960 – when this breed was discovered – and 1977 the interest in this breed declined considerably. In 1977, there was only one breeder who was involved with the Snowshoe. In the period after 1977, the interest in this breed fortunately increased again and this resulted in almost thirty breeders being active already in 1989. A very good sign!
The Snowshoe has not been accepted by all the organisations with cat registers. The cat has been accepted by the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe), the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) and The International Cat Association (TICA). TICA accepted this breed in 1994 as a cat with competition status.
The character: a caring and loyal cat
The Snowshoe has a unique character. This ensures that it is never boring with this cat. The cat is very extrovert and reacts well to his or her owner. The cat is very intelligent which can also be seen in the daily routine. For example, the cat will quickly realise how certain things work and will also experiment to get a door handle open.
The cat loves the homely atmosphere and prefers to have his or her family in sight. When you move from space there is a good chance that your Snowshoe will follow you. It is also true that the cat generally gets more of a bond with one person. The cat will consider that person to be his or her master and will spend most of his or her time with him or her. The cat is also very caring and will take good care of his or her owner. If, for example, you are a little less comfortable, the cat may come and sit with you and cuddle up to you. Moreover, the cat can meow your uplifting words. The Snowshoe is quite a talker. The cat does have a soft voice so that the meowing is not very loud.
Furthermore the cat has a stable temperament which means that the cat doesn’t have much to do with feeling fluctuations. This characteristic makes this cat very suitable for people who are taking in a cat for the first time. Because the Snowshoe is generally good in his skin it is also a lot easier to take care of. In addition, the cat gets along very well with other cats and animals, which makes this cat also suitable for a family with several animals.
It is worth noting that the character can vary from cat to cat. Just like in humans, cats are not exactly identical and cats can differ from each other regardless of the breed. For example, a cat may be shy or bossy, caring or not caring and active or inactive.
In general the Snowshoe is a very loyal cat. This makes this cat a real addition to your household.
Appearance: a strong and agile body
The Snowshoe is born completely white. When the cat grows up, points on the body develop over time and the coat changes colour. The cat is medium sized and has a fairly muscular body. Yet the cat doesn’t seem very big so the cat can sometimes be deceptively strong. The cat looks more like a runner and a high jumper than a weightlifter. The cat usually weighs between 2.5 and 5.5 kilograms. It is worth noting that males are a lot bigger than females.
The Snowshoe has a fairly long body that is neither stocky nor lean. The cat is well built, powerful and agile. The cat is quite muscular but not very bulky like some other cats. The body looks a bit like a Birman and a Ragdoll but should not be confused with this. The Snowshoe has a shorter coat and does not descend from either breed. The body of males is medium to medium sized while the body of females is only small to medium. The difference between males and females in size is more pronounced in this breed than in most other breeds. The legs have a nice size and are also nicely in proportion to the rest of the body. The same goes for the legs which are oval shaped. The tail of the Snowshoe is also nice in proportion to the rest of the body and medium in width at the base. The tail is a bit tapered.
The head of the Snowshoe is in the shape of a modified wedge. Here the cat has higher cheekbones with subtle contours. The head is almost as wide as long and is in the shape of an equilateral triangle. The head is slanting towards the muzzle. The Snowshoe has a firm chin and the muzzle is in proportion with the rest of the head. The snout has a careful stop. Partly because of this, the muzzle is not extremely wide, the muzzle is not square but also not pointed. The nose is not too wide and not too narrow and the hump of the nose is flat or slightly upwards. The ears are nice in proportion to the rest of the body and have a broad base. The ears form as it were an extension of the wedge. Furthermore, the ears are slightly rounded and stand quite far apart from each other. The ears are often a bit to the side. The shape of the eyes can differ per cat. The shape is in most cases an oval but can also be a bit round. The eyes are a bit crooked in the direction of the ears. The eyes do not protrude and should be in a shade of blue.
The coat of the Snowshoe
The Snowshoe’s coat is short to medium. The coat feels very smooth and because of its density it can be very close to the body. The Snowshoe’s coat therefore goes along with the body in a streamlined way. It is not the intention that the coat is standing up. This has to do with the requirements for shows and exhibitions and can be read in [insert article]. Furthermore, the coat depends on the season and where the cat is geographically located. For example, the coat will be thicker in colder periods and areas than in warmer periods and areas.
