The Snowshoe cat was bred in Philadelphia by Dorothy Hinds Daughery in 1960. After finding three Siamese kittens with white feet Dorothy tried to selectively breed the colour variation into the Siamese. Unfortunately she was unsuccessful and eventually crossed the Siamese with a bi-colour American Shorthair; this gained the pointed colouration with the white contrast.
This was not a new idea, in the 1950’s a white footed Siamese was unsuccessfully bred and marketed under the name Silver Laces but quickly disappeared into non-existence and the Snowshoe was experiencing the same problems and destined to fade out. Dorothy has already quit breeding due to the frustration of trying to gain recognition of the breed but breeding continued with Vikki Olander of Virginia.
Vikki wrote a breed standard and in 1974 obtained experimental status with the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) and American Cat Association (ACA). Unfortunately by 1977 she was the only breeder left and it was feared the Snowshoe would fade into oblivion. It wasn’t until the intervention of Jim Hoffman of Ohio and Georgia Kuhnell of Cincinnati that the breed really took off. These two people were instrumental in saving the Snowshoe from oblivion and, as described by the ACA, started “a tiny Snowshoe snowball rolling”.
Ultimately the persistence throughout the breeds history paid off with the CFF granting championship status in 1982, the ACFA championship status in 1990 and The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1993. While most cat associations in the United States recognise the Snowshoe.
Snowshoes are well known as social, affectionate and intelligent cats. They are often described as being the perfect combination of the placid American Shorthair and the lively and vocal Siamese, producing an active cat without being high strung.
It is often said that they are almost too intelligent, learning to open doors and cabinets. They take after the Siamese in their love of carrying things and retrieving objects thrown for them. They also have a fascination for water, particularly running water.
Snowshoes are extremely people orientated and can often be found underfoot.While they aren’t as vocal as the Siamese their voices are generally more melodic and quieter than the Siamese.
The snowshoe will live between 10-14 years and does not have any major inherited health traits but general good health practices should be followed to ensure a happy and healthy cat.