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Snowshoe Cat Breed Profile

Est. read time: 8 min.

The Snowshoe cat is a gorgeous cross between a Siamese and American Shorthair, which produced an outgoing and loving breed known for their unique paws. The name “Snowshoe cat” comes from the breed’s distinct four white paws that stand out against the rest of their coat. This cat is almost a perfect blend of their two parents in both personality and looks.

Snowshoe cats are known for being very family-oriented. They seek out time with their family members and can get lonely quite easily. They have a beautiful colorpoint coat that comes in a variety of colors, thanks to the American Shorthair genes. 

If you’re looking for a friendly cat that wants to spend time with you and become your best friend, the Snowshoe might be the feline you’ve been searching for. Keep reading to learn more about what life is like with the Snowshoe cat. 

Snowshoe cat a glance
Personality Loving, outgoing, vocal
Life expectancy 14-18 years
Weight 7-12 lbs
Coat & colors Short; colorpoint
Energy level High
Affection level High
Friendliness High
Shedding level Medium
Required grooming Low

Overview of the Snowshoe cat

Snowshoe cat

The Snowshoe is a medium-sized cat that is almost dog-like in behavior. People-oriented and friendly, these cats make for lovely family pets that fit in with everyone, even other animals.

Anyone who meets a Snowshoe cat is bound to point out their unique paws and coloring, but as soon as they get to know them, it becomes obvious that there are many reasons why someone would want this cat in their family. 


Male Snowshoe cats are typically larger than female Snowshoes, but this is also dependent on exercise and diet. In general, Snowshoes weigh between 7 and 12 pounds.

With genes from the Siamese, Snowshoe cats are long. But the American Shorthair in them makes them a bit heftier, helping to round them out. 


Like the Siamese cat, Snowshoes are quite lengthy. Some can reach up to 30 inches long, which is almost twice the average domestic cat. Matched with their round and robust bodies, this makes for a seemingly large cat. However, the Snowshoe’s overall weight keeps them in the medium-sized range.


The short, plushy coat of the Snowshoe is what really catches the eye. While their colorpoint coat is reminiscent of the Siamese cat, there are a variety of colors that they can display as a result of the American Shorthair cat that helped create them.

Typically, the Snowshoe cat will come in shades like chocolate, fawn, and blue, but other colors like black, orange, and lilac are possible. All Snowshoe cats have white paws, but how far the white extends up their legs can vary. While some white paws might more closely resemble clogs, other Snowshoes look like they are wearing itty-bitty booties. 

Life expectancy

The Snowshoe cat is an overall healthy breed. They are known for their longevity, especially when they receive the best care possible.

These cats can live between 14 and 18 years; if you adopt one as a kitten, they will be a part of some of the most crucial points in your life. What an amazing opportunity to bond!

History of the Snowshoe cat

Snowshoe cat with white paw outstretched

The Snowshoe cat is considered a newer breed, having been developed in the 1960s. Siamese cat breeder Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty noticed that a few kittens in one of her cat’s litters had four white paws. She was completely enamored with them (of course!), which led to her breeding American Shorthairs with tuxedo markings with these white-pawed kittens. 

The breed grew in popularity fast due to this cat's unique markings. Who doesn't love an animal that looks like they’re wearing little socks? By the 1980s, the breed was recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association. Though the Snowshoe cat is still considered somewhat rare, they are sought after by many cat lovers. 

Snowshoe cats in the public eye

Now, you might be thinking: Why does this cat seem so familiar to me? That could be because there was a rise in public interest when the late Grumpy Cat came into the spotlight.

This kitty quickly became a celebrity due to the very distinct grumpy look on her face. She happened to be a Snowshoe cross whose beloved facial features were a result of dwarfism (and were not related to the Snowshoe breed itself). However, those four white paws were noticeable and loved! 

Characteristics of the Snowshoe cat 

The Snowshoe cat is a medium breed with a soft and round appearance. Unlike the Siamese, their bodies tend to be filled out, though they’re known to be quite lengthy.

They have colorpoint coats, with darker points at the ears, tails, legs, and forehead, and white coloring on the chest, paws, and around the nose and mouth. All Snowshoe cats should have an upside-down “V” that arches over their nose, almost giving them the appearance of wearing a mask. 

A Snowshoe's eyes will always be a shade of blue, and their paws will be white. Snowshoe cats are always born completely white, and their coloring darkens over time. As a Snowshoe cat ages, they continue to get darker and darker, so coat color changes should come as no surprise. 

Personality and behavior

Snowshoe cat

The Snowshoe cat is known to be remarkably amiable and loving. They prefer to spend time with their humans and can get very lonely if left alone for too long. These cats are loyal and devoted cats to their humans, thriving in family settings. Like the Siamese, they are a very vocal breed that will have a stern conversation with you all day long if you let them.

Some Snowshoes are very motivated to learn new tricks in order to impress their humans. Because they get along well with so many different types of animals and people, they thrive in a multi-pet household where they can have a few companions. Some Snowshoes take on the role of protector, becoming even more devoted to their humans and unwilling to leave their side.  

Snowshoe cats are playful and have bursts of energy that usually end up with them climbing to the highest points in your house. Investing in cat trees and shelves can help avoid your Snowshoe cat inevitably launching themselves onto your fireplace mantle, knocking off all your framed pictures and knick-knacks in the process. 

The Snowshoe is highly intelligent, so having plenty of mental enrichment toys available for your cat is essential.

Caring for a Snowshoe cat

Snowshoe cat

Snowshoe cats are regarded as healthy pets that are adept at caring for themselves. While they rely on their humans for the basics and for love, they can be quite independent and strong-willed cats.

Be sure to take your Snowshoe cat to the vet at least annually. This should keep you updated on their health. And of course, if you notice any changes in their behavior, always give your vet a call.


Snowshoe cats are short-coated without an undercoat, so shedding isn’t too much of an issue. However, brushing them once a week can help trap loose furs that would otherwise end up all over your house.

The Snowshoe does a great job at self-grooming and keeping themselves clean. You can further help them stay clean by investing in a self-cleaning litter box. They’ll always have a fresh place to use the bathroom, and you won’t have to spend time scooping the litter box.

Be sure to trim your Snowshoe’s nails at least once a month for comfort. This is also helpful to you, as your Snowshoe is going to want to knead all over you during snuggles. Cat scratches are no fun to deal with, but trimming their nails can make a difference!

Health-related issues

Snowshoe cats are known for being quite healthy. There aren’t health-related diseases that specifically impact the Snowshoe, which can be a great relief for many cat parents. Due to their relation to the Siamese cat, some Snowshoes are born with crossed eyes or kinked tails. Luckily, these don’t typically cause discomfort to the cat.  

Additionally, periodontal disease is common in all cat breeds, so brushing your cat's teeth or taking them to the vet for cleanings is important.

Bringing home a Snowshoe

The Snowshoe cat is an amazing breed to invite into your home. They are meant to be family pets and thrive when surrounded by people they love. They are quick to warm up to anyone they meet and make for a wonderful welcoming committee.

If you’re interested in adopting a Snowshoe, prepare yourself now for all of the adorable photos that will take up space on your phone.