Snowshoe Cat: Characteristics, Personality, and Breed Information

Compare Breed
United States
9"- 11"
Adult weight
6-12 pounds
Life Span
14-19 years
Loving, curious, family-oriented, vocal
Other Names
Silver Lace, American longhair
Medium to large short-haired
$600 - $1200
Affection Level
? Breeds with a high affection level want to give and receive a lot of attention, while less-affectionate breeds are not as interested in petting and snuggles.
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Activity Level
? Breeds with high activity levels will engage more in active play and demand more space and attention.
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? How well the breed tends to get along with cats, dogs, and other pets.
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? Breeds with a higher rating in this area tend to be gentle and patient, while lower-rated breeds may feel uncomfortable with children.
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? Breeds with a higher sociability rating will want to spend time with you all day, while less-sociable breeds seldom seek out human interaction.
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? Breeds with higher intelligence ratings are more curious, investigative, and easy to train. Less-intelligent breeds are less trainable but often laid-back and easygoing.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area have strong hunting instincts that make them great playtime companions.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area are able to spend hours alone, while less-independent breeds require plenty of attention.
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? A higher rating in this area indicates a breed prone to plenty of meowing and other vocalizations, while less-vocal breeds are happy to stay quiet.
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? Breeds with higher grooming scores require more maintenance like brushing and bathing, while lower-scored breeds are virtually maintenance-free.
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Personality and Temperament

Adorable white feet give the Snowshoe cat its name, and distinctive white markings in the shape of an upside down “V” adorn its muzzle. Cuteness isn't the only thing that makes the Snowshoe such a wonderful cat: This breed absolutely loves people. In fact, Snowshoes are among the friendliest cats! While they do have a tendency to choose one person as their absolute favorite, they like everyone and readily make friends with new people shortly after being introduced.

Expect lots of fun and games if you bring a Snowshoe cat into your family. These kitties are curious and playful, and they like nothing quite so much as spending plenty of quality time with their favorite people. They'll help you with all sorts of tasks from typing to cleaning and when it's time to cook dinner or wash dishes, they happily provide advice from a nearby vantage point - perhaps a high place like the top of the refrigerator.

Snowshoe cats are expert cuddlers, too. If you have room on your lap, they'll take advantage of the opportunity to curl up for a movie or a bit of reading. At bedtime, they're likely to stretch out beside you, perhaps sliding under the covers or sharing your pillow.

Just like other breeds with lots of Siamese in their background, the Snowshoe cat requires lots of attention and becomes terribly unhappy if left alone for long periods of time. If boredom sets in, these kitties may develop unwanted behaviors and vocalize loudly. Fortunately, Snowshoe cats get along very well with other felines. If your family can't always be around, a second cat can help prevent loneliness and the destructive habits that can come with it.

Thanks to their outgoing, agreeable personalities, Snowshoe cats can be a great fit for any family with lots of love and attention to give.

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About the Snowshoe Cat
Snowshoe Cat Care










Snowshoe cats don't have any special nutritional needs, however they are known for exceptional longevity when their families prioritize good health and proper nutrition. We recommend offering your Snowshoe cat a high-quality, age-appropriate diet with plenty of protein and low levels of carbohydrates. This can help prevent obesity, which is a common health issue in older Snowshoe cats.

Snowshoe cats doing excellent job of looking after their own coats, which are typically very short and low-shedding. Occasional brushing can help remove any loose hair that might otherwise end up on furniture and clothing.

Because Snowshoes are prone to dental issues, it's a very good idea to teach your cat how to have their teeth brushed from a young age. Routine at-home dental care is a great habit that can help your cat enjoy better health overall.

Last but not least, consider keeping your Snowshoe cat's claws clipped. Toenail trimming is the easiest way to preserve your furniture, which these active cats are likely to jump on.

Snowshoe cats are highly active, with lots of energy to burn, particularly in their younger years. They love interactive play, either with their human family members or with other pets, and they appreciate toys of all kinds. These cats are perfectly capable of making their own fun when given a crinkly paper bag or a big empty box, and they love climbing cat towers, perching on window seats, and stretching out with the help of tall scratching posts.

Just like other highly sociable cat breeds, Snowshoes often enjoy leashed walks through the neighborhood. It takes some time and effort to teach a cat how to walk on a leash, but this is fantastic exercise that your Snowshoe will benefit from for life.

Snowshoe cats are generally healthy, however they can suffer from some of the same problems that plague Siamese cats including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, and periodontal disease. These issues aren't common, however they are worth watching for.

Like Siamese, some Snowshoe cats have crossed eyes and kinks in their tails. Crossed eyes can have a negative effect on peripheral vision, however neither of these issues is painful or shortens the cat's lifespan.


Even though the Snowshoe cat breed wasn't officially developed until the middle of the 20th century, Siamese kittens with white feet and white markings on their muzzles have occurred naturally for as long as the breed has been part of human history.

