Although blue eyed cats aren’t the norm, and are outnumbered by cats with green, amber or golden eyes, there are indeed several blue-eyed breeds.
The question of why certain cats and certain breeds are blue eyed can only be answered by complicated genetics involving concepts like whether a cat has the dominant or spotted white gene and whether it is an albino.
The number of color-creating pigment cells, melanocytes, found in a cat’s eye also plays a part in determining eye color: the fewer melanocytes, the bluer the cat’s eyes.
There is also a genetic link between the color of the coat and the eyes and whether or not the cat will be deaf, and many white-coated blue eyed cats are indeed deaf.
All kittens have blue eyes when they’re born but, for most, their eyes will begin to change color at about eight weeks of age.
A special few will grow up to have blue eyes, though, and the shades naturally occurring in nature can range from the ice-blue of the Himalayan to the dark, compelling blue of the Ojos Azules.
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Blue eyed cat breeds can be divided into two broad groups: breeds like the Siamese and the Snowshoe where blue eyes are the norm and breeds like the Manx and the Persian where the cat will have blue eyes only if its coat is a certain color.
All of these breeds are also colorpoints, and, here, blue eyes are always in evidence because these cats possess the recessive albino/white gene.
A very special word must be said about the newly recognized Ojos Azules breed, whose name is Spanish for “Blue Eyes”.
Unlike the colorpoint breeds, the Ojos Azules will have blue eyes no matter the color of their coat, and the only exception to this rule are the white-coated variety.
Also, although the gene resulting in these cats’ blue eyes is not linked to either deafness or the cross-eyed look so prevalent among Siamese, breeders must move with caution as too much inbreeding results in unwelcome genetic weaknesses.
Breeding Ojoz Asules with cats of other eye-color will, however, produce litters where half of the kittens will grow up to have the breed’s startling blue eyes.
The second group of blue eyed cat breeds are those where a cat will have blue eyes only if his or her coat is of a certain color.
Breeds falling into this group include the Scottish Fold, the LaPerm, the Snow Bengal, various Rexes and the Ragamuffin.
This phenomenon is tied to the spotted white gene, and cats with this gene will have blue eyes only if the white spotting surrounds the eyes.
Blue eyed cats are stunningly beautiful and seem to posses a magical and mysterious quality missing in other cats.
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