The Snowshoe cat is often called the Snowshoe Siamese cat. But are Snowshoe cats really Siamese? Well, it's complicated. And, as usual, it's all about their breeding.
Snowshoe cats are related to Siamese cats as they were developed by crossing the Siamese with the American Shorthair cat.
They were first bred in the United States, and combine the stocky body shape of the American Shorthair with the longer body of the Siamese.
This makes them medium-sized (ideally, not too big and not too small!), short-haired, well-muscled, athletic cats, with medium-length legs and a body type more like the American Shorthair or Applehead than the very slim, long, modern-day Siamese.
White noses (they should have a white upside-down V-shape that extends down between the eyes and out over the nose and muzzle) and four white boots (the front ones should be more like mittens, shorter than the hind ones).
This gives their feet the appearance of having been dipped in snow – which gave rise to the 'snow shoe' Siamese name.
The cat below is Champion Snowshoe Mr. Slinky. See his white feet and the perfect inverted 'V' on the face?
Like their full-blooded cousins, they have bright blue eyes that should be walnut-shaped (rather than the Siamese almond-shape) and lively personalities.
They are intelligent, sociable cats with an extremely friendly temperament that makes them ideal as family pets, and they have softer voices than most Siamese cats (which many might consider a blessing!)
Snowshoes are recognized by the American Cat Fanciers' Association, Cat Fanciers' Federation, TICA, and the British Governing Council of the Cat Fancy.
Championship status was granted to the breed in 1990 by the ACFA.
They are produced in all the Siamese point colors, including tabby (lynx) and tortie, although not all colors are accepted by all registries for showing purposes.
The breed is not currently recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association, although efforts are being made to have the Snowshoe cat breed accepted by the CFA.
We see a lot of cats with Snowshoe markings coming through this site, and although these cats don't have the registration papers to allow them to be considered pedigree Snowshoes, they're often just as pretty!
For example, the cat above is Rocky, whose photo was sent in by one of our visitors and who has the four white feet and almost perfect white upside-down 'V' over his nose and mouth.
Doesn't he look like pedigree champion Mr. Slinky, above? And this lovely girl Tara, (below) has similar Snowshoe facial markings.
We think she's a seal tortie (or seal tortie-lynx) point because she has one dark brown, and one reddish/tan colored ear and a brown/tan-colored mottled, stripy tail.
Image with thanks to and copyright © Akyra Ingalls
Image with thanks to and copyright © Akyra Ingalls
And here's another boy, JR, who also has partial Snowshoe markings:
Because of their ancestry, Snowshoe cats are very commonly referred to as Snowshoe Siamese, but this name isn't actually right.
This is because many cat associations rule that when new breeds are accepted, they must have a breed name that is unique to them, and quite different to other already registered breeds.
So, in order for the Snowshoe to be accepted as a breed in its own right, it couldn't be called the Snowshoe Siamese because there was already a Siamese breed.
So the correct name is just Snowshoe.
When this type of cat was first bred in the 1950s, it went by the name of 'Silver Laces'. If that name had been kept, it might have saved a lot of confusion!
If you have a Snowshoe and you'd like to find out more about this rare, funny, intelligent breed, you may enjoy the Snowshoe Cats Owner's Manual by Harvey Hendisson, available on Amazon.
Discover more about Snowshoes from our visitors, in their stories below.
Our Snowshoe Family
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Snow, The Snowshoe
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My Siamese Snowshoe, Dawber
I told my roommates I was leaning strongly toward getting a kitten. After some discussion, I said I would get anything female, and NOT a Siamese. So …
We Found a Siamese Mix
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What Type and Color of Siamese Cat Do I Have?
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