Blue eyed cats are rare, and spectacular. Learn what makes a cat's eyes blue, and what cat breeds can be blue eyed.
Blue eyed cats have the rarest eye colour of all cats. The rarity of blue eyes makes them even more alluring: it is not often you will ever see a cat that has truly blue eyes.
Some pedigree breeds have developed over many generations to have blue eyes. Moggie cats can also blue eyes, but that is particularly rare. Many of Instagram’s famous cats have vivid blue eyes.
Blue eyed cat breeds
Whilst blue eyes can occur in any cat breed, and even in moggie cats, there are some breeds in which they occur more often, and are a much more developed blue:
Ragdoll cats (some, but not all are blue eyed cats)
Ragamuffin (some, but not all are blue eyed cats)
Siamese cats, because they are actually colourpoints
Birmese, also colourpoints
Himalayan, also colourpoints
Turkish vans - are blue eyed cats or can have odd eyes
British Shorthairs in colourpoint, or harlequin/high-white cats
Some moggie cats - usually white moggie cats
What causes blue eyed cats?
Blue eyes are caused by a total lack of pigment in the iris. The eye is not actually blue, but clear. Because of the way the light reflects on a clear iris, the eyes look blue. Because blue eyes are at the absolute most extreme end of the genetic scale of eye colour, they are not found very often.
There are a number of coat patterns that can create blue eyes in cats:
The Colourpoint gene
The colourpont gene was bred into British Shorthairs from Siamese cats, but it is also a gene that is present in many other cat breeds including Birmans. The colourpoint gene has a very special effect: it only allows the pigment in the cat’s fur to develop where the skin is at its coldest. This means that the extremities of the cat become darker, because they are colder. The warmer parts of the cats body stay much lighter - so the main body of the cat is very light but the tail, face, arms and legs are much darker. This gene also has an effect on eye colour. It inhibits the pigment of the iris from developing, so instead of the eyes being their usual colour, they are blue. For example a lilac British Shorthair cat would have orange eyes, but a lilac colourpoint British Shorthair cat would have blue eyes. The colourpoint gene creates blue eyed cats with light bodies. See some of our colourpoint British Shorthairs.
The white spotting gene
The mechanics of the white spotting gene are not yet fully understood. Basically, if a cat has the white spotting gene, then when the cat is developing in the womb the white spotting gene somehow inhibits the pigment from spreading over the cat’s body. The result is that a bicolour cat is created. Usually, but not always, the white is on the underside of the cat, so the cat will have a white tummy, white feet and a white facemask. Sometimes, however, the white can be on the top of the cat, although this is not very common! If the white covers the cats eyes, then there is a chance that the eyes will be blue. This is because if the white spotting gene inhibits the development of pigment in the skin around the eyes, it sometimes also inhibits the development of the colour of the iris. The result is that the cat has blue eyes.
The picture below shows one of our British Shorthair kittens, who has the white spotting gene, and the white is covering her eyes:
The dominant white gene
The dominant white gene is different from the white spotting gene. The dominant white gene masks the colour of the entire cat, so the cat appears to be a white cat, although genetically it could be a black cat, with the addition of the dominant white gene. Again, the dominant white gene can prevent the colour of the iris developing, resulting in blue eyes. With the dominant white gene, if it does affect the eyes it can also affect the cat’s ability to hear, and as a result a much larger proportion of blue-eyed white cats are deaf.
The odd eyed gene
The odd-eyed gene is not yet fully understood, but those breeders who are working with it believe that it is a recessive gene. The effect is that one eye will be blue and the other will be orange, green or any other colour.
If you are searching for a blue eyed cat, please be aware that lots of photographs are heavily edited to enhance the colours. Also, be aware that all kittens have blue eyes when they are born. Kittens’ eyes usually start to change colour from around 6 weeks old. In British Shorthairs, they do not reach their final colour until they are about a year old.
If you are looking for a blue eyed cat, have a look at our colourpoint cats and kittens...they have exceptional blue eyes!
You can also see if we have any British Shorthair kittens available.