These blue-eyed angels certainly are the darlings of the feline world. Our sensible self, at all times, urges us not to discriminate between pets on the basis of their looks―but it only takes one chance encounter with a beautiful cat gazing at you with his azure eyes to change it all.
Blue-eyed cats aren’t a rarity, but at the same time, their numbers aren’t too abundant either. This phenomenon is mostly seen in cats that have a solid white coat or point markings. That said, one can also find tabbies, torties, and tuxedo-patterned cats with blue eyes. This trait is equally prevalent in males and females.
Factors Influencing the Occurrence of Blue Eyes
The blue coloration in a cat’s eyes is caused by the presence of pigment cells in the iris. These cells are known as melanocytes. The number of melanocytes in the stroma influence the eye color―higher numbers produce brown or copper eyes, whereas fewer melanocytes produce green eyes. In case the melanocyte count is even lower, the cat ends up having blue eyes. The shades can range from a very pale baby blue to a deeper hue of royal blue.
Note that all kittens are born with blue eyes. Their eye color begins to change (or remain the same in case they do have blue eyes) as they grow, usually settling by the time they are about 10 to 12 weeks old.
Blue Eyes and Deafness: What is the Connection?
Not all blue-eyed white cats are necessarily deaf. However, this particular pairing does increase the chances of the cat being born deaf.
The gene influencing this white coat/blue eyes combination is a dominant gene termed W. This gene appears to bear more than one effect, it gives the cat its white-colored coat, blue eyes, and deafness. Interestingly, though, while the gene has complete influence over the coat color, it bears a variable influence causing blue eyes and deafness. Therefore, while deafness may be common among white cats with blue eyes, it cannot be generalized for every member sporting these physical features.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s go check out some cats with blue eyes.
The actively chatty Siamese has beautiful blue eyes and a point-patterned coat―this is a pattern which has dark-colored extremities. The seal-point Siamese is the most famous of them all, with his cream or white body with dark brown tail, legs, ears, and face.
The Himalayan is a cross between a Siamese and the long-haired Persian. This breed inherits the blue eyes and the color-point features of the Siamese, along with the long-haired coat and the docile temperament of the Persian. Truly, the Himalayan cat is a gorgeous and gentle pet.
The Balinese is a long-haired cousin of the Siamese, and is considered to be an independent breed. They possess the same color-point characteristic as the Siamese, and also happen to be just as interactive and talkative with their favorite person.
These gorgeous cats get their name from their ability to flop into the arms of anyone who is holding them―quite like the ragdoll. Their coat is color-pointed as well, and is much softer to touch. Ragdolls rank among the most affectionate cat breeds, and are coveted owing to their appearance and temperament.
There’s nothing you won’t love about the Birman―the Cat Fanciers’ Association bills them as the most loving breed there is. Their soft blue eyes are extremely endearing, as is the cashmere-soft cream coat.