Why Do Some Cats Have Two Different Colored Eyes?

Some cats are born with different colored eyes, and it certainly makes for an interesting look. 

If you have a cat with this genetic anomaly, you’ll be interested to learn all about it. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about your cat’s distinguished eyes.

Heterochromia in Cats

The reason that certain cats have different colored eyes is because of a genetic condition called heterochromia. This is something that the cat inherits from their parents. You will see the eye colors your cat will have for the rest of its life when it reaches 12 weeks old.

Cats that are born with heterochromia can develop a wide range of color combinations. One of the cat’s eyes is always some shade of blue though. Other cats have a brown eye and a blue eye. It’s all about the cat’s genetics when it comes right down to it.

While all kittens are born with blue eyes, they often do not stay that way. The melanin travels into the iris, which ultimately decides the color of the animal’s eyes.

The same gene that is responsible for giving a cat its white-colored fur can also block melanin from entering into one of their eyes. This results in one of the cat’s eyes were pale blue, while the other is something else entirely.

Feline Eye Color

Cats can develop eye colors that vary from a brilliant blue to a deep green. There are a number of factors that are connected to a feline’s eye color, such as their breed and genetic lineage. In other words, the cat’s parents play an important role in what their eye color will eventually be.

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There are certain cat breeds that always have the same eye color. For example, Siamese cats have blue eyes without exception. Cats that are the result of selective breeding often have particularly vibrant eyes. This is just one of the reasons that they tend to cost a lot more.

The quantity of melanocytes that enter into a cat’s eye as it is developing determines what the color is going to be. If there aren’t many melanocytes in a cat’s eye, it is far more likely to be green than any other color. If there are lots of melanocytes, at least one of your cat’s eyes will likely have an orange coloration.

two colored eyes cat e1584773879933

Health Problems

It is a statistical fact that up to three out of ten cats that develop heterochromia are completely deaf. While there is no scientific explanation for this as of yet, it has been observed time and time again in studies involving these animals. Keep in mind that a majority of cats with this genetic condition have a perfect hearing when they are born.

Deafness is a particular problem for lots of cats with heterochromia because of the gene that causes it in the first place. This gene has been known to cause the animal’s cochlea to degrade quickly, which can result in a total loss of hearing.

If you ever notice that one of your cat’s eyes has gone white, it might not be heterochromia. In fact, this is a common sign of glaucoma. While this eye condition usually occurs in older cats, it can start at pretty much any age. If your cat’s glaucoma is not treated soon, it can quickly progress to complete blindness.

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Are Certain Cats More Likely to Have Different Colored Eyes?

There are in fact certain cat breeds that are more likely than others to have odd-colored eyes. This includes Turkish angoras, Japanese bobtails, and Turkish vans. In terms of sheer statistics, these breeds tend to have the highest incidence of heterochromia.

The Turkish Van is a beautiful but hard-to-find cat that is known for being extremely smart. These cats make excellent companions and have thick fluffy coats that are typically brown and cream-colored.

The Turkish Angora is a completely white cat that originated from Europe. It has a lean but muscular body and a fairly high overall energy level. 

There is also the Khao Manee, which many people forget about. This cat is also pretty rare, and it is prone to heterochromia due to its genetic makeup. These cats definitely have a reputation for being quite playful and fun.

Different Types of Heterochromia

You might be interested to learn that cats can actually have different types of heterochromia. Some of these animals have “complete heterochromia”, while others just have “partial heterochromia”. 

The first type results in a cat with a blue eye and some other color, while the second kind causes one iris to have two totally unique colors.

There is also “central heterochromia”, which is when the part of your cat’s eyes that surrounds the pupil is different than the remaining part of the iris.

white cat on a floor

What to Know About Caring for a Cat with Heterochromia

There are really no special instructions needed for taking care of a cat that has heterochromia. If your cat is deaf, however, you will most likely need to make certain adjustments to how you care for it. Your veterinarian will be able to help you out with this.

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Conclusion

  • Heterochromia is the genetic condition that causes a cat’s eyes to be different colors.
  • Some cats have complete heterochromia, which causes one of the eyes to be blue and the other a totally different color.
  • There is also partial heterochromia, which is when your cat’s eyes are two completely unique colors.
  • Deafness is somewhat common in cats that have heterochromia.
  • All kittens are born with blue eyes, but very few of them do not change as they grow and develop.
  • There are certain types of cats that are more likely to be born with heterochromias, such as Turkish angoras, Japanese bobtails, and Turkish vans.
  • You don’t have to do anything special to care for a cat with heterochromia unless it is also deaf.
  • If you notice that your cat develops two different colored eyes, you’ll also want to get their hearing tested by a veterinarian.
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