The Snowshoe’s coat has point markings and occurs in all the point colours. The dots must be clearly visible and have a clear contrast with the basic coat colour. A little white at the point areas is allowed. The nose leather and paws can appear in the point colour, flesh colour or spotted.
The base coat of the Snowshoe is a lot lighter than the point colours. Different shades can also occur within each colour. On the back, shoulders and hips the colour of the base coat slowly changes to the point colour and at the chest and belly a lighter colour is present. Different colour shades may be present per hair. For example, the root colour of a hair can be darker or lighter than that of the top of a hair.
In addition to the point markings, there are also two patterns at the Snowhoe. For example, the cat can have a spotted pattern and a bicolour pattern. In the spotted pattern the white is limited to the paws, back, legs, chest and chin. In this case the cat is usually for a quarter white. The bicolour pattern requires a white pattern in the face. Furthermore the cat has white areas at the legs, thighs, chest and chin. In this pattern a Snowshoe is usually at least a quarter and a maximum of half white. Slightly more so than in the spotted pattern.
In general the white colour dominates in this cat. There is a clear contrast between the white coat and the colour points. The white colour is also sparkling and very striking. For the exact colours and patterns in which the Snowhoe appears, it is best to take a look at the breed standard of this cat.
Upbringing: make the rules in your household clear
It is very important for the development of a cat to grow up in the presence of the mother cat. By letting a kitten grow up in the presence of the mother cat together with his or her littermates, you let a kitten grow up in a familiar environment. It is important that a kitten doesn’t experience too much stress in its first phase of life and doesn’t have a negative experience with people. Partly because of this a cat can become shy of humans.
There is also talk of a socialisation period consisting of two parts. The first phase is when a kitten is about 3 to 8 weeks old. During this period a kitten learns the basic skills for life and gradually turns a kitten to his or her environment. A kitten also learns in this phase that the needs have to be done on a litter tray. A kitten learns this mainly by imitating his or her mother. The second period of socialisation takes place when a kitten is about 8 to 14 weeks old. During this period a kitten learns to get better used to human touch, to deal with strange noises and they are, as it were, prepared to go to their new owner.
Man also has an important role to play in this. A kitten has to be able to grow up in a familiar environment and has to get used to human touch in the first phase of life. In this way, mankind’s care in the rest of a cat’s life will become a lot easier. The cat is accustomed to being touched, which makes cutting the nails a lot easier.
Because breeders only give a kitten to their new owner when he has reached an age of at least 12 weeks, you as the owner have little influence on this first phase of life. It is wise to check whether the breeder has paid enough attention to the socialisation of your kitten and whether it was raised in the presence of the mother cat. It is often easy to see when this is not okay, as a kitten is then somewhat shy of humans. It is also wise to take a good look at the mother cat. This is because there is a good chance that a kitten will take over character traits from the mother cat.
When you get your cat into the house, the task of upbringing falls on your shoulders. You will have to make the rules that apply in your home clear to your cat. First of all, it is important to teach your cat to do his or her needs in the litter tray. Secondly, you will have to make it clear to your cat not to scratch the sofa and the curtains. It may be wise to get a scratching post in the house. By offering a good alternative, there is a good chance that your cat will leave your sofa and curtains alone.
When clarifying the rules that apply in your home, it is useful to make use of punishments and rewards. By punishments we don’t mean physically punishing your cat but talking to it when it shows undesirable behaviour. For example, if your cat eats food from the table when it is not supposed to do so, you can talk your cat into this. By doing this immediately after the action, the cat will recognise a negative relationship and will show this undesirable behaviour less. The opposite applies to rewarding. When your cat shows desired behaviour you can reward your cat by, for example, petting his ball or sweets. In this case the cat will recognise a connection between the good behaviour and the reward. This will eventually result in your cat showing this good behaviour more often.
The care: spend enough time with your cat
For your cat’s good health, it is important that you devote enough time to grooming. Here you can make a distinction between physical grooming, such as combing the coat, and grooming for sufficient exercise. It is very important for a cat to get enough exercise as cats move a lot by nature and have a tendency to be overweight when they do not.
