Cats are incredibly elegant creatures and there's no denying they all have beautiful expressive eyes. However, there's something very special about a blue-eyed cat and their stare can often be quite mesmerising. It's easy to understand why in ancient times, cats were thought of as mystical and magical creatures especially when you meet a blue-eyed feline for the first time.
The actual blue in cat’s eyes is made up of pigment cells found in the iris which are known as melanocytes. The iris is made up of two layers, both of which contain this substance namely the outer layer which is known as the stroma and the inner layer closer to the back of the eye, being called the epithelium. In the stroma the amount of melanocytes is loosely packed whereas in the epithelium it is densely packed.
It's the amount of melanocytes found in the stroma that dictates the colour of a cat's eyes with the least amount producing the colour blue and the highest amount producing brown and copper coloured eyes, medium amounts produce green coloured eyes etc. If there is no melanocytes found in the stroma at all, the result is that cats and other animals end up with red eyes.
With a blue-eyed cat, the colour can be very pale to a very deep and rich royal blue. However, when first born, all kittens have gorgeous blue eyes but as they get older, their eyes change colour and then at eight weeks old the colour of their eyes is set for the rest of their lives.
In blue-eyed white cats, the gene responsible is traditionally symbolised with a letter “W”. This is a dominant gene which suppresses any further colour from forming in a cat's coat hence they remain white. Many blue-eyed white cats are often found to be deaf because this dominant “W” gene affects the cells in their ears from developing properly – although not all white cats are affected by this defect.
There are 5 known alleles for albinism in cats which are as follows:
From the albino group only the blue-eyed Albino and the Siamese are found to have blue eyes and the gene responsible for other colourpoint cat breeds is known to be a recessive one. In short, this means their offspring will inherit it from both parents if both of them have the gene in question.
Among the most common felines, white spotted cats can boast being completely white or just having a few white hairs which are known as “lockets”. It's when the white spotting is found around their eyes that they will be blue in colour.
The Ojos Azules is one of the rarest breeds of cat on the planet that boasts a coloured coat together with blue eyes. Whereas a blue eyed Siamese can be predisposed to a condition called strabismus, commonly known as being cross eyed, and epistasis cats tend to be deaf, the gene responsible for both these conditions does not affect either the ears or the eyes of a Ojos Azules – hence they are neither deaf nor cross eyed
With this said, the breed does tend to suffer from other congenital health problems which includes cranial defects as well as stillbirth. The only way to avoid any congenital problems occurring in a Ojos Azules, is to make sure they are mated with a cat that does not boast blue eyes.
The following breeds all have gorgeous blue eyes:
There are other breeds of cat that boast having blue eyes but this does depend on the colour of their coats:
There are some amazing breeds of cats that boast having blue eyes, some of which are more commonly found than others. The rarer breeds like the Ojos Azules are absolutely stunning looking felines but then so are so many of the other breeds around too. In times long past, the cat was thought of as possessing magical powers and if you ever meet a white cat with blue eyes, it's easy to understand why. Cats are lovely, elegant creatures they are loyal, loving and great fun to have around which is why they are one of the most popular pets on the planet!