Eyes may be the window to the soul, but in cats, those windows come in many colors. If you’ve ever wondered if it’s true that most cats have green eyes, we are here to answer your question! In fact, green is not the most common eye color in cats, although it is not the rarest either.
In this article, we’ll discuss which cat breeds often have green eyes and how cat eye color develops in the first place. We’ll also reveal the most common eye color among our feline friends and why purebred cats tend to have the most gorgeous hues to their eyes.
What Makes Cat Eyes Green (Or Any Other Color?)
The colored portion of the cat’s eye is called the iris; it surrounds the dark pupil in the center. Within the iris, most cats have cells called melanocytes that produce melanin or color. They are the same cells responsible for the cat’s coat color, and the kitty’s specific genetic makeup controls both.
The more melanocytes the cat has, the darker its eyes will be. The intensity or brightness of the cat’s eyes is related to how active the color-producing cells are.
Blue-eyed cats are the exception to this general rule. They have no melanocytes, and their eyes are technically clear. However, the shape of the cat’s eyes reflects light in such a way that they appear blue to us.
Kittens generally appear to be born with blue eyes because their melanocytes don’t start producing until they are 4–6 weeks old. You may not be able to tell their true eye color until they are as old as 4 months.
What Is the Most Common Cat Eye Color?
Generally, yellow/gold is considered the most common eye color for cats. The cats’ eyes can range from pale yellow to dark amber. Most mixed-breed cats tend to have eyes either this color or the next most common, hazel (green-gold).
Green eyes are found in some mixed-breed cats but are most common in purebreds, like the Egyptian Mau, Russian Blue, Sphynx, and Norwegian Forest Cat. The specific tint of the eyes can be anywhere from pale green to emerald to a dark, hunter green.
Other possible cat eye colors are blue, orange, and copper. Copper tends to be as dark as cat eyes get since cats don’t display true brown or black hues.
The brightest and most vivid eye colors are usually found in purebred cats. Many of these kitties have breed standards calling for a specific color. Because they are bred deliberately rather than mating at random, cat breeders can purposefully choose the cats with the most highly colored eyes to reproduce.
Is Coat Color Related To Eye Color?
As we mentioned, both coat and eye color are controlled by melanocytes and dictated by genetics. However, they are not the result of the same melanocytes, so there typically is not a connection between coat and eye color. For example, you may see a black cat with pale yellow eyes.
Because of their specific dominant color gene, white cats are more likely to have blue eyes than other coat colors. While you may have heard that all white cats with blue eyes are also deaf, that is a myth. However, there is inherited deafness connected with the white color gene.
Rare & Unusual Cat Eye Colors
Rarely, you’ll see a cat with two different color eyes, which is a condition called heterochromia iridium. This phenomenon is generally either a congenital disability or inherited from the parents. Eye trauma can also result in a color change.
A dichromatic eye is the rarest of all cat eye colors and indicates two different shades within the same iris. This intriguing look is caused when the cat has differing pigment levels in sections of the iris.
Although it’s natural to be drawn to a cat with striking eye color, such as green, selecting a new pet based on looks is unwise. Many cats with green eyes are purebred and come with unique personalities, health conditions, and care needs. For the cat’s sake, consider whether they are a good match for your household or living situation before committing to adopt or buy.
Featured Image Credit: Anna Azarenko, Shutterstock