Does a Kitten's Color Change as It Grows?

by Rob Hainer, Demand Media
    Siamese cats are born white and develop darker colors as they mature.

    Siamese cats are born white and develop darker colors as they mature.

    Kittens are born cute and cuddly, and most have their basic adult coloring as well. Some breeds, however, change their coat colors as they mature. A color change might also be signalling a health issue, so keep a close eye on your kitty if she's changing colors unexpectedly.

    Eyes

    Newly born kittens have the prettiest blue eyes you've ever seen -- as soon as their eyes open, that is. However, most cat breeds don't keep blue eyes. By the time your kitten is 3 months old, she should have a new eye color, usually a shade of green or gold. Some kitties that have naturally blue eyes as adults, such as Himalayans, might have reddish or pink eyes when they're born.

    Normal Fur Changes

    A few feline breeds naturally change their coat colors as they grow. Siamese cats, for example, start out white as kittens and grow into their darker points. Persians come in a variety of colors, some of which -- such as the shaded blue-cream coat -- can change as the cat grows up. They normally stick with the same color scheme, but the hair might appear to be two-toned, with blue on the tip and cream closer to the body, as the blue and cream areas switch. Some kittens, especially those that are a red or a smoky color, can be born with faint stripes similar to tabby markings. These are called ghost markings, and they usually fade by the time your kitten gets to be about a year old. They typically mean your cat has a bit of tabby in her, although the gene isn't dominant.

    Health Issues

    An unexpected change in your kitten's color can signal a health issue, so always check with your vet. If your kitty is licking a certain area more than others, the saliva can change the fur color to a reddish tinge. This over-licking might be a result of pain in that area. Patches of fur that change color might mean the skin underneath has changed color, which could be nothing more than a strange pigmentation change or could be as serious as a cancerous tumor. Changing fur color over your feline's entire body could signal a systemic problem, such as kidney or thyroid disease.

    Diet Issues

    Food allergies can cause a bunch of problems for your kitty, including changes in fur color. These allergies are often discovered in kittens as you change foods to match their growing needs. A lack of amino acids such as tyrosine or minerals such as zinc or copper can cause dark coats to look faded or slightly red. Foods high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can give your playful pet a shiny, fluffy coat. Tell your vet about any coat changes and ask for dietary recommendations.

    About the Author

    Rob Hainer began writing and editing for newspapers in 1992. He began his career as a photojournalist in the Army, and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He worked as a copy editor and reporter at "The Marietta Daily Journal," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal" and the "New Haven Register."

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images