The Snowshoe cat is a captivating breed that combines the elegance of a Siamese cat with the enchanting markings of a Snowshoe hare. Their most distinctive feature is their contrasting coat, which showcases dark points similar to the Siamese breed, paired with delightful white “snowshoes” on their paws. This delightful combination creates an eye-catching aesthetic that is truly a sight to behold. This post is all about are Snowshoe cats really rare?
In this post you’ll learn:
- Are Snowshoe cats rare?
- Origins & history of Snowshoe cats
- Anatomy of a Snowshoe Cat
Are Snowshoe Cats Rare?
Now, let’s tackle the question that brought us here: are Snowshoe cats rare? The answer is yes! Snowshoe cats are not as widely known or recognized as some other popular breeds, however they are certainly not as elusive as a legendary unicorn. They do possess a high level of rarity that adds to their allure, making them a coveted find for dedicated cat enthusiasts.
RELEVANT: Siamese Cats VS Snowshoe Cats Guide
Origins and History
The Snowshoe cat breed originated in the 1960s, thanks to the efforts of a passionate feline aficionado named Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty. Inspired by the striking appearance of her Siamese and bicolor American Shorthair cats, she embarked on a mission to create a breed that combined their best traits. Through selective breeding, she successfully developed the Snowshoe cat, and the breed gained recognition from various cat associations in the 1980s.
The Journey of the Snowshoe Cat
- In the 1960s, a Siamese cat owned by breeder Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, gave birth to a litter of Siamese kittens. Among them were three kittens with unique white points and feet.
- Intrigued by the unique markings of these kittens, Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty began working to breed cats with similar characteristics. She used seal point Siamese cats and bicolor American Shorthairs in her breeding program.
- The offspring of these cats lacked the Siamese points, but Hinds-Daugherty continued the breeding process, eventually achieving the desired look.
- She named this new breed “Snowshoe” because of their distinctive white feet.
- Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty showcased the Snowshoe at local cat shows, even though they were not officially recognized as a breed at the time.
- Eventually, Hinds-Daugherty decided to discontinue the Snowshoe breeding program, and the responsibility of preserving the breed fell to Vikki Olander.
- Vikki Olander took over the Snowshoe breeding program and wrote the first breed standard for the Snowshoe.
- Olander successfully obtained the “experimental breed” status for the Snowshoe from both the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) and the American Cat Association (ACA) in 1974.
- By 1977, Vikki Olander became the last remaining breeder of Snowshoe cats in the United States. The breed faced the risk of fading away.
- Jim Hoffman and Georgia Kuhnell expressed interest in the Snowshoe breed and reached out to Vikki Olander.
- With the support of other breeders who joined their cause, they managed to revive the Snowshoe breed.
- In 1983, the Snowshoe attained champion status from the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF).
- Vikki Olander had to leave the Snowshoe breeding program as her fiancé developed allergies to cats. However, by this time, the Snowshoe had garnered a strong following.
- In 1990, the Snowshoe cat breed attained champion status with the American Cat Fanciers Association, further solidifying its recognition in the cat breeding community.
- The International Cat Association (TICA) officially recognized the Snowshoe breed in 1993, further enhancing its standing in the world of cat breeds.
- Currently, breeders continue their efforts to attain acceptance for the Snowshoe breed with the prestigious Cat Fanciers Association (CFA). However, they face challenges due to the limited number of Snowshoe cats and breeders available, which is a requirement for the association’s recognition.
Overall, the Snowshoe cat has come a long way from its humble beginnings as an intriguing litter in the 1960s to becoming a recognized and cherished breed in the cat-loving community worldwide. It has earned recognition from various cat fancier associations, securing its place as a beloved and unique feline companion.
Snowshoe Cat Anatomy
The table summarizes the characteristics of the Snowshoe cat, a medium-large breed known for its unique coat patterns and charming personality.
These cats have medium to medium-large ears with slightly rounded tips, and their short-haired coat features solid and white patterns.
They come in various point colors and are recognized for their affectionate, social, and intelligent nature. Snowshoe cats are known to be devoted to their owners and enjoy human companionship, making them excellent pets for families and those with other pets.
|8 months old (female kitten)
|Medium-large cat, longer length-wise than many cats, with some males reaching 14 lbs or more.
|– Medium to medium-large ears with slightly rounded tips.
|– Triangular head or “applehead” shape with a traditional cat look.
|– Short-haired coat with solid and white patterns.
|– Solid black-based colors on points (ears, tail, face-mask, and sometimes legs).
|– White patterns along the face, chest, stomach, and paws.
|– Even coloration on the body with subtle shading to point color on back, shoulders, and hips; toning to a lighter shade near chest and stomach.
|– Paw pads may be white, point color, flesh tone, or mottled.
|– Eyes are always blue in purebreds.
|– Medium-sized tail.
|– Recognized point coloration with a light body color and darker ears, face, legs, and tail.
|– Colors recognized by different associations include seal, blue, black, chocolate, red, cream, cinnamon, and fawn points, as well as tortoiseshell and tabby.
|Medium to short, bright, and smooth with no noticeable undercoat.
|Seasonal changes, minimal grooming required.
|– Affectionate, sweet-tempered, and mellow.
|– Enjoy human company and attention; compatible with children and other pets.
|– Social, docile, and devoted to their owners; dislike being left alone for long periods.
|– Express themselves vocally but with softer meows compared to Siamese cats.
|– Often have a worried or concerned expression on their faces.
|– Intelligent, capable of learning tricks and even opening doors.
|– May enjoy water, including swimming occasionally.
|– Active but not restless, have a fondness for perching in high places.
Please note that some features may vary from cat to cat, as individual Snowshoes can have unique patterns and personalities.
Popularity and Availability
While Snowshoe cats may not be as prevalent as some more mainstream breeds, their popularity has been steadily increasing over the years. They have become more accessible through reputable breeders, adoption centers, and rescue organizations. A passionate community of Snowshoe cat enthusiasts has also formed, contributing to their rising visibility. As the breed gains attention, more people are discovering the joy of living with these delightful feline companions.
FAQs About Snowshoe Cats
What is the temperament of Snowshoe cats?
Snowshoe cats are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They are often described as intelligent, social, and outgoing, making them wonderful companions for families and individuals alike.
Do Snowshoe cats require special care?
Snowshoe cats have short, low-maintenance coats, requiring only regular grooming to keep them looking their best. They enjoy interactive playtime and benefit from mental stimulation, so providing toys and engaging activities is recommended.
Are Snowshoe cats suitable for apartments?
Absolutely! Snowshoe cats adapt well to apartment living. However, they thrive on social interaction, so dedicating time for play and mental stimulation is crucial, regardless of living space.
Can Snowshoe cats live with other pets?
Snowshoe cats generally get along well with other pets, including dogs and other cats. Proper introductions and gradual acclimation are key to ensuring a harmonious environment.
While Snowshoe cats possess a touch of rarity, their captivating looks and endearing personalities make them a truly wonderful addition to any feline-loving family. The growing popularity and availability of this enchanting breed ensure that more people can experience the joy of sharing their lives with these snowy marvels. So, embrace the magic and consider welcoming a Snowshoe cat into your home—you won’t be disappointed!
Remember, when it comes to Snowshoe cats, rarity only enhances their charm. Let’s celebrate these unique feline wonders and revel in the delight they bring to our lives.