While all cats are incredible and perfect, white cats have their own special magic. Some cat-loving people claim that white cats tend to be a bit on the shy side. Others swear the sweet kitties bring good luck. In Russia, white cats are associated with money and prosperity. They’re also said to hold grudges longer than other cats, but feline grudge-holding is usually exquisitely linked to the seriousness of the human offense, not coat color. Below, you’ll find seven amazing facts about white cats.
The 7 Amazing Facts About White Cats
1. They Can Be Found in Several Breeds
White fur is common in several breeds, including Persian and Maine Coon cats. Siamese, Turkish Angora, and Norwegian Forest Cats can also have white fur. While white is often the color most associated with Turkish Angora cats, they can also have black, brown, and red fur!
White coats are linked to a specific gene that affects melanin production by limiting or repressing its expression. Cats with white coat genes can make melanin, but they simply don’t in some places.
2. They Have Specific Eye Colors
Feline eyes come in several colors: orange, yellow, hazel, blue, green, and copper. But white cats typically have eyes that are blue, gold, or copper, although some have eyes of different colors.
All kittens are born with blue eyes; it’s the way cats’ eyes appear before pigmentation develops. Kittens’ eyes start to change colors when they’re around 4 to 8 weeks old. Darker eyes have more melanin and therefore reflect less light. The gene that reduces melanin production also impacts feline eyes, which is why white cats often have blue eyes.
3. They’re Sometimes Deaf
Anywhere from 65 to 85 percent of white cats with blue eyes are born deaf. The gene that creates that gorgeous white fur is linked to feline deafness. Most deaf cats live happy and healthy lives, and they often navigate the world quite well by relying on their other feline super-senses, such as smell and vibrations picked up through their paws and whiskers.
Deaf cats usually fare better indoors, as their lack of hearing can make them vulnerable to predators when enjoying unsupervised outdoor time.
4. They Can Be Sensitive to the Sun
Cats with white fur can easily end up sunburnt if they spend too much time outdoors in direct sunlight. Feline ears and noses are particularly vulnerable. Cats with white fur that spend lots of time in the sun are often at increased risk for developing conditions such as skin cancer and squamous cell carcinoma. While outdoor cats are at higher risk, indoor pets can burn if exposed to UV rays through windows.
5. They Aren’t Terribly Common
Several cats have coats that feature a bit of white, such as tuxedo cats and bi-colored kitties. But completely white cats only make up a small percent of the feline world, although calling them rare would be a serious stretch. Unlike calico and orange tabby cats, white cats aren’t mostly male or female.
6. They’re Not Albino Cats
Albino cats have white fur, but they’re not really white cats. The condition is linked to a rare recessive gene; both parents must carry at least one copy for kittens to express the trait. Albino cats can’t produce melanin, particularly in their fur, skin, and eyes, while melanin production is suppressed in white cats.
There are other physical differences between the two, including eye color. White cats often have gold, blue, or copper eyes, but light blue, red, and pink are the most commonly seen eye colors in albino cats.
7. They’re All Over Popular Culture
White cats have appeared on the big screen over the years, including in Disney’s classic animated film, The Aristocats. White cats have also had roles in James Bond and Austin Powers movies. A white cat was featured in The White Cat and the Monk, which is an illustrated reimagining of a classic Irish legend named one of the 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2016 by the New York Times Book Review.
White cats come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. The color isn’t specific to any one breed. It’s commonly found in Persian, Maine Coon, and British Shorthair cats. It’s also seen in sweet, adorable moggies! Many white cats with blue eyes are born deaf since the gene that results in their snowy color also impacts their hearing. Although white cats may face more challenges than felines with other coat colors, such as the sunburn risk, they make excellent pets and companions.
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