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Snowshoe Cat Breed: Info, Pictures, Care, Traits & Facts

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

Snowshoe on grey background

Height: 8 – 13 inches
Weight: 7 – 12 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 20 years
Colors: White, cream, seal, sable, black, tan, tawny, blue, chocolate, lilac
Suitable for: Active families, retirees, people who work from home, providing companionship
Temperament: Loving, intelligent, companionable, playful, mischievous

People looking for a low-energy cat need not apply for the Snowshoe cat. This energetic breed is highly sociable, loving to play games and spend lots of time with its owners. They love to spend every waking moment with you, whether it’s cuddling on the couch or watching you from a high perch. Their personable, agreeable nature makes them a good fit for most homes that are willing to give them the time they crave.

The Snowshoe cat was developed from the Siamese, so it has retained some Siamese features, like their pointed coat and highly vocal nature. Unlike most cats, these cats are extremely fond of water, often happily diving into kiddie pools or bathtubs. Their adventurous spirit and loving tendencies make Snowshoes a favorite in the cat world.

Snowshoe Kittens

Snowshoe Lynx Point Siamese kittens
Image Credit: Brenda Carson, Shutterstock

The Snowshoe cat is considered a rare breed, but you can find breeders scattered across the U.S. There’s a broad price range for Snowshoe kittens based on availability and breeding. If you can’t find a breeder, you can always check with your local animal shelter. It’s rare to find a purebred cat in an animal shelter, but it’s certainly not impossible.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Snowshoe Cat

1. Breed history is limited.

The Snowshoe cat is generally believed to have been developed in the 1960s by a Siamese cat breeder in Philadelphia. She originally called the breed “Silver Laces.” Three kittens in one of her litters had markings consistent with Snowshoe cats, so she began breeding in an attempt to recreate these markings. The American Shorthair and Oriental Shorthair were crossed with Siamese to create today’s Snowshoe cats, but this breeding was not well documented or regulated. Although the breed was technically developed in the 1960s, there is evidence of Siamese cats with white feet and a Snowshoe appearance showing up in art as far back as the Victorian era, and possibly before.

2. It can be difficult to achieve the right look.

The genes that are responsible for the Snowshoe’s coat colors and pattern are recessive genes, which can make breeding for them difficult. To make it even more difficult, these genes can have sporadic expression. This means that breeding two breed standard Snowshoes together won’t necessarily create any breed standard kittens. To make things more complicated, there are different accepted breed standards depending on which organization you ask. For example, the Fédération Internationale Féline accepts tortoiseshell coats, while the American Cat Fanciers Association does not.

3. They’re born solid white.

Although Snowshoes have distinctive colors and markings, the kittens are born completely white and free of any markings. It can take 1–3 weeks for the markings and additional colors to begin to develop, so it’s really a waiting game to see what you’ll get out of a litter. The markings on Snowshoe cats are almost like a human’s fingerprint. They are similar to each other, but each cat has its own unique layout of colors and markings.


Temperament & Intelligence of the Snowshoe Cat

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Snowshoe cats are considered to be excellent family pets due to their affectionate nature and adventurous tendencies. Although playful, they don’t tend to be too rough or short-tempered with children. They should be provided with plenty of high-up places to allow them to get away from children when they need a break, though.

Since they’re trainable and social cats, Snowshoes can make great companion cats for adventuring as well, whether it’s to the local park or for a hike. Their love of water can make them a good fit for gentle watersports, like paddleboarding and canoeing. Because of these characteristics, Snowshoes are a great fit for active families that enjoy sports, games, and outdoor activities. They are not a good fit for homes where people are routinely gone for extended periods of time, especially periods of time beyond the normal 9–5.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

With proper introductions, Snowshoes usually have a good relationship with other pets in the household. They will usually enjoy having a playmate and keeping a pair of friendly cats together can reduce the amount of time your cat demands of you every day. They are often good with dogs but, like with children, they need high-up spaces that allow them to get away when needed. Use caution introducing your Snowshoe cat to small animals. They’re social and friendly, but they are still cats and may injure or kill small animals, like rodents and reptiles. This is an especially high risk due to the high energy level and overly playful nature of the Snowshoe cat.

Things to Know When Owning a Snowshoe Cat:

Food & Diet Requirements 🐡

A high-quality food that is high in protein is usually best for these cats. They burn a lot of energy in a day, and the more active they are, the more energy they need to get from food. Cats are obligate carnivores, so they do need high-protein diets. If you’re unsure of what to feed your cat or how to properly portion the food out, talk to your vet. Many people are switching their pets to raw diets, which can be very dangerous to your cat’s health if you don’t feed proper foods in proper portions. If you’re interested in a raw diet for your Snowshoe cat, talk to your vet or a veterinary nutritionist for guidance.

Exercise 🐈

With Snowshoe cats, exercise is an extremely important part of their day-to-day. Interactive toys and novel items, like tunnels and scratchers, can be great fun and prevent boredom. Wall-mounted furniture, like scratchers and beds, are a wonderful option for these cats since they like to spend time in high-up places. Wall-mounted furniture can encourage climbing and jumping, helping your kitty burn energy and stay entertained.


Training 🧶

Snowshoes can be leash trained as well as being trained to perform tricks, play games, solve puzzles, and even perform tasks, like opening doors. Training your cat can be done through positive reinforcement with treats, toys, and attention. In some situations, your cat may even train itself, so don’t be surprised if your Snowshoe cat starts fetching without guidance or takes to harness training on the first attempt.

Grooming ✂️

This is a low-maintenance cat when it comes to grooming. They are shorthaired cats, so their coats require minimal care. Regular brushing will help keep your cat’s skin and coat healthy. They do shed as the seasons change, so plan to give your cat more regular brushing during fall and spring. Nail trims aren’t necessary for most active cats, especially cats that do a lot of climbing since their nails help them grip and balance.


Health and Conditions 🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Crossed eyes
  • Dental disease
Serious Conditions
  • Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)
  • Kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Feline aortic thromboembolisms
  • Hyperthyroidism

Male vs Female

Temperament and personality in male and female Snowshoe cats are similar and vary more based on the individual cat and its environment than on the cat’s sex. Males may be larger and more muscular than females. Generally, Snowshoe cats have triangular heads, but some do have more rounded skulls. You are more likely to see larger, blockier skulls in male cats, especially those that are not neutered.

Final Thoughts

Snowshoe cats are a terrific addition to the right home. They’re a never-ending source of entertainment and companionship, making them a good fit for active homes. However, they’re not a good fit for homes that can’t or won’t take the time and socialization these cats require. They can become bored without proper play and exercise, which can lead to behavioral problems. Snowshoe cats can live upwards of 20 years, which is a long commitment to a high-energy cat, so take careful consideration of your time and lifestyle before bringing home one of these kitties.

Featured Image Credit: COULANGES, Shutterstock

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