Did you ever stared into your feline’s eyes and wondered how beautiful their eyes could actually get? Have you ever wondered if your cat falls into some rare group of something, like rare eye color?
A cat eye color chart that we prepared will help you since you’ll have an insight into all the possible colors in one place. Domestic cats can have various eye colors, and in fact, the spectrum of their eye colors is much broader than any other domestic species, yes, including dogs.
Cat eye colors have more varieties and shades than most other animals in the animal world. However, their eyes are unique for one more thing, and that is their extraordinary gaze. The cat eye has a vertical pupil, which makes them stand out from other animals’ eyes.
When you combine a vertical pupil with beautiful colors like blue, red, copper, green, orange, and yellow, you get the most fantastic feature of an animal. Some of those seem to be “specially picked” cats because they have different colored eyes, making them even more unique in this cat world.
Some eye colors can be seen with a specific breed, while other eye colors are common with both crossbreds and purebred cats.
Cat Eye Color Chart
Even though cats’ eyes can be in many different shades, it seems like most cats have dark brown, yellow or blue eyes. However, there is much more under the surface. In about a few seconds, you’ll see other eye colors that are truly amazing.
It is essential to know that a kitten’s eyes are always blue, but the actual color develops in the 6th or 7th week. However, the eyes of the matured cats don’t change color.
Prepare yourself to see some of the most beautiful eyes following our cat eye color chart!
1. Green-Eyed Cats
While green eyes are rare among humans, in cats, they happen to be very common. The green in the eyes of cats can be shades of green to a yellow hue, to true green and blue shades in the green color.
It is common to see flecks of yellow and gold in the iris of these cats. In green eyes, melanin is absent in the cat’s iris. Green eyes are common in breeds like Havana, which usually have emerald green, Russian Blue cats that have strong green eyes, Norwegian Forest cats that have green shades, and Egyptian Mau that has a bright gooseberry hue.
2. Blue-Eyed Cats
Blue-eyed cats are cats without melanin in their irises. Blue cat’s eyes are the most wonderful thing out there, aren’t they? But, can you believe that the blue color that we see is actually the reflection of the curved sides of the irises?
Blue eyes have many different shades, going from pale sky blue to brilliant and deep sapphire. White cats are those that are blessed to have blue eyes. The reason is that the dominant white gene doesn’t let other genes and codes for color to intervene, which results in blue-eyed white cats.
Blue-eyed white cats are more likely to have deafness than those white cats that have yellow or green eyes. The genes for blue eyes and genes for white coats affect the inner ear part called cochlea to degenerate after birth.
The reason behind this is that the genes for blue eyes and white coats cause the cochlea, which is the inner ear part, to degenerate soon after birth.
The cat breeds known to have blue eyes are Ragdoll and Siamese breeds, along with Persian, Maine Coon, Himalayan, Birman, American Shorthair, Snowshoe, British Shorthair, and Devon Rex. A Tonkinese is worth mentioning since this cat breed has aqua blue eyes that are nowhere to be seen except with this breed.
3. Yellow-Eyed Cats
Yellow eyes can be bright yellow, golden yellow, and pale. The Burmese are known for their incredible gold eyes, especially with show cats that exhibit the most unusual color patterns. Yellow eyes happen due to small amounts of melanin in the iris.
Besides the Burmese, Bombay, Bengal, Sphynx, British and American Shorthair, and Manx can have yellow eyes. Yellow eyes can also be seen also with crossbreed and Norwegian Forest cats.
The thing is that yellow eyes are common among orange tabbies.
4. Hazel-Eyed Cats
See, a hazel-eyed cat is impressive, isn’t it? Hazel-eye is easily seen among wild cats like Bobcats and Lynx, but hazel is a common eye color with feral cats too.
Bengal, Cornish Rex, Scottish Fold, Singapura, and Abyssinian are cat breeds that can sport amazing hazel eyes.
5. Copper-Eyed Cats
Of all colors, this one is the darkest among cats. The eyes will be light brown with shades of orange and red. Sometimes you can notice spots of orange, green, or yellow, and this color is not so common in cats.
Cornish Rex, Persian, Japanese Bobtail, Chartreux, and Maine Coon can have beautiful copper eyes.
