Why do some cats have different colored eyes?
It is true and well known that cats are beings of an unequaled beauty. When a cat has eyes of different colors, the charm of it is even greater. This feature is known for heterochromia and is not exclusive to felines: dogs and people may also have different colored eyes.
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In this article by YourCatCareguide we will explain to you why some cats have different colored eyes . Let’s also clarify some questions related to possible diseases and other interesting details that will surprise you! Keep reading!
Ocular heterochromia in cats
Heterochromia is not present only in cats, we can observe this characteristic in any species. It can happen, for example, in dogs and in primates, and it is also common in humans.
There are two types of heterochromia in cats :
- Complete heterochromia: in complete heterochromia we observe that each eye has its own color, for example: one blue eye and one brown eye.
- Partial heterochromia : in this case, the iris of an eye is divided into two colors, such as green and blue. It is much more common in humans.
What causes heterochromia in cats?
This condition may be congenital, that is, of genetic origin, and is directly related to pigmentation. The kittens are born with blue eyes but the true tonality manifests between 7 and 12 weeks of life when the pigment begins to change the color of the iris. The reason the eye is born blue is related to the absence of melanin.
It is important for you to know that this condition can also manifest as a consequence of some illness or injury. In this case it is considered acquired heterochromia , although it is infrequent in cats.
Some of the breeds genetically predisposed to develop heterochromia are:
- Turkish Angora (one of the cats considered best for children )
- Japanese Bobtail (one of the Oriental cat breeds )
- From turco
- British shorthair
Does the color of the hair influence the fact that cats have two-colored eyes?
The genes that control the color of the eyes and skin are distinct. Melanocytes associated with the coat may be more or less active than the eyes. The exception is in white cats . When there is epistasis (expression of genes), white is dominant and masks the other colors. In addition, it makes these cats more likely to have blue eyes compared to the other breeds.
Problems associated with two-color eyes in cats
If the change of eye color in the cat develops in the adult stage it is advisable to visit your veterinarian . When the cat reaches maturity, the change in eye color may indicate a uveitis (inflammation or blood in the cat’s eye). In addition, as we have already mentioned, it may be due to injury or illness. Whatever the case, it is best to visit a specialist.
You should not confuse heterochromia with the cat presenting the white iris . In this case, you may be seeing one of the signs of glaucoma , a disease that causes vision loss gradually. If it is not treated in a timely manner, it may blind the animal.
Curiosities about heterochromia in cats
Now that you know why some cats have eyes of different colors, you are probably interested in knowing some curiosities that YourCatCareguide has to tell you about cats with this condition:
- The Angora cat of the Prophet Muhammad had one eye of every color.
- It is a false myth to believe that cats with one eye of each color only hear from one ear: about 70% of cats with heterochromia have perfectly normal hearing. However, it is true that deafness in white cats is very common. This does not mean that all white cats with blue eyes are deaf, they are simply more likely to have a hearing impairment.
- The actual color of cat’s eyes can be observed from 4 months of age.