Taking care of the Snowshoe’s coat doesn’t take a lot of time. In general it is enough to brush the coat once a week and check for tangles and hairballs. Brushing the coat weekly will keep it looking healthy and remove dead hairs.
In addition to the coat, it is important that your cat’s nails are in good condition. By scratching a cat will make sure his nails stay clean. By scratching a cat removes the dirt between its nails. So it is important that your Snowshoe has the opportunity to scratch something. It is therefore advisable to get a scratching post in the house. After scratching a scratching post, it is important that you cut your cat’s nails once in a while. Doing this at least a couple of times a year will prevent ingrowth and other misery.
It is also important to keep your cat clean. For example, you can give your cat a bath once in a while if your cat is really dirty. It is also important to keep a close eye on your ears and eyes. This is where dirt tends to accumulate. If you don’t clean it in time, you increase the chance of an infection.
In addition to this external care, it is also important that your cat gets enough exercise. Cats are naturally active animals and also have a high risk of obesity when they exercise less. By playing sufficiently with your cat and bringing active toys into the house, you can prevent this.
The food: look carefully at the ingredients
It is important for a cat to get high quality food. It is wise to take good account of the cat’s natural food in this respect. Cats naturally eat mainly mice and other small animals which makes the cat a real meat-eater. A cat gets all the nutrients it needs from meat and does not need a diet of cereals and vegetables very much.
When you decide to get food for your cat it is wise to keep this in mind. It’s important that your cat gets enough natural protein but not too many carbohydrates. Cats have difficulty processing carbohydrates. When buying cat kibble, for example, it is wise to look carefully at the ingredients.
In addition to cat kibble, you can of course also choose to give your cat raw meat. Meat contains all the nutrients a cat needs. Moreover, raw meat contains a lot of moisture. This is also good for a cat as cats naturally drink very little. With the fluids from raw meat they can keep the level of fluids in their body up to a good level.
Just like people, cats can also be affected by diseases. There are a number of diseases that can occur in all cats but also specific diseases and disorders that are especially common in a certain breed. There are not really diseases known that are more common with regard to the Snowshoe than in other breeds.
However, breeding is often tested for a number of diseases in order to minimize the chance of these diseases being passed on. For example, FIV (cat AIDS) and FeLV (cat leukemia) are usually tested. In addition, cats are often tested for hereditary disorders. In most cases this concerns HCM (a hereditary heart defect) and PKD (a hereditary kidney defect).
How old can the Snowshoe cat get?
A Snowshoe is between 10 and 15 years old. Exactly how old your cat gets depends on the way you take care of your cat, but also whether your cat is affected by an illness. If you take good care of your cat and give it enough love and attention, your cat will be more comfortable in your skin. Generally speaking, when a cat that feels good about itself gets older than when it doesn’t feel good about itself. Unfortunately, your cat may also be faced with an illness that can shorten life expectancy considerably.
What you need to know before you take the cat into your home
Before you take your cat into your home, it is important to prepare yourself well. Purchase the right items so that your cat feels right at home. Think for example of a litter tray, cat basket and toys. A scratching post is also no superfluous luxury.
In addition, it is wise to check carefully whether your cat is ready for the rest of his life. Your cat will need to be dewormed, have the basic inoculations and you can chip your cat if necessary. In most cases this has already been done by the breeder.
Have you already decided that you want a certain breed of cat in your house but haven’t found a suitable breeder yet? Then it is wise to register with a breed club. A breed club is committed to the interests of a certain breed of cat and the owners of these cats. A breed club can often put you on a waiting list for a certain breed. There is currently no breed club for the Snowshoe in the USA.
What kind of price do you have to think about?
For a Snowshoe you usually pay between $600 and $1600. This amount may vary per breeder and appearance of the cat. It also makes a difference if there is a pedigree that can be traced back to an old champion. In that case the price of a cat becomes a lot more expensive. Cats that are suitable for the show are more expensive than domestic cats that are not suitable for the show.
Share your experiences with the Snowshoe
Do you have a Snowshoe in the house and a nice story to tell about your cat? We are very curious. Also tips for taking care of a Snowshoe are always welcome. You can let us know by leaving a comment on this article!