6. Orange-Eyed Cats
Another rare solid eye color is definitely orange, and it has less red than amber eyes. Orange eyes contain shades of ochre, carrot orange, apricot, and orange marigold.
Sometimes it is hard to differentiate yellow eyes with shades of green and green eyes with yellow spots; it is completely clear when it comes to recognizing orange eyes.
British cat breeders desired a cat with eyes that would be special and refreshing along with any coat color, and they’ve come up with the idea to develop orange eyes.
Cat breeds that can sport orange eyes are Maine Coon, Japanese Bobtail, Devon Rex, and American Wirehair, but Turkish Van is regularly seen with orange eyes.
Keep in mind that if your adult cat changes her regular eye color to orange, you need to see the vet for a check-up to see if there is an illness.
7. Dichroic Eyes
Dichroic eyes are very distinctive and easy to spot since the cat with these eyes will have two different colors in both eyes.
This is truly rare and a sight to behold. The reason behind their different eyes is the different levels of melanin in different parts of their irises. Often, one color surrounds the pupil with an easy blend into another color.
But, other times, the colors will be split into sections, so one half of the eye or one quarter will be one color, while the rest of it will be a different color. It also happens that one eye is dichroic while the other is solid colored.
8. Odd-colored Eyes
Have you had a chance to encounter a cat with odd-colored eyes? What does the term odd-colored eyes mean?
The term for that is heterochromia iridium which basically means that every iris is a different color. The reason for that may be that cat inherited that or some genetic issue happened while the cat’s embryo was developing, or some injury or accident.
When a white spotting gene or white gene blocks the dispensation and collection of pigment in the iris while developing, heterochromia occurs.
White cats are the ones that mostly have odd-colored eyes due to epistatic genes. While one eye might be orange, hazel, green, or yellow, another will be blue. The standard for, let’s say, white Persians requires that the other eye must be vivid orange.
Odd-eye white cats have one non-white eye, the color of it is usually yellow, green, or different tones of blue.
Japanese Bobtail, Sphynx, Turkish Van, and Persian cat can have odd-colored eyes.
9. Amber Cat Eyes
Amber eyes are often seen, and they usually have a red undertone. Many cat lovers confuse amber eyes with orange eye color when they see a cat with them, which would then make it one of the rare colors.
But it is noticeable that amber is darker and has more red tones than orange eye color. Amber eyes are usually seen in the breeds like Manx, Bengal, and British Shorthair, those cat breeds often sport yellow eyes.
10. Brown Cat Eyes
Brown eyes are not common as yellow and amber eyes, but they are often seen just like hazel-eyed cats.
Why is that so? Because brown eyes are a variation of hazel eyes that can seem brown to some, considering how dark they might appear. There is no cat breed noticed with truly brown eyes.
11. Albinism Cat Eyes
Albino cat eyes have no melanin, so they will usually appear blue. But, sometimes, albino eyes can seem like a soft shade of lilac purple or pink. It is essential to know that albino eyes are highly sensitive to light, and can damage their eyes if exposed to seriously bright lights.
Albino cats and white cats are not the same since all white cats are not albino, and those that do not have albinism will have some pigmentation in their eyes, but they also can be blue-eyed.
Any breed can have albinism, but mostly Bengals, Domestic Shorthairs, Siameses, and Tonkinese have albinism, but that may have to do with the vast number of Domestic Shorthairs out there.
While white cats are prone to deafness, Albino cats often have eyesight problems.
How Do You Tell What A Cat’s Eye Color Will Be?
It all depends on the levels of melanin that have been transmitted through genes from mothers and fathers. As melanin controls the color of a cat’s eyes, it also has to do with the pigment in the fur and the skin.
The higher the levels of melanin, the darker the fur, but that doesn’t seem to be the same with eye colors since melanin acts differently with eyes. So it is possible that a black cat has blue eyes, which, quite frankly, I’ve seen many times.
It is a well-known fact that kittens are born with blue eyes, but gradually, at the end of six weeks of age, their actual eye color starts to appear. That is when melanin begins to have an effect on the color. At the end of 12 weeks of age, the real eye color is developed.
You can expect gold or orange eyes if the pigment levels are high. Cats with low pigment levels are expected to have green eyes, while those without pigment have blue eyes. But it’s not a reason to panic if your cat has blue eyes from birth and continues to have blue eyes.
