The Snowshoe is a rare and relatively new breed of cat originating in the United States of America. Snowshoes were first produced in Philadelphia when a breeder's Siamese cat gave birth to three kittens with the pattern. The breeder, Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty, began to promote the cat and began a breeding program dedicated to them. When Hinds-Daugherty left the program, Vikki Olander began working with the cats and recruited new breeders, as well as worked towards full recognition within cat associations. Despite having existed for 45 years, Snowshoes are rare due to the difficulty of reproducing the correct coat markings. The marks are based on recessive genes for colour points and on the co-dominant but variably-expressed piebald pattern gene, making it difficult to predict the appearance of offspring.
The coat coloration recognised by registries and associations is point coloration, and it comes in a variety of colours, though some associations do not recognise certain colours. Snowshoe cats have an affectionate and docile disposition. Due to this, they do not do well under circumstances where they are left alone for long periods of time. Snowshoes are also very vocal, though their voices are not as loud as the Siamese, a cat found in their breed heritage. They are noted as being very intelligent and have the ability to learn tricks and open doors. The cats also enjoy water, and may swim on some occasions.