Section 4 – FOREIGN – Group 1
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. The combination of blue eyes, pointed pattern and white trim makes the Snowshoe unique amongst shorthaired cats.
The origin of the Snowshoe can be traced back to the early 1960s when Dorothy Hinds Daugherty of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania found three kittens in a litter of Siamese, each with four white feet. Dorothy liked the unique combination of pointed colours and white feet and began the process to establish a breed. In developing the breed, she bred the kittens to a domestic cat with tuxedo markings and eventually developed the popular white ‘V’ facial markings.
The Snowshoe is produced in all the Siamese colours, including the tabby and tortie varieties. Snowshoe kittens are born totally white. The points colouring begins to develop in a few weeks. The tail, legs, head and ears darken as the kitten ages. The body is a lighter colour ranging from a light cream colour with the shading darkening with age. No two kittens have the same markings. The perfect pattern for a show cat is hard to achieve and, indeed, varies between different breed associations. In all colours and patterns the eye colour is a pure brilliant deep blue. The Snowshoe is a well balanced cat, neither too small nor too large; it is firm and muscular without being bulky but is deceptively powerful and agile. The body has the appearance of a runner and jumper rather than that of a weightlifter, being moderately but not extremely long and giving the body the appearance of a rectangle. The ears are medium large and continue the triangular shape of the head. The paws are oval tapering to the toes and are medium in size.
The temperament is described as ‘bombproof’ and, indeed, little seems to faze them. Snowshoes are great extroverts at shows, revelling in the attention they receive. They love interactive play with their owners, quickly learning how to play ‘fetch’ (they may even teach you how to do this!). Fishing rod toys are a great favourite too, as are climbing frames especially those that include a tunnel or hammock. They are quick, intelligent and also love human company. They also readily accept other breeds of cats, dogs and, of course, children! The ideal all-round cat. Generally a ‘talker’ with a soft, melodic voice, the Snowshoe normally fits in well in a multiple cat family but some are loners and prefer your total attention. Almost all are inquisitive and active, offering many hours of delightful entertainment and a cat’s lifetime of affectionate companionship. Most Snowshoes form a primary bond with their chosen person while still maintaining friendship with other people. They know what you are going to do long before you know it. They like to be near you but, unlike a dog, they prefer to lead you than to follow you. The resulting personality is not for every cat owner and being ‘owned’ by a Snowshoe is something you have to experience to appreciate. Once ‘owned’, you will probably never want to be without one.
The Snowshoe male is a medium-sized cat weighing approximately 9 to 12 lbs, with a heftiness that makes it seem heavier when lifted. The Snowshoe female is usually much smaller in size weighing approximately 7 to 10 lbs – but some females match the male in size but not always in heftiness. The Snowshoe has an average life expectancy of about 9 to 15 years. The Snowshoe is a shorthair cat, not to be confused with either a Birman or a Ragdoll and is not related to either of these breeds. The coat is a single layer with no evidence of an undercoat and is usually smooth to the touch. The Snowshoe does not require special grooming but will enjoy the attention that comes with it. Its shorthair coat means it is easy to groom and most Snowshoes will groom themselves unless they are not feeling well or are stressed.
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) has been reported in the breed.