The Snowshoe Cat
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The Snowshoe Cat

The Snowshoe is a breed of cat still classified as a rare breed that originated in the US in the 1960s. Their appearance was first noted in Philadelphia when a Siamese breeder’s cat gave birth to kittens that had the Siamese point coat but white feet. They remain rare due to the difficulty in achieving the markings required to qualify for the breed.

History

The first three Snowshoe kittens appeared in a litter of a cat owned by Siamese breeder Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty. Curious about their unique markings, she began to work to breed more of the same, using seal point Siamese cats and bicolor American Shorthairs. These offspring lacked the pointed markings but when breed back with Siamese, the white feet re-emerged. She named them Snowshoes and began to promote them at local cat shows.

The work was taken up by Vikki Olander who wrote the first breed standard and obtained the status of ‘experimental breed’ from both the Cat Fanciers Federation and the American Cat Association in 1974. However, by 1977, she was the only breeder of the cats in the US. Finally, interest came from breeders Jim Hoffman and Georgia Kuhnell and along with others afterwards, by 1983, the breed had reached champion status. This followed with the same status from the ACFA in 1990 and from TICA in 1993.

In the UK, a breeding program was started in 1986 but again suffered the same difficulties with a single breeder remaining by 1998. Mollie Southall joined the program at that point and she imported a cat from Germany to add new blood. In 2006, Kelly Cruse of Destrier Cats became involved, looking to introduce new colors and patterns to the breed and soon bred the first Apricot Snowshoe. Full breed status was gained from the GCCF in 2013 and there is now two dedicated Snowshoe clubs in the county.

Description

Snowshoes have a medium or short length coat that has no noticeable undercoat and is smooth in texture, meaning it requires little grooming. Different registries now accept different coat colors with the ACFA and AACE accepting seal and blue point colorations while the FIFe accept seal, black, blue, red, cream, fawn and chocolate as well as tortoiseshell, tabby and combinations of the two in the points. TICA accept all colors.

Each Snowshoe has white markings that are individual to that cat and begin to occur when they are 1-3 weeks old. Eyes are always blue in purebreds and they are medium to large sized cats with a solid bone structure.

Personality

Breeders describe these cats are sweet tempered and affectionate, mellow even. They like to be with people and live happily with children and other animals due to their sociable and docile nature. They are also very loving with their owners but this means they don’t do well when left alone for long periods of time. They are quite vocal, though not as much as the Siamese and are adept at learning tricks such as opening doors or fetching a toy.


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