How Are Cat Eye Colors Determined

Cats eyes appear larger in relation to the size of their heads. Their eyes range in color – copper, orange, yellow, hazel, green, blue and shades of each color. Cats don’t have black or dark brown eye colors. The deepest eye color is copper.

As with human babies, kittens eyes appear blue at birth. Kittens are actually born with no pigment in their irises, but they look blue or sometimes green due to light refraction.

A cat’s natural eye color appears at 8-12 weeks of age. Some breeds retain their blue eye color such as Siamese, Javanese, Tonkinese, Balinese, Himalayan, Birman, Ragdoll and Snowshoe. Some white cats have blue eyes which are linked to the dominant white gene.

When looking into your cat’s eyes, you can see that at the center is an elliptical black pupil. The iris surrounding the pupil gives the eye its color. Iris is the Greek word for rainbow.

The iris contains melanocytes which are cells containing pigment. The number of melanocytes determines eye color – less melanocytes means lighter eye color, more melanocytes, darker eye color.

Breeders choose those cats with qualities they want to preserve, including eye color and shape.

Most dogs have eye colors that blend well with the color of their fur. Obviously this is not true for cats. But no matter what their eye color happens to be, mixed or purebred, when your cat has that look of love shining from its eyes, it’s all pleasure.

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