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Why Do Some Cats Have Two Different Colored Eyes?

Why do some cats have two different colored eyes.

Once in a while, you'll see a cat with a striking condition called heterochromia iridis, which means irises that are different colors. Also known as odd-eyed cats, these lovely kitties have two different colored eyes. They typically have one blue eye, and the other is either green, brown, or yellow.

What Causes Odd-Eyed Cats?

Cats with two different colored eyes are usually white or have some white areas on their bodies. The same gene responsible for their white fur coloring controls their eye color. Kittens are born with two blue eyes and over the following weeks, melanin moves into the iris and causes a color change to green, yellow, or brown. In odd-eyed cats, this only occurs in one eye; the other remains blue.

Sometimes a bit of melanin moves into one iris but doesn't completely change the eye's color. That iris will have some blue in it as well as some other color such as green.

If one of both of your cat's eyes begin to change color when she is older rather than in the first few weeks after birth, there may be a problem. Have her checked out by a veterinarian right away.

Do Cats with Different Colored Eyes Have Any Problems?

White cats with two blue eyes have a higher tendency of developing deafness soon after birth or later on than do cats with other coat/eye color combinations. However, it does not appear as though odd-eyed cats have much of a higher risk of developing deafness in one or both ears than normal cats. Up to 70% of cats with different colored eyes can hear just fine.

Odd-eyed cats don't experience any trouble seeing, either.

Cat Breeds with Higher Rates of Odd-Eye

There are some breeds that have a higher number of cats with two different colored eyes. These include:

  • Turkish angoras
  • Turkish vans
  • Japanese bobtails

So if you are blessed to have a cat with two different eye colors in your life, consider it just another way in which your sweet kitty is unique and special.

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