What Does A Cat Eye Color Mean?
We will now discuss the cat’s eye colours and eye anatomy. Blue refraction and iris pigmentation are factors responsible for each eye color. But we need to look at the anatomy.
The pigment in the iris can go from light brown to dark brown, which is called eumelanin, orange, golden, copper – lipochrome, lipofuscin, and yellow to red- pheomelanin. Irises don’t consist of hazel, green, grey, or blue melanin since the colors connect many layers of the iris and contact with the light.
There are two layers in the iris, full of melanocytes – pigment-producing cells. The inner layer is the epithelium with tightly packed cells, while the outer part is called stroma, which has loosely organized cells. Both layers produce pigment, but the amounts of production are different.
Myoepithelial cells and epithelium pigment found at the back of the iris are full of pigment and draw up all the light that comes within their reach. At the same time, the melanin in the stroma varies.
How Does Melanin Affect Eye Color?
Stromal melanocytes that are heavily pigmented will give dark brown eyes. If there is no melanin or just a tiny amount of it in stromal melanocytes will result in grey and blue eyes.
Stromal melanin that is amber and light brown will produce green eyes. Medium amounts of stromal melanin will make green to brown shades and hazel eyes, while lipofuscin will give orange and gold eyes.
Cat’s eyes work like a glass sheet since they draw light. When you look at the light front to front, it is colorless, but when you view it from the side, it seems to have blue or green shades. Collagen that is found in the stroma separates rays of light, but the separation depends on the density and size of collagen layers.
Irises that are grey have more extensive collagen layers that produce a more significant scattering effect, while molecules in the stroma and pigment will cause light rays to separate differently.
What happens with hazel, green and blue eyes is that short wavelengths are reflected while the long wavelengths of light are always absorbed.
How the light will reflect and refract depends on the spacing, density, and size of the fibers found in the stroma.
How Does The Stroma Affect Eye Color?
The stroma thickness is another thing that will affect eye color. Light refraction in the cornea and iris will produce pale-colored irises, while the unpigmented fragments of the stroma will be transparent. The thin stroma will allow the pigments of the after iris to show through, while the pigmented iris will give blue eyes.
When you combine this two, you get hazel and green eye colors. The anterior fragment of pigmented iris will show up as deep brown. If the iris has no pigment, then the eyes can be pink, which is related to the albinism we mentioned earlier. But, there is a high chance that the eyes will be pale blue or lilac due to refraction.
The transparent structure pigmentation and the iris pigmentations are managed by the genes placed in different chromosomes. The kittens from the same cat can have the same genes but still have different eye colors since mixes of those polygenes cause a variety of tones.
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The Intensity And Type Of Color
The intensity of the color and the type of it depends on the amount of melanocytes in the eye and its activity.
The eyes will be blue or pink if the melanocytes are absent. If the number of melanocytes is low, the eyes will be green, but if it’s high, then the eyes will be orange.
Regarding the activity of the melanocytes:
• melanocytes that produce less pigment – lighter shades of eyes
• melanocytes that produce a lot of pigment- deeper shades of eyes
Low melanocytes can give pale green to strong green shades of eyes, and yellow can vary from light amber to deep copper. The activity of the melanocytes has to do with genetics, so if you’re choosing a cat, you can try and select breeds that will have lighter or darker eye colors.
But keep in mind that the final color will be connected with light refraction and reflection.
Does A Specific Breed Determine The Eye Color?
A specific breed determines the eye color in some cases since the eye colors of cats are genetic, like their coat. Many breeds will only have one shade of eye color.
The best representation of it is a Siamese cat that has a connection between coat color and eye color since all Siamese cats will have blue eyes with different tones and intensities.
But, in general, purebred cats are more likely to have more vivid tones of eye color than crossbreds.
Our cat eye color chart covered all possible eye shades and tones of cats. There is no doubt that each cat’s eye color is magnificent, and there are as beautiful inside just as they are on the outside.
If you are an owner of a cat that falls in the group of the rare-eyed colored cats, don’t be shy and share her pictures. We all love to see amazing and unique cuties, don’t we?
Sometimes it is hard to differentiate the colors of your cat’s eyes since they can be so similar, especially when we talk about gold, yellow, and orange tones.
However, practice makes perfect.