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The Snowshoe Cat

by Hellen Pounds

Origin/History

The Snowshoe is a hybrid cat originating as a variant from Siamese parents. The origin of the Snowshoe can be traced back to 1960 when Dorothy Hinds Daugherty, Kensing Cattery, Philadelphia, PA found three kittens in a litter of Siamese, each with four white feet. Although the variant did not re-occur, Dorothy liked the contrast between the point color and the stark white of the feet and developed the first Snowshoe line by crossing her Siamese with a bicolor American Shorthair. Continued breeding eventually produced the popular 'V' face of the current Snowshoe in addition to the mitted variety.

The American Cat Association (ACA) accepted the Snowshoe for registration in 1974. At about the same time, Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) recognized the Snowshoe as an experimental breed. Between 1960 and 1977, interest in the breed had lagged, and in 1977, when Jim Hoffman and Georgia Kuhnell wrote to CFF for information on the breed, CFF referred them to Vikki Olander who was the only breeder of Snowshoes registered with CFF. Since then, interest in the breed has continued to grow. CFF advanced the Snowshoe to Championship status at their semi-annual meeting in September 1982. The American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA) both recognize the Snowshoes as champions. Maia Sorenson, who helped establish the breed in CFF, ACFA and TICA is working with the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) to get the Snowshoe recognized by them as well.

Personality As with all cats, their individual personalities vary, however, overall the Snowshoe is a friendly cat that manages to retain the astute \ intelligence along with just a touch of the mystic aloofness provided by their Oriental ancestors. The Snowshoe is generally a 'talker', with a soft, melodic voice and habitats well in a multiple cat family. An inquisitive and active cat, the Snowshoe offers many hours of delightful entertainment and a cats lifetime of affectionate companionship.

Conformation The Snowshoe is a medium sized cat that combines some of the heftiness of it's American Shorthair ancestors with the length and suppleness of it's oriental ancestors. It is a well balanced cat, neither too small nor too large; it is firm, muscular without being bulky and deceptively powerful and agile. A long cat, it has the appearance of a runner and jumper rather than that of a weight lifter.

The body is muscular, but not excessively so and should never appear 'cobby'.. Males are medium to medium large in size. Females are small to medium.

The head is a modified triangle, nearly equilateral in shape. The nose may appear to be considerably longer than it actually is due to variations of the inverted V' pattern. Older males may have a more rounded appearance due to stud jowls'.

The Snowshoes ears are medium to large and pointed conveying an appearance of continuous alertness. The ears of older males may appear to be smaller because of their 'stud jowl' appearance.

The eyes are large and oval in shape when relaxed, but appear to be more of a 'walnut' shape when the cat is fully alert and especially so when the cat is startled.

The tail is medium in length, corresponding to the size of the body. The legs are medium to medium long in length. Paws are round in appearance with oval tips and are medium in size.

Color TICA standards which became effective 1 May 1994 includes all solid eumalanistic (black based) colors in the particolor pointed division. The two predominate colors are Seal Point and White and Blue Point and White. ACFA and CFF standards remain limited to Seal and Blue colors only.

Eye Color Eye color is blue. The shade of blue varies with individual cats and with the point color, however the preferred shade is a bright sparkling blue.

Key Pattern Characteristics The combination of points and white pattern on the feet, which resulted in the name of Snowshoe, easily distinguishes it from it's oriental ancestors.

Introduction of the American Shorthair ancestors added bicolor patterns to this already unique look resulting in a variety of unique leg and facial patterns for an eye catching look.

The strict pattern restrictions which are required by CFF and ACFA have been removed from the TICA standards. TICA permits all patterns within the bicolor and mitted limits as described by TICA color standards. Patterns may vary depending upon the variant white spotting factors, but only Snowshoes with white 'shoes' are permitted to show, even in TICA. Patterns usually range from a mitted cat with normal points on legs and face to a variety of facial and leg patterns including the popular inverted 'V' pattern, a blaze, broken blaze or mustache. While not preferred, point color is accepted in the white areas in all of the associations..

Paw pads may be point color or pink or a mottle' of point and pink.. The facial mask colors may be point color or a combination of white and point color. Feet, leg and body patterns may be a variety of unique combinations of white and point colors. Whatever the pattern, the striking look is most appealing. The nose pad may be either point color or pink, or a combination of point color and pink. The point colors create a mask over the face (except in the white areas and is connected to the ears by tracings.

Facial white may extend downward from the chin in a white bib which can also extend the length of the stomach in a narrow white band. The throat area normally shows a wider band of white than that of the stomach area.

The ears should be covered entirely by point colors with no white, although the relaxed pattern standards of TICA do not restrict white within point or body colors as severely as ACFA and CFF.

Body color is a lighter shade than points with shading darkening as the cat ages. Kittens are born totally white with the point coloring beginning to develop in a few weeks. Young kittens may appear to have banded tails or legs which should darken and blend with the point color as the kitten ages.

The Snowshoe Breed Club P. O. Box 3021 Slidell LA 70459-3021

e-mail: hellenlbs@netscape.net