In the 1960s, Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty, a Siamese breeder in Philadelphia noticed that three kittens – all from the same litter – developed Snowshoe markings instead of solid color points. Since white feet are not acceptable according to the Siamese breed standard, she decided to begin a brand-new line. Thus, the Snowshoe cat breed began.

When the white-footed kittens reached maturity, they were crossed with American Shorthair cats with tuxedo markings. At first, the resulting kittens were called Silver Lace cats. Others, including cat breeder Vikki Olander took notice, and the white markings which were originally viewed as Siamese faults became the hallmarks of a wonderful new breed that combines all the best traits of its founding members.

The American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) accepted the Snowshoe in 1982 and granted championship status in 1990. The International Cat Association (TICA) granted Snowshoe cats official recognition in 1993. In the UK, Snowshoe cats attained full breed status with The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in 2013.

Today, the Snowshoe cat breed enjoys recognition worldwide. Show quality examples of the Snowshoe cat breed are relatively rare since it can be difficult to produce kittens that carry the recessive genes for both colorpoint and the piebald pattern that gives Snowshoes their distinctive appearance. It's easier to find pet quality Snowshoe cats with either too much or too little light to qualify for showing.

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Snowshoe Cat History
About the Snowshoe Cat


A Snowshoe cat should have walnut-shaped eyes that are set one eye’s width apart. All Snowshoe cats have blue eyes, with deeper colors being preferable.

Legs & Paws

The legs should be slender and well-proportioned to the body. The paws should be medium-sized ovals. The extent of white color on the Snowshoe cat’s paws should be similar on both front feet and both hind feet.


The tail should be of medium to long length, with a medium base and a gentle taper toward the tip.

The Breed Standard


The body should be long and lean, powerful but not bulky. This cat should feel heavy for its size.


The head should be wedge-shaped with high cheekbones and a straight nose. The muzzle should be of good length, without excessive broadness or square lines. Snowshoe cats should display an inverted white "V" on the muzzle, which may be prominent or so faint that it's difficult to see.


The ears should be medium to medium-large in size, with wide bases, slightly rounded tips, and positioning that continues the head’s wedge profile.


The coat should be medium-short, with no noticeable undercoat. It should feel dense and resilient, and should appear glossy and smooth.


All Snowshoe cats should have four white paws that contrast with the cat’s colored points, which are usually seal or blue. The cat may exhibit no more than ⅓ white on its body overall. White may extend to include a bib, white legs, a white tummy, and an inverted V on the face that extends from the bridge of the nose across the whisker pads and down to the chin. The chin should be white as well. Depending on registry, colorpoint snowshoe cats, bi-color snowshoes, and high white or harlequin snowshoe cats might be considered suitable for show. Longhaired Snowshoe cats might be accepted for show but are typically not considered suitable for breeding.


How much does a Snowshoe cat cost?

Snowshoe cats cost between $600 - $1200.

How big do Snowshoe cats get?

Snowshoe cats tend to be medium in size. A fully grown Snowshoe cat might weigh between 6-12 pounds or more and range in height anywhere from about 9"- 11" inches tall.

How long do Snowshoe cats live?

The Average lifespan for Snowshoe is 14-19 years.

Do Snowshoe cats shed?

Snowshoe are short-haired cats. Therefore, they do not shed as much as long-haired cat breeds.

28 thoughts on “Snowshoe”

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    1. Cathy Gregerson

      I hadnt heard of Snowshoes until I adopted Zoey. I found her in a shelter and thought she was a Siamese. She has beautiful blue eyes and four white paws! She’s the love of my life. Her first owner had passed away. It took her awhile to adapt. A year later she wants me, me, me. And her blanket on my lap, her pillow on my bed plus her favorite treats. She loves watching TV in the evening. She’s the best cat I’ve ever met.

  1. Jules

    I just found out that my kitties, Zack and Cody, are snowshoe mixes. Now some of their characteristics make a lot more sense. Cody has always loved to play in water. I often wake up to find him flicking the water out of his bowl with his front paws. So cute, until I have to clean up the puddle of water. They are both wonderful cats. Very playful and vocal. Great with other people and animals.

  2. Marilyn Eshoo

    My Snowshoe has a deformed left paw and a cute birthmark (a dark brown spot on her left nose). Some one abandoned her in a heavy equipment parking lot. Guess she wasn’t perfect, but she’s perfect for me. She is the joy of my life. I’m so lucky.

  3. Anna H

    Incredibly loving and sweet cats. It’s like having a dog in a cat. My snowshoe Dolly follows me from room to room. She likes to be with you. When they say snowshoes are sociable. Very true. Not a good breed to leave alone for long periods of time. Likes to vocalize but has a soft voice. Very obedient cat you can do things to her she won’t bite. Even the vet she’s so sweet she doesn’t bite when they clean ears stick instruments in her ear. She trusts me completely. They do like to eat slot so portion the food or they can put on weight. Very healthy until a year or two when she got skin allergies. Lovely lovely breed. Highly recommend. Not very playful but I font mind that. Very loving and caring cat with super sweet personality. So beautiful color and markings. Regal cat.

