12 Cat Breeds With Blue Eyes That Sparkle With Love For You
It's challenging not to be captivated by a kitty's gaze, especially when it's so intently focused on us and only interrupted by languid slow blinks. And few felines are as striking as cat breeds with blue eyes—maybe it's because we don't see them as often as other optic colors such as copper, green, gold, and hazel, which are more common among non-specialty breeds.
Are Blue-Eyed Cats Rare?
Rowyn C. Rose is a science communications specialist at Basepaws, a cat DNA test brand. She tells Daily Paws that cats' eyes have a pigment produced by specialized cells called melanocytes, which are distributed in the iris (the colored part of the eye), as well as the skin and other epithelial surfaces. A cat's eye color and its intensity depend on the abundance of melanocytes in the front layer of the iris, called the stroma. Cat breeds with blue eyes have fewer melanocytes.
"This causes the fibrous tissue in the iris to absorb longer light wavelengths, such as red, and let shorter light wavelengths, such as blue, reflect back out more easily. Because this shorter blue light wavelength can more readily 'escape' the iris, the eyes appear to be blue," Rose says. "In other words, there's no 'blue pigment' in a blue-eyed cat. Rather, it's a lack of pigment that creates this light wavelength absorbing/reflecting phenomenon."
A lack of melanocytes is also why all kittens are born with blue eyes. Rose says kittens are similar to human babies—an overwhelming majority have blue eyes when they're born because pigment doesn't begin to accumulate in the iris until the first few weeks of life. After about 6–8 weeks, their eyes gradually change to their adult color as melanocytes migrate to the iris and produce melanin.
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Rose adds that she's not sure of any current scientific research that indicates that blue eyes, also known as iris hypopigmentation, are necessarily more rare than other feline eye colors—just different.
"Blue eyes may not be as common in random-bred populations, where there's more genetic diversity," she says. "However, I imagine that blue eyes could be considered more specialty or desired traits, since some breed standards specify blue eyes as a requirement for certification of certain purebred breeds."
More fun with cat science to spring on your friends: Rose says Siamese with colorpoint coats actually have a reverse form of albinism characterized by a temperature-sensitive mutation in the tyrosinase (TYR) gene. "Therefore, the coolest parts of the body will be pigmented darker than the rest—such as ears, face, tail, and paws." Or in a word? Gorgeous!
Super social and full of affection, these bright, low-shedding purrballs dispel all myths about aloof cats by being complete 'Velcro kitties'. Another fallacy about this ancient Asian breed is that she'll meow all the time—chatter really depends on each individual, but strike up a convo and see what happens.
Although long-haired Siamese existed for centuries, it was only in the early 1950s that people made an effort to designate them as a separate breed, now known as the rare and lovely Balinese. So named because their grace and luxurious fur reminded one breeder of dancers from Bali, they're quite athletic and quick to climb, so let them survey their catdom from high cat trees and shelves.
People throughout Europe swooned over the luscious Persian as far back as the 1600s. In the U.S., the new Cat Fanciers' Association chose him as its first registered breed in 1906. Although orange cats with blue eyes aren't common, this sweet and stylish kitty totally pulls it off. (His outerwear includes cream and gray, too.)
The epitome of mellow, he loves to snuggle up with you anytime, be brushed (every day), and keep everyone—kids, older adults, even dogs!—company, otherwise he might experience a little separation anxiety. We offer our lap as tribute!
Also known as a colorpoint Persian, the Himalayan—a cross between a Siamese and Persian—always dazzles when she sashays into a room. With a coat soft as mink and those vibrant eyes, it's no wonder she's often a movie star! First bred in the 1950s, she's always ready for her closeup (and to be close to you), but never standoffish to her fans, especially when they engage this smart kitty with interactive toys.
Now who's this fluffy face? Devotees of the alluring Birman use descriptives such as 'ridiculously precious' and 'complete cuddlepuff' when fawning over this beauty. Originally from Burma (now Myanmar), legends hint at their sacred connection to Kittah priests. Nevertheless, they don't need a temple to be comfortable. Wherever you are is their favorite place to be, and they'll follow you around just to make sure of you. They're also fond of playtime, so keep a stash of toys that are hard to resist.
