Siamese cats with white paws are called Snowshoes! This cat breed is new and is getting more popular as household pets. Snowshoe cats incredibly look like the Siamese which is no surprise since they are related to each other, however, there are distinct physical features that make the Snowshoes unique and different.
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding this new cat breed and this is also due to insufficient documents that can trace back its origin. Although the discovery of Snowshoes which are originally known as “Silver Laces” was purely accidental and have come from a purebred Siamese, most Snowshoe cats of today have been the result of crossbreeding.
Does the snow-pawed cat spark your interest? Learn how it has come about and see the subtle differences and stark similarities of this Snowshoe breed compared to its Siamese Ancestor.
The Origin of the Snowshoe Cat
Although this is a relatively new breed after it was coincidentally discovered in the late 1960s, the Snowshoe cat is believed to have started to exist earlier as it has been portrayed in a Victorian photograph as well as on a Japanese silkscreen.
Its popularity, however, has grown surprisingly when a Siamese cat breeder named Dorothy Hinds from Philadelphia had witnessed a shocking discovery. Three of the Siamese kittens were found to have the common Siamese pattern yet their feet were white as if they wore socks.
Hinds was instantly charmed by the sight and got support from another reputable breeder named Vikki Olander from Norfolk, Virginia. This led to the cross-breeding of the Siamese to American Shorthairs. After a significant period of crossing these two breeds, to achieve a more perfect result, it was found out that a more desirable combination for a Snowshoe cat is the older Siamese and the Oriental Shorthair.
Regarding the recorded history of Snowshoes, there is not much to find, unfortunately. The ones that are accessible are inconsistent due to poor record-keeping.
Its popularity was a rollercoaster ride as well since it had severely declined in the 1970s and then suddenly boomed until it reached full status recognition from several reputable cat registries such as the American Cat Fancier’s Association (ACFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA).
Can Siamese Cats Have White Paws?
Unfortunately, the Siamese breed can’t have white paws. The genetic structure makes it have darker color points on certain regions of its body. We may consider what happened to Dorothy Hind’s discovery as an extreme case or that there have been underlying factors as to why three kittens on the Siamese litter have white paws.
However, if you wish to have a Siamese-looking cat with white paws, the Snowshoes are the answer! Snowshoes have a strong Siamese ancestry. If anyone does not know about the appearance of this new cat breed, he will most likely be mistaken as a Siamese. Not to mention that they both have a striking similarity in terms of personality especially on the part they are both chatty and expressive.
Achieving the perfect Snowshoe is a slow and ongoing process for cat breeders. It is because this involves genetics to ensure that the markings of the Snowshoe fall in the right places- all four paws should be white, not too high and not too low; the presence of an inverted white pyramid in the middle of the face; white chin; chest; and underbelly.
Currently, there is no perfect Snowshoe. The ones closest to the cat breed standard are the ones you see in the show ring.
How Can I Tell If My Siamese Cat Is a Snowshoe?
Although it can be difficult to tell a Snowshoe and the Siamese apart, being aware of the markings as well as the subtle difference in personality can aid you a lot from the confusion. Being aware can help you avoid awkward situations if ever a breeder gives you the wrong kind too.
This has happened before when a cat lover paid a huge amount to a certain cat breeder for a Siamese kitten only to find out that he was given a Snowshoe! Nevertheless, he still loves the furry cat and won’t ever replace him. Talk about love at first sight!
Snowshoe Physical Traits
?Snowshoes have average bodies: Males are 9 to 12 pounds while females weigh from 7 to 10 pounds.
?Their body fur is smooth, short, and are single-coated.
?Snowshoes have deep to pale blue eyes which are walnut-shaped or rounder compared to
its Siamese ancestor.
?They have white paws at the front which is also called “mittens” and white paws to the hock
behind known as “boots”.
?There is an “inverted vee” on the face and a white chin, chest, and underbelly.
?Their point colors predominantly come in Seal point and Bluepoint.
?They are born white. The color points take weeks to develop as well as the display of the
? A snowshoe has a light-colored body that comes in a cream color and darkens with age.
