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Snowshoe cat breed

Snowshoe cat breed

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Snowshoe cat breed information and advice

The Snowshoe cat is a new and developing breed. The breed, first known as “Silver Laces”, originated in Pennsylvania, USA in the early 1960s from American Shorthair and Siamese breeds. Three Siamese kittens born with white feet formed the foundation of the breed. These were then bred with American Bi-coloured Shorthairs. The breed was named ‘Snowshoe’ because of their white feet.

With their endearing personalities and distinctive white paws, the Snowshoe is a rare but increasingly popular breed. They’re intelligent, affectionate and easy to care for. They’ll get along with everyone, including dogs. But be prepared to give these energetic and playful cats lots of attention.

Snowshoe cat facts

Lifespan 12-15 years
How much £350+
Size medium
Weight 3 - 6 kg
Grooming once a week
Temperament affectionate, friendly, easy-going
Exercise low

Snowshoe cat insurance

The Snowshoe cat is generally a healthy and robust breed. But they can have several breed-related problems owing to their Siamese and American Shorthair ancestry. It’s always important to protect your cat with pet insurance. Cat insurance will help with the cost of any treatment that your furry friend may need.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

With Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance, there are flexible options to make sure you get your Snowshoe cat the pet insurance they need. We offer different policies to help you find the cover that’s right for you and your cat.

How to care for a Snowshoe cat

Snowshoe cats are low maintenance and will only need grooming once a week. They should have a balanced diet and have lots of exercise.

Feeding and nutrition

Make sure you provide your Snowshoe cat with a nutritious diet that fits their requirements. If you buy your kitten from a reputable breeder, they should provide you with a feeding schedule. Cats can be sticklers for routine, so try to feed at the same time every day. A sudden change to dinner time and you could find yourself with a very grumpy cat.


Snowshoe cats have a short and dense coat. All they need is a weekly brush or comb to remove dead hairs and distribute skin oils. They’ll shed more often in spring and autumn when more frequent brushing may be needed. They’re good at grooming themselves and will only need a bath if they get very dirty. Their teeth should also be brushed regularly to prevent dental disease.

Their coat comes in a variety of colours. Seal and blue are the most popular, but chocolate, lilac, cinnamon and fawn, red and cream are also seen. Their coats are colour-pointed and mitted (all paws are white). Their eyes are almond-shaped and brilliant blue. One of the breed’s hallmarks is that its face has an inverted V marking on its muzzle. Snowshoe kittens are born white and their markings develop and darken as the kitten gets older.


Snowshoes are active, high-energy cats and like playing so keep them entertained with lots of interactive toys. They also enjoy watching the world around them, so it could be worth investing in a perch or cat tree.


Snowshoes are intelligent and can be taught tricks and you should find toilet or litter training will be picked up quickly. Make sure you provide at least one litter box per cat and that these are kept clean.


Temperament and behaviour

Snowshoes are affectionate, loyal and docile and usually bond closely to one person. They don’t like to be left alone all day. If their owners are out at work, a companion cat or a littermate will keep them company. Sainsbury’s Bank does offer multi-pet insurance.

Like their Siamese ancestors, they can be talkative, but their meowing is soft and melodic. If kept indoors, make sure they have lots of toys, perches, and places to hide. And, of course, places to curl up and have a nap. They might be too active to be a lap cat though.

They’re not known to have a high prey drive but will enjoy playing with interactive toys. They also like playing in water, especially running water, and some have even been known to enjoy a swim.

Common health problems

The Snowshoe cat is considered a healthy breed, but every cat is at risk of illness or injury. Taking out Snowshoe cat insurance will help cover any health conditions your cat may need.

Autosomal Dominant Polycystic kidney disease (AD-PKD)

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease or AD-PKD, is an inherited condition that can affect the Snowshoe cat. The condition causes cysts to form in the kidneys. Most cats are around 7 years when they start to show signs of the condition. There’s no cure, but some treatments may help to improve their quality of life. Affected cats should not be allowed to breed.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, commonly known as HCM, is a serious heart condition where the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. This prevents the heart from working properly, leading to heart failure. Long-term medication can slow the disease down but unfortunately there’s no cure.


Gum disease or gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) can affect Snowshoes so it’s important to brush their teeth at least once a week. At the same time check for any broken teeth, bad breath, build-up of tartar and red gums. This will help prevent or delay serious dental problems and trips to the vet for treatment that your cat might not like. Ask your vet for a flavoured toothpaste that your cat will enjoy.


How long do Snowshoe cats live?

The average lifespan of a Snowshoe cat is 12-15 years. But how long they live depends on how well they’re cared for and if they’re free from any inherited heart or kidney conditions.

How much is a Snowshoe cat?

A well-bred Snowshoe kitten from a reputable breeder can cost upwards of £350.

Are Snowshoe cats rare?

The Snowshoe is a rare cat breed. This is partly due to the difficulty in breeding Snowshoes with the desired markings and patterns.

Are Snowshoe cats hypoallergenic?

No cat is entirely hypoallergenic. However, the Snowshoe does produce less of the glycoprotein Fel d1 in their saliva. If you have a cat allergy, this might make them less allergenic than other breeds.

So, is a Snowshoe cat right for you?

Snowshoe cats are smart, affectionate and low maintenance cats. They usually have a favourite person but will get along with everyone. They thrive in families that can give them lots of attention. This means they are suited to busy households with children, other cats and, even cat-friendly dogs.

Their sweet personalities make them great companions for single people too. They don’t like to be left alone for very long, so they may need a littermate or another cat to keep them company.

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Content provided from Vetstream’s Vetlexicon

Leslie A Lyons, Vetstream Ltd (online) Snowshoe. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Martha Cannon, Rachel Korman (online) Kidney: autosomal dominant polycystic disease. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Vetstream Ltd (online) Kidney disease in your cat Owner Factsheet. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Serena Brownlie, Phil Fox, Philip K Nicholls, Penny Watson (online) Heart: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Vetstream Ltd (online) Cardiomyopathy in your cat Owner Factsheet. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

David Crossley, Alex Smithson (online) Gingivitis and stomatitis. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Content provided from Vetstream's Vetlexicon Felis -

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