Q: I have been told by many people that all-white, blue-eyed cats will usually go blind at an early age. As the owner of a wonderful blue-eyed, white cat (seven years old), I am concerned. Is there any truth to this, or is it an old wives’ tale? (I hope it is.)
Kittens are born with blue eyes. They can stay that way, but more commonly, their eye color will start to change as they mature and the production of the pigment melanin occurs. Adult cats with blue eyes aren’t widespread. When it does occur, it is a result of their genetics. The production of pigment in their irises doesn’t occur, and when light reflects off the rounded surface of their eyes, they look blue in color. Cats with blue eyes run the spectrum in terms of their personality types and activity levels. Some breeds are closely related while others are more distinct.
The Balinese is a pointed cat breed that will always have deep blue eyes. The long coat of these strikingly beautiful felines came about as a result of a spontaneous genetic mutation in purebred Siamese cats.
Known for being intelligent, inquisitive, playful, and loving, Balinese cats can make great family pets. Physical Characteristics: Slender body with a long tail and pointed ears; coats are long and silky in creamy white with pointed colors around the face, ears, tail, and paws The Birman is another attractive pointed cat breed with blue eyes.
Himalayan eyes are always vivid blue, and its coat, which comes in a variety of shades, is long and dense. Physical Characteristics: Wide chest, round abdomen, and muscular build; can often look bigger than they actually are; coat comes in cream, gray, blue, and chocolate with pointed markings However, its eyes are always an unusually deep shade of blue, despite not having pointed or solid white coloring.
The origin of the breed dates back to 1984 when a tortoiseshell cat from a feral colony in New Mexico produced a litter with intense blue eyes like hers. With their soft and silky coats, distinctive smushed faces, and sweet personalities, Persians are one of the most popular and recognizable cat breeds. Physical Characteristics: Sturdy build; “smushed” face; round, vivid eyes; long, silky coat in solid, bicolor, tabby, calico, and other color variations and patterns
Plenty of company during the day and lots of at-home enrichment are important to prevent these energetic and social cats from becoming bored. Physical Characteristics: Large, semi-longhaired coat; blue eyes; coloring can vary With its striking almond-shaped blue eyes, pointed coloring, elegant physique, and sociable nature, is it any surprise?
Physical Characteristics: Sleek body; almond-shaped blue eyes; large ears; wedge-shaped head Physical Characteristics: Light body with darker points on the ears, face, legs, and tail; usually a white chest; short to medium coat length Physical Characteristics: Long, silky single coat; white with various color combinations
Physical Characteristics: Base colors are platinum, champagne, blue, and natural; patterns are solid, mink, and point
In the general cat population, pure white cats are fairly rare, as they require a gene that hides every other possible coat color and pattern in a cats genetic makeup. These kinds of cats can have long or short coats and be a single breed or a mix. Sometimes, they do have light-colored eyes. Blue eyes in cats are usually caused by a lack of pigment; the kittens are born with blue eyes and thats because cats do not get to develop eye pigmentation until the production of melanin around six weeks old.
White cats have a genetic makeup that is absolutely similar to that of albino humans, who lack pigment; and this invariably gives them some vulnerabilities, like sensitivity to UV light. Even though few studies have been done to link this to genes known to be involved in human Waardenburg syndrome, which is a syndrome of hearing loss and depigmentation caused by a genetic disruption to neural crest cell development, such a disruption would lead to this presentation in cats as well.
Waardenburg syndrome type 2A (caused by a mutation in MITF) has been observed in many pets and small mammals such as dogs, minks, and mice; at least patchy white depigmentation and some degeneration of the cochlea and saccule, as in deaf white cats, has been found. Cat breeds with blue eyes include the Persian, Balinese, Himalayan, Siamese, Birman, and Javanese. In the first days of their life, they may look all white and pink, but then they start developing dark ear edges and nose tips after that.
Their point colors are found around in cooler areas of their body, such as the face, ears, legs, and tail. The layer of fat in overweight Siamese works as an insulator and the cat can become darker in its body.
In cats, inherited congenital (present from birth) deafness is seen almost exclusively in white coated individuals. The deafness is caused by degeneration of the auditory apparatus of the inner ear and may affect one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral).
This gene appears to be pleiotropic ie, it has more than one effect, being responsible for the white coat colour and also blue eyes and deafness. In a feral situation deaf white cats experience strong negative natural selection pressure as: