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Snowshoe Cats
Genetics

Basic Snowshoe Genetics

The basic genetic makeup of a homozygous Snowshoe cat is: a/a (non-agouti), B/B (black), cs/cs (pointed), L/L (short hair), S/s (the heterozygous form of the white spotting factor), with variant pigmentation factors (D/D (dense pigmentation) or d/d (maltesed pigmentation)) depending upon the desired point colors.

The variant pigmentation factors will produce the following colors/patterns:

B/B, D/D, S/s - Seal point mitted or bicolour pattern

B/B, d/d, S/s - Blue point mitted or bicolour pattern

B/B, D/d, S/s - Seal point mitted or bicolour pattern carrying the recessive maltesing gene

In order to produce additional dilute colors, the following basic factors must be introduced:

b/b, D/D, S/s - Chocolate point mitted or bicolour

bl/bl, D/D, S/s - Cinnamon point mitted or bicolour

b/b, d/d, S/s - Frost (Lilac) point mitted or bicolour

b1/b1, d/d, S/s - Fawn point mitted or bicolour

The dominant gene of the white spotting factor (S/S) produces more white than is desirable (more than two thirds white). This much white would affect the appearance of the Snowshoe which is a result of the contrast between the dark points and the white spotting pattern.

The mitted pattern is generally limited to paws, belly, chin, and chest with no white facial pattern, however, small mustache(s)' may be within the mitted limits. The white pattern areas are limited to one third of the cats coloring.

The bicolour pattern includes the same pattern areas as the mitted and generally features a facial pattern which may be in the shape of an inverted 'V', blaze, partial 'V' or large 'mustache(s)' or any other unique combination of pattern and mask. The white pattern areas generally exceed one third of the cats coloring and is generally limited to two thirds of the cats coloring.

The heterozygous form (S/s) of the white spotting factor produces both mitted and bicolour patterns. What divides the two patterns, is the propensity of the white spotting factor for producing either mitted or bicolour patterns. In attempting to produce the perfect' pattern which results in a facial pattern, the spotting factor must have the basic
bicolour propensity. This propensity is what makes it so difficult to produce the perfect' pattern desired by many Snowshoe lovers. The bicolour pattern covers from one third (1/3) to two thirds (2/3) of the cats body. This means that in order to get a perfect pattern, it is necessary to introduce the propensity for a bicolour pattern, and in doing so, the propensity for increased white on the legs and body increases as well.

The majority of the breeders in The International Cat Association (TICA) voted to accept standards which favor Type' over pattern and permits TICA breeders to show all Snowshoe cats with patterns within the TICA mitted and bicolour definitions.

The white spotting factor is sometimes masked entirely producing a cat with no white. Although masked, generally the white spotting factor is still present. Snowshoes with no white may not be shown in any association, but may be registered as Snowshoes and may be used in a breeding program. If used in a breeding program, they will probably be bred to another Snowshoe with the bicolour propensity in order to produce mitted or bicoloured cats.

Established - 2001 - Last update - 26 July 2001