Cat eyes come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Not only are feline eyes striking to look at, but the intriguing colors seem to defy nature. But can cats have purple eyes? While a kitty cannot have purple-colored eyes that resemble the stuff of fairytales, some rare albino breeds do possess lilac-hued eyes.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the myth of the purple-eyed cat, what determines cat eye colors, and explore some of the more uncommon ocular colors of cats.
You may have seen internet rumors floating around about magical cats with purple eyes. In reality, no type of feline has purple eyes. However, in certain lighting conditions, lilac or blue-toned eyes may appear purple. This is especially true with albino cat breeds that possess lilac eyes. Lilac is a soft, muted shade of purple.
What Determines Cat Eye Color?
A kitty’s eye color is largely governed by genetics or the physical characteristics passed from one generation to the next. Eye pigment is caused by melanocytes, which are pigment-producing cells found in the iris.
If there are no melanocytes present in the iris, a cat will have blue eyes. Green eyes mean there are low numbers of melanocytes in the iris. On the flip side, high concentrations of melanocytes result in orange-colored cat eyes. The higher the melanocyte count is, the more intense your cat’s eye color will be.
Purebred cats are bred to meet specific breed standards and will typically have deeper eye colors. For example, the Bombay cat breed must have copper eyes while the Siamese must have ice-blue-colored eyes.
Cats generally will have gold, green, hazel, aqua, or blue eyes.
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Rare Cat Eye Colors
Some of the rarest kinds of cat-eye colors include copper, orange, odd-colored eyes, and diachronic eyes.
Orange-colored eyes are prominent among the Devon Rex, Maine Coon, Turkish Van, Japanese Bobtail, and American Wirehair cat breeds. Their eyes are as vivid as orange pumpkins and were originally developed by British cat breeders who wanted a stark contrast between the cat’s eye color and their coats.
Copper-colored cat eyes are light brown with hints of orange and red. Cornish Rexes, Bombays, and Persians all have copper eyes.
Odd-colored cat eyes, or heterochromia eyes, are eyes that have different colors in each iris. For example, a cat with heterochromia may have a green eye and a blue eye. This discoloration can be inherited, congenital (a genetic “mistake”), or could be the result of an injury. Sphynx, Persian, and Turkish Van cat breeds can have odd-colored eyes.
Cats that have diachronic eyes have two distinct colors within both eyes. For instance, a cat can have brown and blue hues in one eye. This is due to mismatched melanocyte levels in different sections of the eye. Sometimes, the eye will be split into two different colors. Other times, the cat may have clearer pupils that transform into another color on the outer edges of the eye.
While cats can’t have purple eyes, they certainly can possess wonderful eye colors! From green and gold to copper and blue, cat eye colors are unique to every feline.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels