Are there purple-eyed cats?
You may have heard rumors about cats with purple eyes but the reality is, that there is no known evidence of cats with purple eyes existing, although lighting conditions can make a blue-colored cat’s eyes appear purplish or blue-violet. The cats that have the closest eye color range to the purple shade are the rare albino cats who have lilac-colored eyes, with lilac being a soft, pale shade of purple.
What determines a cat’s eye color?
A cat’s eye color is largely determined by genetics or inherited characteristics passed on from one generation to another. The eye pigment or melanin is produced by melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells that are present in the iris. The exact color and intensity depend on the melanocytes’ number and activity in the iris.
A blue eye color means there are no melanocytes, a green color indicates there’s a low number of melanocytes while orange eye color is the result of a high concentration of melanocytes. Needless to say, the higher the percentage of melanin your cat has, the deeper and more intense will her eyes be. Purebred cats also tend to have more intense eye colors since these cats are bred to meet specific standards. For instance, Bombay cats need to have copper-colored eyes while the Tonkinese breed should possess aqua-colored eyes.
What are the different eye colors in cats?
Here are the common eye colors of cats that are mostly observed among the purebred and crossbred cats.
Cats that have blue eyes mean that they don’t have melanin in the iris. Most white cats tend to have blue eyes. The light refracts from the eye’s round surface which causes the eyes to appear blue but in truth, the iris is essentially colorless.
Cats with a dominant white gene or epistatic white commonly have blue eyes but they shouldn’t be confused as albino cats because of the difference in the underlying coat color. White cats may have both blue eyes or have two different eye colors with the non-blue eye depending on their breed standard.
It has also been observed on color pointed cats or those with pale bodies and darker extremities which is common among Siamese and other related breeds like the Burmese and Balinese cats. Since the blue color has a contrasting hut and intensity, breeders can control the resulting color.
Blue eyes are the result of these major occurrences:
- masking of pigment – a dominant gene among white cats
- absence of pigment – common in albino cats and Siamese cats
- due to genetic mutation carried on a recessive gene
- due to a spontaneous mutation
Yellow is considered a common eye color among cats and it depends on the hue intensity. The color ranges from a very pale-yellow lemon to that of a more vivid hue and color overlaps can possibly happen such as an overlap between yellows and browns or yellows and greens.
If you notice that a cat has brown eyes it’s not actually the color brown itself because most probably the cat has copper eyes or a darker shade of copper or orange. Having brown eyes means that there’s a high percentage of melanin in the cat’s irises.
This color is not commonly observed in most cats and like the blue hue, it has very little melanin compared to other eye colors. Most of the time, the resulting pigmentation is a lighter color compared to the typical colors of cats’ eyes.
While a black cat with purple eyes is impossible to find, black cats with green eyes are common although the fur color shouldn’t be associated with the eye color. This is because different genes dictate the percentage of melanin in a cat’s fur and eyes. So, while there are green-eyed black cats you can also find green-eyed white cats and Bombay cats.
What’s the most common as well as the rarest eye color in cats?
Greenish-yellow and gold are considered the most common cat eyes colors and have very low melanin content. Eye colors that are of the darker shades of brown, orange, or copper are considered the rarest eye colors. These colors have a high melanin content or percentage.
Is a cat’s coat color associated with its eye color?
The association between coat color and eye color is very minimal except for the blue eye color which has an association with specific coat color. The common association is the white cat and blue eye association and you’ve probably noticed that cats with white coats usually have blue eyes but may also tend to be deaf. Genes that code for white fur coats generally mask all eye colors such as green, amber, and hazel.
What does it mean if a cat has odd eyes?
A cat with odd eyes means that one eye is green or gold while the other one is blue. This condition is called heterochromia which means different color, from the Greek words “hetero” or different, and “chromia” or color. Heterochromia occurs when the dominant white gene or white spotting gene blocks the distribution and concentration of natural pigments during development within the iris tissues. Odd eyes may also happen in cats who lack both the dominant white and white spotting genes. A unique type of odd eyes in cats is a dichromatic or dichroic eye or having two colors in one iris, which is usually observed among white cats.
At what age does a kitten’s eye color change?
Kittens are born blind and deaf but after seven to ten days their eyes will open and the color is a cloudy shade of blue. When kittens are six weeks old, the color may start to change and from three to eight weeks some kittens may have flecks of color in their eyes. When a kitten is ten weeks old, its eyes are as good as that of an adult cat, and at three months old, a kitten’s eye color during that time is considered as its final color.
What to do if your cat’s eyes are changing colors?
If you observe that your cat’s eyes are changing colors then consult the veterinarian right away as it could be a sign of an illness. Cats’ eyes change to orange if there’s an inflammation and if it darkens it may be an impending case of leukemia.
“Nature breaks through the eyes of the cat”, according to an Irish proverb and cat lovers attest that their furry pet’s eyes are spellbinding. While there’s still no recent evidence of cats having purple eyes, cat lovers and pet parents are in awe of the varying colors of cats’ eyes that are sure to melt hearts.