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The International Snowshoe Cat Association (TISCA)

Genetics

The genetic basis for a Snowshoe cat.

The Genetic Makeup of a Snowshoe Cat

The basic genetic makeup of a homozygous Snowshoe cat is:

a/a (non-agouti)

B/B (black)

cs/cs (pointed)

L/L (short hair)

S/s (the heterozygous form of the white spotting factor) with variant pigmentation factors

D/D (dense pigmentation) or

d/d (maltesed pigmentation (depending upon the desired point colors)

The variant pigmentation factors will produce the following colors/patterns:

B/B, D/D, S/s - Seal point mitted or bicolor pattern

B/B, d/d, S/s - Blue point mitted or bicolor pattern

B/B, D/d, S/s - Seal point mitted or bicolor pattern carrying the recessive maltesing gene

In order to produce additional dilute colors, the following basic factors must be introduced:

b/b, D/D, S/s - Chocolate point mitted or bicolor bl/bl,

D/D, S/s - Cinnamon point mitted or bicolor b/b, d/d,

S/s - Frost (Lilac) point mitted or bicolor

b1/b1, d/d, S/s - Fawn point mitted or bicolor

The dominant gene of the white spotting factor (S/S) produces more white than is desirable (more than two thirds white). This much white would affect the appearance of the Snowshoe that results from the contrast between the dark points and the white spotting pattern.

The mitted pattern is generally limited to paws, belly, chin, and chest with no white facial pattern, however, small mustache(s)' may be within the mitted limits. The white pattern areas are limited to one third of the cats coloring.

The bicolor pattern includes the same pattern areas as the mitted and generally features a facial pattern which may be in the shape of an inverted 'V', blaze, partial 'V' or large 'mustache(s)'. The white pattern areas generally exceed one third of the cats coloring and is generally limited to two thirds of the cats coloring.

The heterozygous form (S/s) of the white spotting factor produces both mitted and bicolor patterns. What divides the two patterns is the propensity of the white spotting factor for producing either mitted or bicolor patterns. In attempting to produce the perfect' pattern which results in the perfect' inverted V' face, the spotting factor must have the basic bicolor propensity. This propensity is what makes it so difficult to produce the perfect' pattern desired by many Snowshoe lovers.

The bicolor pattern covers from one third (1/3) to two thirds (2/3) of the cat’s body. This means that in order to get the perfect V' facial pattern, it is necessary to introduce the propensity for a bicolor pattern, and in doing so, the propensity for increased white on the legs and body increases as well.

The majority of the breeders in The International Cat Association (TICA) voted to accept standards which favor Type' over pattern and permits TICA breeders to show all Snowshoe cats with patterns within the TICA mitted and bicolor definitions. Pattern descriptions within the standards should be used ONLY to break a tie between two cats that are equal in all other factors, but are as the major determining factors in judging the cat's color and pattern.

The white spotting factor is sometimes masked entirely producing a cat with no white. Although masked, generally the white spotting factor is still present. Snowshoes with no white may not be shown in any association, but may be registered as Snowshoes and may be used in a breeding program. If used in a breeding program, they will probably be bred to another Snowshoe with the bicolor propensity in order to produce mitted or bicolored cats.

This page last updated - 06 August 2014 

The International Snowshoe Cat Association (TISCA)