  4. Sheryl S

    My Francie is a delightful companion, and a beautiful Snowshoe. I wasn’t familiar with the designation when I adopted her, and I thought her short legs were another marker of a Snowshoe Siamese. These may not be part of the standard body conformation, but in my eyes, those strong, well muscled, but short legs are adorable.

    She tolerates my other two cats, a female calico and a male Bombay, but she would be perfectly happy being the only cat in the house.

  5. Avatar photoLoretta

    My Lily is so beautiful. She fits every Snowshoe description.
    She’s very independent and very smart. She knows when it’s bedtime. When she wants to cuddle she will plop over on my side and stretch out. She loves to have her belly rubbed.
    And yes, she loves water. She sits and waits for me to open the shower door so she can come in. Talking is her thing, she doesn’t meow. And she has such a little voice. She will be 11 yrs. in June. She’s definitely her mom’s baby!

  6. Sandra

    This is my first snowshoe and she is a rescue that was used to have kittens and than given to our humane society… I had lost my 17 yo Siamese who I dearly loved but on occasion bit some people ……. I found Cleo in Petsmart and how lucky for me. She was very small and mostly white. I adopted her and took her to my vet who said she looked like she just had kittens. She almost looked like a kitten herself. He thought she was 4 yo but I think she was younger. This was 6 years ago. She is our 6 th cat after many years and by far the most sweet and most loving cat we have had. She loves people and sleeps with me or on me. I don’t think she was abused because she is not afraid of anything. She looks like a Siamese with white feet and beautiful blue eyes…. I feel lucky that I found her.

  7. MK

    I am not a cat person at all. Our snowshoe came to us by accident and she has completely won me over. We all adore her. She converses with us constantly with the sweetest and sometimes silliest sounds. She follows us everywhere and greets us when we come home. I have never met such an affectionate cat.

  8. Charlotte

    I am getting my first two snowshoe kittens in the next few weeks (they will be 11 weeks). I went for one but came away having paid for two, a brother and sister, I work 4 full days a week and worried about loneliness. After reading this I am so pleased I am getting two so they can keep each other company during my working day!

    1. Denise

      I would love to see pics of your babies
      And perhaps the info of where they were offered!
      I too, have a beautiful snowshoe and am looking for companionship for her

  9. Angie

    My snowshoe was a feral cat and was beat up by all the other ferals. After 5 years of her hanging around by herself, I brought her in the house. We always just called her “white kitty” because she was 90% white with only a touch of sable on her face. After 2 months in the house she shed her white hair and turned sable! I’ve never known a cat to change color after 5 years. 3 years later she is still sable and the best indoor cat ever.

  10. Nancy Minui & Lola

    I got my Lola almost 4 months ago and she is the light of my life! The sweetest friendliest most loving cat I have ever had! She never has a bad day and is a big cuddler. She loves to sleep with me or on me and comes to me when she’s called just like a dog. No matter where she’s at she races to me. She gets along well with another cat and other people but she knows I’m her main person. I feel so lucky to have been picked to be her mommy cuz she is definitely my big baby,! Couldn’t have asked for a better cat than Lola!

  11. Ann

    My Snowshoe came around the corner of my home, meowing plaintively. I torn a piece of sliced, sandwich chicken and feed him, piece by piece. He then walked away, but came back 5 days later. This time I fed him the same and attempted to pet him, which he permitted. He came back 5 days later; I gave him 3 pieces of chicken from a dish, which he ate and walked away. I decided to get a 13oz can of cat food for his next visit. Well, 5 days came and went, as did 6, 7, 8… After 10 days, I went out of town for a week. When I came home, he was lying on the railing of the front porch, looking like a gargoyle! I could look out most anytime day or night, and that’s where he would be, except when I fed him. I always sat (and still do) with him while he ate, twice a day. I decided he needed to live indoors. That was 8 years ago. The vet said she thought he was 2, so of course he is 10 now. He follows me around the yard like a dog would. I believe a man had abused him because if I have to call a repairman, he will not stay inside and has to be coaxed, sometimes carried, to come back in after the repairman leaves. He will stay indoors when a woman visits. He wasn’t keen on cuddling for the first couple of years, but he is getting used to it. He is very smart has learned a few tricks for bits of chicken. I am so glad he adopted me. I hope you don’t mind the abridged biography.

  12. Cindy

    I have a Snowshoe who was given to me off an internet post. I am her third owner. The vet said she was only about a year and a half old when I took her in. She is 16 and a half pounds. She is beautiful with deep blue eyes. However, she is not the loving, affectionate cat that everyone else is talking about. My cat does sleep on my bed and follows me around the house but does not like to be cuddled or picked up. She also seems to have a fear of hands which leads me to believe she was somehow abused by hands along the way before I got her.
    I’ve had her for two years now and she is much better behaved but still not affectionate unless she wants to be fed. However, she is my kitty and I will work with her to win her over.

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      Aww, I’m so glad you’re working hard to win her over! I think she sounds quite normal and loving. I think you’re well on the right track to making her feel as comfortable as possible.