The Snowshoe Cat Breed: Why Are They So Rare?
The term Snowshoe
may well be mentioned or heard of many times, but little might one suspect that this is actually a rare and elusive Cat breed, due to various complications in achieving breed standards— outcomes were usually too unpredictable. This was also one of the reasons why it was such a struggle to sustain this breed!
The Snowshoe Cat
Originating from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the 1960’s when a Siamese Cat produced 3 kittens with White feet. Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty was the breeder of said Siamese Cat, and she began a breeding program, initially dubbing these White-feet Cats, Silver Laces. The process involved breeding oddly marked Siamese Cats with American Shorthair Cats and other breeds. She then named the breed Snowshoe— for their White feet. The occurrence of the right markings was extremely rare, and Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty eventually left the breeding program, which was then picked up by Vikki Olander, helping the Snowshoe breed earn “Experimental Breed” status with the CFF (Cat Fanciers Federation) and ACA (American Cat Association) in 1974.
When it came to 1977, Vikki Olander was the only remaining Snowshoe breeder in America, she was shortly joined by Georgia Kuhnell
, Jim Hoffman
and other breeders, and eventually led the breed to obtain “Champion” status in 1983 with CFF
. In 1989, Vikki Olander left the breeding program due to her fiancé’s Cat allergy— the Snowshoe breed had already garnered a substantial amount of fanciers and also obtained “Champion” status with ACFA
(American Cat Fanciers’ Association
) in 1990, and TICA
(The International Cat Association
) in 1993.
Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, a Snowshoe breeding program began in 1986. Maureen Shackell
was the only breeder left in the UK by 1998 when Mollie Southall
joined— they only had 5 Snowshoe cats to sustain the breed. Mollie Southall’s senior male Snowshoe was an import from Germany, introducing new bloodlines to the breed. By 2006, Kelly Cruse
joined and begun the introduction of new patterns and colours to the Snowshoe breed. In 2016, Championship status was officially achieved with the GCCF
(Governing Council of the Cat Fancy
)— the largest Cat registry in the UK.
Appearance Of A Snowshoe Cat
The Snowshoe is a medium sized Cat with the robust body of an American Shorthair, and the lengthiness of a Siamese. Short, silky coats have colour-point markings of Solid and White. Darker markings on the face (mask), tails, ears and occasionally legs, while whiter parts occur on chest, face, stomach and the most distinguished portion— their paws. Colours include Lilac, Fawn, Chocolate, Blue, and Seal points.
Fun Fact #1 Snowshoe kittens are mostly born White, only developing dark markings as they age! Pure-bred Snowshoes usually have Blue eyes.
Grooming Requirements Of The Snowshoe Cat
Single coat of short and smooth hairs makes grooming the Snowshoe Cat very minimal. Just be sure to trim their nails when they’re too long, clean out their ears with a Vet-approved cleanser (or natural White vinegar) and cotton ball. Practice good oral hygiene by brushing their teeth with a Vet-approved toothpaste. Bathing is not frequently necessary, unless they start to feel a tad dirty. If you are unsure how to perform these tasks, approach your trusted Groomer or Veterinarian for professional advice and demonstration!
Personality Of The Snowshoe Cat
A Snowshoe Cat isn’t just rare for show, they are accompanied by a sweet nature and a keen interest in human companionship. Friendly and intelligent, they are able to get along with children and other pets in the house. However, they do not take too well being neglected for long periods of time, be sure to keep them entertained with the company of another Cat or Pet, especially if your home is often void of humans during the day (for working folks).
As inquisitive and affectionate as Snowshoes are, you’d be glad to know that they can be trained to perform tricks such as fetch, and return you the right amount of love and respect as you shared. Snowshoes are also known for their love for water and high places. With proper care, the average lifespan of a Snowshoe is 14 to 19 years.
Fun Fact #2 Internet-meme celebrity Grumpy Cat, best known for her eternal frown and serious looking face, is a mix of the Snowshoe breed!
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The Ragdoll Cat: Why Are They Called Ragdolls?
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How To Tell If Your Cat Is Sick or Sad
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