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Why Do Some Cats Have Two Different Colored Eyes

Wonder why do some cats have two different colored eyes? The key to eye color is melanin. Melanin is a black or dark brown pigment which is present in hair, skin, and eyes of animals. According to Scientific American:

Brown eyes are rich in melanin deposits, and blue eyes indicate a lack of melanin.

When eyes are blue it is the scattering of light in the iris that causes it rather than pigmentation —  it works just the same way that the sky looks blue.

Why do some cats have two different colored eyes?

A beautiful odd eyed cat (yellow right, blue left) courtesy of Keith Kissel

All kittens are born with blue eyes and when they get older the melanin changes their eyes to copper, orange, yellow or green. Sometimes this happens in one eye and not the other. This happens particularly in white cat — the fur of white cats has no pigmentation, the cause being one specific gene.

Why Do Some Cats Have Two Different Colored Eyes? It’s in the genes–

It is rare for a non-white cat to have odd eyes, though this does arise. Normally the odd eyes are caused by the white gene interfering with the way the eye absorbs melanin. It is often believed all odd eyed cats are deaf. In fact many, though not all, white cats with blue eyes are deaf, and around 30% of odd-eyed cats suffer this problem. In the latter case deafness occurs on the side of the blue eye. White cats with orange eyes are no more likely to be deaf than any other cat though.

Why do some cats have two different colored eyes

Another gorgeous white cat — this time with blue and green eye. Courtesy Wikipedia

Why Do Some Cats Have Two Different Colored Eyes? Maybe god just made them that way because they are so cute :)

Odd-eyed cats have often been prized as special cats, especially in the east. According to Swimming Cats:

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938), who founded the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923, declared that his successor would be bitten on the ankle by an odd-eyed white cat. And secondly, legend has it that Mohammed (570 – 632), founder of the Islamic faith, possessed a Traditional Turkish Angora he regarded so highly that rather than disturb it as it slept on his robe, he cut off the sleeve. Mohammed’s Traditional Turkish Angora was reputed to have been odd-eyed (one blue eye and one gold eye).

It is not only cat’s of Turkish origin that have two different colored eyes. In particular, the Japanese Bobtail often exhibits odd-eyes in both all-white and calico colorings. These cats are also highly prized. One strange effect of the odd eyes is that the blue eye creates a red-eye with a flash photograph and the other eye does not. The result can be interesting.

Why do some cats have different colored eyes

Astrid showing the effect of flash on the two eyes creates a dramatic photograph

In summary a cat has odd eyes because of the effect of melanin in one eye and not the other. This is frequently related to the gene involved in the creation of white coats.

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21 comments

  1. My cat is one year old and in his pictures his left eye appears a distinct green (almost like the picture above) in real life his eyes are brown. People keeps telling us this is a symptom of him going blind. Is this true, should we be worried?

    • I don’t know much about cats but if you’r worried i suggest you should go to the vet,hope this helped :D

    • This condition is called heterochromia, and is rare in humans but somewhat common in animals such as cats and horses. As far as I know, it does not affect the health of the animal.

  2. i have a stay cat with two colored eyes it,s stray cat. i pet it all the time.

  3. my cats name is sweetie bell. i love her.

  4. My cat is white and weights 17pounds and has a blue eye and green eye. He is beautiful.

  5. search with google images
    “Turkiye Van Kedisi”

  6. I have a white n Once was a wild cat but he is now tamed. The mother was also white n black with two different coloered eyes. They are not goin blinded there just different. Hes also a great hunter.

  7. My two cats are white with black patches. They have the most beautiful yellow eyes. They are called Ronnie and Reggie and they are both 6months old. They are the world to me and I love them very much x

  8. My parents had a Manx cat when I was little, and not only did “Suzie” have a green eye and a blue eye, so did all of her kittens!

  9. my cats name is pattie. i luv him soooooooooooooo much

  10. i have a cat with green and gold eyes and he is my world

  11. I have 3 beautiful cats they where all strays and they all chose my husband and myself to live with cats choose people, I would lost without them,and they are all spoilt.

  12. Someone dropped off ‘a’ cat, she depleted our mouse population… now there are 16 cats… anyone have a really big mouse?

  13. My cat is a tortoise colored cat, about 8 years old, and has one green eye and one brown eye. She is a very affectionate cat. Loves everyone and her name is Callie.

  14. My 7 y.o. kitty is mostly white with black/brown tabby markings on the very top of her head and tail. She has one blue eye and one that is kind of half blue and half green. I didn’t know, before reading this article, that this phenomenon can happen in cats that are white! now I know! Very interesting.

  15. We used to feed a cat outside for some time, and only just recently brought him in. He is all white, save for a smidgen of black on the top of his head and ears. He has one blue eye (right) and one yellow eye (left). His name is Frankie and he is the sweetest little kitty.

  16. My cat is an awesome one has two different colored eyes and his name is mr pie!

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