Snowshoe cats are a beautiful but rare breed found primarily in the United States. They were first developed in the Eastern US in the 1960s.
It is uncommon to see a Snowshoe kitty even though they have been around for half a century. The reason for this is because their unusual coat pattern is difficult to reproduce. These felines are most noted for their pure white paws. This characteristic is how they got their rather cute name.Credit: Public Domain http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Snowshoe_mocha.jpg
The History and Characteristics of Snowshoe Cats
Snowshoe cats were not initially developed deliberately. You could say this breed was created by accident. A Siamese mother gave birth to a litter of kittens who had pure white paws. It was quite a remarkable and uncommon feature. You don't normally see a Siamese with paws of that color.
The owner decided to breed the white pawed felines with shorthair cats to see if the characteristic could be replicated. She had mixed results at first. Although kittens where born with the white paws, they did not necessarily have the color points she was looking for.
So she decided to try breeding with a Siamese. This gave them the distinctive dark color points. However, even breeding exclusively with Siamese did not always turn out as she desired. To this day it remains difficult to produce cats who will have the distinct patterns that are unique to the Snowshoe.
Their heritage is the reason why the Snowshoe strongly resembles a Siamese, but with the distinctive white paws. These kitties also have white chests, with lighter shades of brown on the body and much darker coloration on the face, ears, legs and tail. As the pet gets older the brown shades get darker and often resembles a chocolate color.
Another common feature is the V shape seen on the pet's face. It extends from the mouth to above the eyes. It is often pure white, but may have small patches of other colors.
Their blue eyes are absolutely beautiful, and I think are one of their most striking features. They are lovely felines and very nice pets to have in the home.
One of the things that is interesting about the Snowshoe is the kittens are born all white. The colors start to appear at about three or four weeks of age. It takes several weeks before a determination can be made about the color points and markings.
This Snowshoe Cat and Pit Bull are Best Buddies
So what can you expect if you adopt a Snowshoe cat? Well for one thing you will have a very lovable, people oriented pet. In fact they thrive on human companionship and attention.
This is not an animal that can be left alone for long hours at a time. Some breeds of cats tend to be loners and are fine in solitude. However this is not the case with a Snowshoe.
The pet will develop separation anxiety if she's by herself for an extended period of time, similar to a dog. So if you live alone and are gone all day, a Snowshoe is probably not the best choice for adoption.
This breed has a very sweet disposition and is friendly towards other cats and even dogs. Having another pet in the house helps to relieve anxiety when no humans are home. Two Snowshoe kitties living together will be almost inseparable. This is assuming, of course, that you could even find two of this breed. However Snowshoe kitties will also get attached to other types of cats.
On the positive side, if you would like an affectionate pet who will quickly bond with you, the Snowshoe will not disappoint. They love being with children too.
These fellines have a normal activity level. They are not lazy, but won't drive you crazy with over activity either. For this reason a Snowshoe is also an appropriate pet for a senior.
Obesity is seldom a problem with this particular breed. This is important, because obesity in an animal has the same health risks as with people.
Snowshoe felines do not have any serious health issues and generally live the average life span of a typical cat. Credit: Public Domain http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SnowshoeFace.jpgA Snowshoe kitty is often vocal. However, their meowing is not as loud or annoying (to some people) as what you could expect with a Siamese pet. The meowing is seldom excessive and should not become a major problem for those who own these pets.
They are not particularly curious about the outside world. For this reason they do well as a house bound pet. I personally believe felines are better off indoors anyway, as there are too many dangers in letting them wander outside. A Snowshoe is suitable for apartment or condo living.
Caring for a Snowshoe Cat
These cats do not need a lot of grooming. The short hair and lack of a heavy undercoat means there will usually be little shedding.
However, every cat benefits from occasional brushing. Once a week is sufficient. Cats generally loved to be brushed too.
Snowshoe kitties actually like water and can be bathed, in addition to having their coat brushed once in awhile. Bathing a cat will keep the coat soft and reduce dander. Anyone who has allergies to felines will find it easier to be around one who is bathed on a regular basis.
Felines need a lot of meat. Any food that is fed to a Snowshoe should have meat or fish as the first ingredient. The best cat foods do not contain artificial ingredients or fillers. A good thing to keep in mind is if you cannot pronounce an ingredient on a label, it's probably not the best thing for a kitty to be digesting.
They have an average energy level. A few toys for stimulation, exercise and fun are about all the cat needs. More than anything he or she will love having people around.
A Snowshoe cat can live for many years with good care. Cats are living a lot longer today due to much better health care and nutritious, healthy diets. It used to be very rare for a feline to live for twenty years, but it is not that uncommon today.