When you think of the color of cat eyes, you probably think of emerald green. However, cat eyes come in a rainbow of colors from gold and orange to green and blue. Next time Kitty gazes at you lovingly, take a look at the brilliant color of his peepers.
Almost all kittens are born with blue eyes. As he grows up and his sense of sight develops, his eyes usually change color. At around three months, you'll see the adult color of his eyes rather than his baby blues. It can take up to a year for Kitty's eyes to completely darken to their adult hue. Some breeds, such as the Siamese, stay blue into adulthood.
A Rainbow of Colors
The color of Kitty's eyes is determined by his amount of pigment-producing cells, called melanocytes. If Kitty has a lot of pigment, his eyes will be orange or gold. Green eyes result from having only a few melanocytes. If he has no melanocytes, his eyes will appear blue. If you've ever looked at a pane of glass from the side, it looks blue or green. The same is true for Kitty's eyes. The parts that appear clear reflect blue light.
In rare cases of albinism, where there is no color in the eyes and they refract almost no blue light, the eyes might appear pink because of the blood vessels in them.
Some cats have eyes of different colors, called heterochromia. This is most often seen in solid white cats -- not albinos -- with one eye blue and the other orange, brown or green. Cats of other colors, such as tortoiseshells, also can have mismatched eyes, but this is rare.
The eyes probably developed differently from each other in the womb. Kitty's might appear the same color, but if you take a flash photo of him, one reflects red and the other green. This is because the structures of his eyes can vary slightly from each other, causing differences in the way they reflect the light.
Signs of Sickness
Kitty's eyes can change color due to certain diseases. If his normally green eyes turn orange or red, it could be a sign of an inflammation in his eye called uveitis. If left untreated, it could cause permanent damage.
If his eyes change colors and become dark yellow or brown, it could be a sign of a buildup of red blood cells in his eyes. This could be because of an injury, or it could indicate feline leukemia or feline AIDS.
Any time Kitty's eyes suddenly change color, he should visit his vet. Getting him treatment early could just save his vision.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.