Maine Coon Blue Eyes

Maine Coon Blue Eyes

Green, copper, amber, gold, and orange are the most common eye colors in Maine Coon cats. But what about blue eyes?

Blue eyes are common in cats that have either a solid or partial white color in their furs. Some of these cats may have odd eyes where one eye is colored blue while the other eye may have any of the aforementioned colors.

Maine Coon Blue Eyes

According to the breed standard set by the Cat Fanciers’ Association or CFA, Maine Coons can have green, gold, copper, or green-gold eye colors.¬†However, it is not unusual to see Maine Coons with amber, yellow, or even orange-colored eyes.

Generally speaking, the color of the eye has no relation to the color of a Maine Coon’s coat. The only exception to this rule is white Maine Coons and blue eyes.

Blue eyes as well as odd eyes only appear in Maine Coons with either a solid white coat or those with some white patches in their coats. White Maine Coons may also have green, amber, blue, orange, copper, and gold eyes.

Maine Coons with odd eyes

Odd eyes appear in several breeds, including Sphynx, Van, Turkish Van, Persian, Oriental Shorthair, Turkish Angora, Japanese Bobtail, and Maine Coon.  

Cats with odd eyes will have one blue eye and another eye with green, brown, or yellow.

The odd eye is a form of the condition known as Heterochromia where the colors of the iris of each eye are different. This condition can also occur in other animals, including humans.

Heterochromia can also be partial. Here, one eye is blue while the other one is partially blue and partially another color. 

Odd eyes usually appear in white cats because the gene responsible for giving a feline its white coat is the same gene responsible for heterochromia. This gene prevents the pigment known as melanin from reaching one of the eyes while the kitten and its eyes are still developing.

Initially, both eyes of an odd-eyed kitten are blue in color just like in other kittens. But as the kitten grows and develops, one eye changes color. This color change is not always noticeable unless you look closely into the eyes of the young cat.

The odd eye will change to different colors over a few months until the cat matures. When the cat becomes an adult, the color of the odd eye becomes permanent.

Some people believe that odd-eyed cats are prone to deafness in at least one ear. Up to 70 percent of odd-eyed cats have perfect hearing. In contrast, cats with normal eyes have 10 to 20 percent of being born deaf or becoming deaf due to age.

It is worthwhile to point out that white cats with one to two blue eyes, including Maine Coons, are more likely to be deaf due to genetic defects. This is because the gene that causes these cats to have a white coat is also responsible for causing the degeneration of the part of the ear known as the cochlea.

Anatomy of Maine Coon Eyes

Maine Coons have large, almond-shaped eyes that are wide-set. The eyes are positioned high up at an oblique angle, giving these an almond shape. But when your Maine Coon stares intently at an object, the eyes become almost round.

Like other nocturnal animals, the Maine Coon has vertical slit pupils. These pupils are designed to give cats exceptionally sharp views of objects. In turn, this enables felines to get a fairly accurate judgment of their distance from an object or prey.

A cat’s eye consists of five main parts, namely the iris, pupil, cornea, lens, and the retina.

The iris is the part that is colored. In cats, the iris can fill up the whole opening of their eyes.

The pupils of cats are vertical and can dilate up to a point that they fill almost all of the eye opening. Pupils open up to this point to allow more light to enter the eyes, especially when the cat is angry or scared.

The cornea is the transparent eye part that covers both the iris and pupil.

The lens, on the other hand, is located behind both the pupil and iris. It can change its shape, allowing cats to gain a better focus on the thing that it is looking at.

Finally, the retina is responsible for forming images. This eye part is located behind the eyes.

Common Maine Coon Eye problems

Fortunately for Maine Coon owners and their pets, the breed is not susceptible to a lot of eye problems. 

However, there are a few eye issues that you should watch out for, including strabismus, astigmatism, hyperopia, myopia, conjunctivitis, eye infections, trauma, allergies, iris discoloration, glaucoma, corneal ulcer, cataract, and detached retina.

1. Strabismus

Strabismus is a condition that is characterized by the misalignment of the eyes. Cats with strabismus can either be crossed or wall-eyed. Either way, cats suffering from this condition have difficulty in-depth perception.

There are different causes of this condition in cats, including eye or brain injury, cancer, feline leukemia, encephalitis, and genetic disorders.

2. Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a vision problem where the cat cannot see its environment accurately. Typically, cats with strabismus also have astigmatism. But not all cats that have astigmatism have strabismus.

3. Hyperopia

Farsightedness in cats is called hyperopia or hypermetropia. Cats with this eye problem have difficulty seeing nearby objects but have no trouble in seeing objects from afar.

Cats with hyperopia have a lens that is lacking in elasticity.

4. Myopia

In essence, myopia is the opposite of hyperopia. Here, a cat has a difficult time seeing nearby objects but can easily see things from afar.

5. Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is a condition where the eye’s moist tissues become inflamed. These tissues are located near the eye’s globe and at the edge of the cornea.

6. Eye infections

Your Maine Coon’s eyes can become infected anytime. Infections like Mycoplasma and Chlamydia are often transferred from one cat to another.

Common symptoms include inflammation of the eyes, clear or yellow discharge, and protrusion of the third eyelid.

7. Trauma 

Eye traumas or injuries can arise from different causes, including fights or accidents. Traumas include scratches or the laceration of the cornea.

8. Allergies

Allergies can irritate your Maine Coon’s eyes. Among the most common cat allergens are dust, mold, pollen, anti-flea products, fragrances, mildew, and household cleaning products.

9. Iris discoloration

Also known as iris melanosis, iris discoloration is a condition where the iris darkens. This happens because of the rapid increase in cells that produce melanin. Although most cases of melanosis are benign, some can become malignant.

10. Glaucoma

Feline glaucoma is a condition where the fluids behind the lens cannot drain normally. When these fluids accumulate, a pressure is created on the optic nerve.

11. Corneal ulcer

A corneal ulcer is a condition where the deeper layers of the cornea are lost. It may be caused by diseases, eye trauma, chemical burn, infections, foreign bodies, and tear deficiency.

12. Cataract

Feline cataract is a condition where the eye’s lens thickens. The condition can occur as a result of eye trauma or infection. In kittens, cataracts come as a result of poor nutrition.

If you notice any of the symptoms associated with eye problems, schedule an appointment with your vet.

Maine Coon eye care

Many eye problems can be avoided by getting your cat vaccinated annually. It is also a good idea to constantly monitor your pet’s eyes for symptoms like sensitivity to light, cloudiness, redness, changes in color or shape, and discharge.

Removing eye discharge before going to the vet can make your pet comfortable. The safest way to do this is to use cotton balls dipped in water to wipe away the discharge. 

When wiping away discharge, make sure that you move from the eye’s corner outward. Use a different cotton ball for each eye.

Unless your vet recommends one, avoid using over-the-counter eye products for your pet’s eyes.

Conclusion

Maine Coon blue eyes are a true sight to behold. But because white cats are uncommon, you might be hard pressed to find a Maine Coon with blue or even odd eyes.

Image: istockphoto.com / GlobalP