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7 Interesting Facts About Snowshoe Cats


Written by Wag! Staff

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 08/23/2023, edited: 08/28/2023

What is a Snowshoe cat? You may have been unlucky and never even seen one of these cheeky felines before – if that’s true, we’re about to change your life.

To say that it’s a cat with white paws would be true, but it wouldn’t do justice to this special breed. Snowshoe cats are rare – one of the rarest breeds around – and even came close to going extinct, as we’ll explain later. They are defined, of course, by their remarkable white feet, which look as though they are wearing the eponymous snowshoes. 

An unusually intelligent cat that doesn’t like to be left alone if it can help it, the Snowshoe - originally called Silver Laces - is a relatively late addition to the cat world. But what a welcome one it is: this is a breed that would be a joy in any house, playing well with children and other pets and curling up in your lap for cuddles.

Snowshoe cats were a wonderful accident

Unlike plenty of breeds, Snowshoe cats weren’t engineered deliberately. The story goes that in 1960s Philadelphia, breeder Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty found three distinctive Siamese kittens in an otherwise normal litter. 

These kittens had white feet and points, and Hinds-Daugherty was obsessed with the beautiful accidents. Though she tried producing the same type of cat by breeding Siamese cats with bicolor American Shorthairs, it was only by breeding these babies with other Siamese cats that Hinds-Daugherty produced the Snowshoes again (being a recessive trait, the white shoes are tricky to engineer.) When she stopped, it was up to another breeder, Vicki Olander, to take on the Snowshoe baton. The next decade saw a flurry of breeders realize how gorgeous the cat was, and the Snowshoe cat breed advanced in number and popularity.

Snowshoe cats are born white

The range of Snowshoe cat colors is immense: cinnamon; fawn; chocolate; blue; cream; you name it. But, although a Snowshoe may be, for example, brown in adulthood, it will have been born all-white, gradually acquiring its hue over a few weeks. When a Snowshoe kitten is born, therefore, you won’t necessarily have any idea whatsoever what color it will end up being when it’s fully grown.

Snowshoe cats like water

Cats aren’t typically famous for liking water, as you’ll know if you’ve ever accidentally flicked some on your cat’s head while washing your hands. Snowshoe cats are the opposite , however, and love to frolic around in the wet stuff to their heart’s content. Don’t assume that your cat will love a bucket of water poured over its head, but don’t be surprised to see it taking a little paddle in a puddle now and again.

Snowshoe cats like to use their loud voices

Because they have Siamese DNA in them, Snowshoes are vocal pets who love to tell everyone what they think of the world. They may not be as loud as Siamese cats, but they can meow for their dinner and wouldn’t necessarily be the best choice for anyone looking for some peace and quiet. One thing that might keep them from meowing too loudly is feeding them good-quality cat food. Our friends over at Cat Food Advisor will be able to help you in that department, and they’re committed to keeping your cat happy and quiet for at least a few minutes every day.

Snowshoe cats always have blue eyes

There are a few guarantees you’ll get with a Snowshoe, one of which is that their eyes will be the most beautiful ocean-blue color. This is just one of the many beautiful Snowshoe cat characteristics you’ll come to love: however old it is, wherever it’s from, the cat will look up at you with big blue irises. In the world of cats, blue eyes are relatively unusual. And it’s just like the Snowshoe to be a little bit different.

Snowshoe cats can be taught to fetch

Even among intelligent cats, the Snowshoe is one clever kitty. It has brains galore and the ability to learn commands, rather like a dog. You can train it to walk on a leash and to fetch a ball and bring it back to you. In fact, apart from barking, anything a dog can do, the Snowshoe can probably do too.

Snowshoe cats nearly went extinct

History could have been very different. Keen cat breeder Vicki Olander was instrumental in keeping the Snowshoe dream alive, but by the late 1970s she was the only person in the United States doing the work and the breed was nearly extinct - not for the last time.

Fortunately, Snowshoes were too adorable not to be championed and the 1980s saw a kind of rescue operation take hold. And, though there were only an alleged six Snowshoes in the world at one point in the 1990s, the breed was recognized by the International Cat Association in 1993, improving its fortunes.

However, this is still an extremely rare breed, and some say that it is all but extinct even now. It is clearly of the utmost importance, therefore, that the Snowshoes that do exist are protected.

In order to help your Snowshoe cat to live a lovely, long, healthy life, do make sure you take out pet insurance . You can compare plans from leading pet insurance providers using our online tool – and it takes just seconds to view a range of quotes. You can also consider an annual wellness plan, to cover routine vet appointments and vaccinations.

These cats are too lovely not to be taken care of.

Comments (19)



Yes we have a snowshoe cat named Frizt and he is a very pretty cat. When someone comes to our house they always comment on how beautiful he is. We actually got him for free from friends giving away kittens.
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I have a cat similar to these shown so is she indeed a Snowshoe cat?
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