Blue Eyed Cats

Beautiful Blue-Eyed Cats

Cat lovers are infatuated with cats’ eyes, and blue eyes are especially striking and desirable. The color is bright and the cat seems to be able to see into ones very soul. This unique trait causes many a cat lover to search for a blue-eyed pet. Of all eye colors in cats, however, blue eyes are the least common. The color has a unique genetic characteristic.

It is helpful to know a little of the genetic make up of cats to understand the blue-eyed trait. According to the breed standards of the The Cat Fanciers Association, the largest registry of pedigreed cats, there are only a few breeds that have blue eyes in the entire population. Siamese, the popular breed displaying pointed, or color tipped ears, nose, and tail, are the most well known. Birmans and Ragdolls, although not quite as popular, are striking long-haired breeds with all blue eyes.

Three other breeds of cats, the Colorpoint Shorthairs, Balanese, and Javanese, all have blue eyes. However, each of these breeds is a hybrid or derivative of the Siamese. The gene for the blue eye colorpoint is thus passed down from the Siamese line.

Many breeds have blue eyes associated with certain coat colors, mostly white or bi-color coats. Bi-colored cats are white with large spots or patches of another, darker color. The white is considered the base or major coat color. Not all of these cats have blue eyes, but many do.

The white color gene is somewhat different from the genes for other colors, and is notable because it masks other colors. That is why a white cat can have black, red, or any other color kittens, especially when bred with a male that carries the same masked genes. Breeders can breed two white cats together, and then have a litter of mostly white kittens, and often with a darker colored kitten tossed into the mix.

The gene for blue eyes is linked or associated with the white coat gene. This causes a high percentage of white cats to have blue eyes. However, there is a down side to this association. Many of these white coated cats with blue eyes are deaf. Although not all are, the percentage is high enough to cause concern for the breeder. Odd-eyed cats, those with one blue eye and one gold or green eye, can also be deaf.

In the general cat population, that is, those outside the pedigreed show circuit, blue eyes are most likely the result of an interbreeding with a Siamese cat somewhere back in the family tree. Often, the blue eye color gene will just “pop up” in a later generation. This definitely shows that much is still to be learned about genetics in general, and cat genetics in particular. The genetic eye color anomaly due to the white coat gene is, for some reason, easily lost as cats of various colors interbreed.

Whatever the biological reason, that winsome cat in the shelter with the stunning blue eyes, is striking and attractive. Plus, this trait does not affect the cat’s personality it any way. If you take her home, she will be a beautiful and unique addition to your family and a great pet.