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Consistently in the running as one of the most popular cat breeds, the adorable ragdoll takes the bouquet for congeniality, too. Fond of everybody and exceedingly gentle, they're so named because of their tendency to flop in their owners' arms with utter contentment. (We can't make this stuff up!) This trick-loving kitty was first recognized as a purebred in the 1960s and while they don't shed much, they're not hypoallergenic, darn it. Few cats truly are, but we can always hope.
Oooo, a gray cat with blue eyes? We'll take two, please! One of many chic coats of the Tonkinese crossbreed (thanks to his Siamese and Burmese parents), he's not just another pretty face. This spunky sweetheart is also one of the longest-living felines, and probably the inspiration for our belief that cats have nine lives—in his case, 15–20! He likes to get up and go, so outfit him with a tall scratching post and plenty of high vantage points to explore.
The snowshoe reminds us that each cat breed with blue eyes stands out as totally individual. As a domestic hybrid of a Siamese and an American shorthair, he comes by his sociability and doting nature quite easily. His personality might reflect absolute, endless dedication to one person, or he could be your family's official guide greeting everyone, including the subscription box delivery person, at the door and inviting them in for a few chin scritches.
Through no fault of their own, the friendly colorpoint shorthair sparks a lot of controversy among cat lovers. Often a cross of a seal-point Siamese (the typical fawn or cream body with dark seal—considered a gray hue—colorpoint) and an American shorthair, the Cat Fanciers' Association notes that some people believe the breed to actually be an Oriental shorthair, and the fur really flies on this issue! As the professionals make a final determination, these bonny blue-eyed charmers simply focus on what they do best: head bunts and meowy chats.
Who's this handsome devil? A token of good luck, apparently, especially in their native Thailand. Known as the Khao Manee (pronounced "cow-muh-nee") as well as the Khao Plort, Diamond Eye, and White Gem, he's a rare breed in other parts of the world. A total stunner with snow-colored fur, the Khao Manee often has jewel-toned eyes—a condition known as heterochromia or odd eyes. Rose says it's most common among dominant white felines, but may also appear in other cats who carry the white-spotting gene.
Curious and a bit of a scamp, Khao Manees love being the center of attention and are ready for playtime anytime!
The name means 'blue eyes' in Spanish, and this fine feline certainly knows how to strike a pose. They're also a bit of a mystery, as few of them exist. Breeder Solveig Pflueger, once a judge for The International Cat Association (TICA) and co-breeder of munchkins, discovered an unusual-looking cat with blue eyes in a feral colony in New Mexico, and through selective breeding, established that specific eye color could become a dominant trait, regardless of fur color.
Although first acknowledged by the TICA in the early 1990s, the organization changed its standards in 2019, and the Ojos Azules is no longer a recognized breed.
Relatively new to the cat scene (first bred around 1980), the Javanese draws his best qualities from his Siamese, colorpoint shorthair, and Balinese ancestors. Sometimes fluffy and solid colored, other times lean with various colorpoints, this cuddly cutie is talkative and outgoing, chattering through the window at wildlife...and at you for tasty treats. He's also a top performer on the cat show circuit.
Are White Cats With Blue Eyes Deaf?
If you've never seen a black cat with blue eyes, there's possibly a reason for that.
Some spotted white and dominant white cats have the KIT gene, which Rose says determines whether or not there will be any white in the coat. "Mutations in the KIT gene are associated with changes in pigmentation and hearing," she adds. "For example, Turkish Angoras, particularly those with white coats and blue eyes, have a higher risk of congenital deafness due to this mutation." Deafness is more common among cats with heterochromia as well.
Rose says some cats that seem to be associated with a higher risk of deafness include the following breeds sporting white coats:
If you're choosing a particular kitty from a breeder, this is a good discussion topic, as there are variances of the KIT gene they evaluate for and test. "The nascency of feline genetics means that there's still a lot of room for discovery," Rose notes. "What we know about blue eyes, deafness, and the KIT gene is based on DNA studies reported in the scientific literature to date, but it's entirely possible there are other genetic mutations related to these and other traits that have yet to be discovered."
Honestly, though—once you're snared by a lasso of kitty love, it doesn't matter much if she won't come when called. After all, how many really do?
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