?They have a much rounder and fuller face and body type which are often muscular.
?They are extremely playful and would do just anything to get your attention.
?Extremely intelligent and opinionated.
?Their voices are mellow compared to the Siamese.
?They are very social and needs interaction every time he wants.
?They can’t be left alone for hours.
?They are often aloof and standoffish.
Siamese Physical Traits
?Siamese cats are small to medium-sized.
?Their weight is averagely 8 to 10 pounds.
?They have striking blue eyes.
?They have an elegantly aristocratic and more sleek body structure.
?They have long and slender legs.
?They come in silver-gray, orange, brown, cream, blue, and lilac.
?Their eyes are almond-shaped.
?They are also born white and their markings appear after a few weeks.
?Their ears, tail, and feet are darker in color which sets a contrast from the white areas of the body.
?They have a dark mask all over their faces which covers the eyes and whisker pads.
?They are known for their distinctive vocal antics which are stronger than that of the Snowshoes.
?They are intelligent and trainable but at the same time think on their own.
?The Siamese breed is prone to weight gain as it tends to overeat.
?They are a pro when it comes to communicating.
?They can be left alone for long periods of time.
Are Snowshoe Siamese Rare?
The desired coat markings associated with a Snowshoe Cat are difficult to produce which makes it rare and unique even though it has existed for 45 years. The reason behind the complexity of achieving the required coat pattern comes down to the fact that this is based on recessive genes.
The pattern unique to this breed can be seen as dark areas on the head or eyes which may look like a mask with an upturned “V” facial marking, tail, legs, and white paws- This breed resembles the Tuxedo markings because of different-colored feet. The more symmetrical the patterns are, always the better according to breed standards. If not, this ball of fur is considered a pet quality kitten which means it is unfit for shows and breeding. Other body characteristics for disqualification may also include kinked tails or crossed eyes. This does not make the cat a second-rate, however!
The white markings are notoriously difficult to control as it is affected by the random white spotting gene called piebald. Considering rarity, if you have a Snowshoe, you are lucky! The breeders of this cat are only a handful. Moreover, Snowshoes being one of the rarest breeds is also due to the strict standards for markings and breedings. Despite the sluggish start, Snowshoes continue to gain more popularity and win the hearts of many cat aficionados.
Moreover, the coat coloration of this breed is recognized by associations and registries based on point coloration. This comes in many different colors although a few organizations do not recognize some of them.
Snowshoe Cats come in different basic colors carried by the Siamese. These include:
- And Seal points
On another note, what makes Snowshoe cats rare is because compared to other breeds, this one is the most talkative. Nevertheless, it is fortunate that their voices are less intense and are often softer than their Siamese ancestors.
Famous Snowshoe Cats
Snowshoes are taking off the internet by storm! When the existence of these adorable furry friends exploded, thousands of people immediately fell in love with their cute appearance and soft white paws. Despite the difficulty of having such a perfectly patterned Snowshoe, owners weren’t discouraged to have one and some Snowshoes even got famous!
He has been nicknamed “Grumpy Cat”. Many find a resemblance of this American internet celebrity cat to a Snowshoe because of the pattern that looks like a mask around the eyes including its white feet. However, Tardar is a mixed breed of a Calico and a Tabby, therefore he hasn’t come from an Asian line. Tardar doesn’t possess the characteristic of a Siamese which is only evident to a Snowshoe- such as being too expressive!
Another Snowshoe who blew off the minds of television watchers was Dusty the Klepto Kitty. He was featured at a late-night show last 2011. This domestic snowshoe committed “cat burglary” and was found guilty as charged! Dusty was able to steal 16 car wash mitts, 213 dish towels, 73 socks, 100 gloves, and 40 balls to name a few. I wonder what he does with all that stuff he got!
Despite their short history, Snowshoe cats are undeniably very interesting and entertaining. They are doing well in keeping up with the popularity earned by their ancient Siamese ancestors. Undeniably, their difficult-to-achieve color points do not overshadow the fact that they can be the purr-fect choice for families!