A black cat with blue eyes is an enchanting but uncommon sight. These striking kitties are unusual as black cats normally have green or yellow eyes, but they are are out there if you know where to look. Today I’ll share the genetics behind this cool look, and the breeds most likely to display it.
- Are there black cats with blue eyes?
- Are black cats with blue eyes rare?
- What breed is a black cat with blue eyes?
- Finding a black kitten with blue eyes
Are There Black Cats with Blue Eyes?
It’s entirely possible to see black cats with blue eyes – particularly when they’re still a very young kitten. But, as a solid black cat ages, their eyes will usually change color to a different shade, such as green, copper, or yellow. Some black cats may keep their blue eyes into adulthood, particularly those without solid black coats, but it is very uncommon.
Blue eyes in cats are caused by a lack of melanin. A cat with blue eyes actually has clear eyes, but they appear to be blue because of the way light reflects from them! This is why kittens will all have blue eyes, even with black fur. Until they reach around 6 weeks of age, their eyes are very underdeveloped. In fact, kittens won’t even open their eyes for the first week of their lives. As they grow and develop, most black cats will produce melanin in their eyes, which causes the change in color.
Are Black Cats with Blue Eyes Rare?
Black fur is a dominant shade. Cats who produce large amounts of eumelanin will be solid black. If a kitten inherits even one copy of the dominant black gene, they will have black fur, rather than the recessive brown or cinnamon shades. Of course, other genes can also act on your cat’s fur to create patterns with black, such as tuxedo markings, tortoiseshells and more.
Black cats with blue eyes will have large amounts of eumelanin in their fur but very little to no melanin in their eyes. It’s much more likely to find blue eyes in cats that have very little pigment in their fur, like white cats. Or in cats that have temperature-sensitive albinism, which results in color at their ‘points’, like a Siamese or Burmese cat. A fully black cat with blue eyes is very rare, though not impossible.
What Breed is a Black Cat with Blue Eyes?
The Ojus Azules is a modern cat breed that originated in New Mexico. Striking blue eyes is the defining trait from this breed, said to descend from a female stray tortoiseshell cat with the trait. Since all colors are allowed in this breed, a black cat with blue eyes is possible. However, this is a very new breed, and so little is understood about the genetics behind their bright blue eyes. This includes any potential link to serious health conditions. So, it’s unlikely that you will find an Ojus Azules breeder yet.
Most cats with blue eyes will have white fur or pointed fur. Lighter fur colors are most common. But, there’s a chance you will find cats with darker fur or fur patterns that have blue eyes. Blue eyes aren’t restricted to any single breed. And, a cat’s visual appearance isn’t always the easiest way to tell their breed! So, if you have a dark cat with blue eyes at home, you may want to invest in a DNA test.
Finding a Black Kitten with Blue Eyes
All kittens are born with blue eyes, regardless of their fur color. That’s because melanin development takes some time! You usually won’t see a kitten’s real eye color develop until around 6 to 8 weeks. So, by the time you bring a kitten home, their adult eye color will be more obvious. But, until then, their eyes will be blue.
This can make it hard to find a black cat who will have blue eyes as an adult! And, this is a very uncommon trait in black cats. If your heart is set on finding one, it may be better to search in rescue centers, since older cats will have already established eye colors.
But, remember that blue eyes can be linked to certain health issues like deafness. And, some disreputable breeders may try to profit from unusual combinations like black fur and blue eyes. So, if you choose a breeder, you should make sure they are reputable and prioritise their kittens’ health above all else.
Black Cat with Blue Eyes
A solid black cat with blue eyes is a very unusual combination. It’s entirely possible to stumble across one of these uncommon cats, but it’s much more likely to find blue eyes in white or pointed cats.
Do you have a black kitten whose eyes stayed blue into adulthood? Or are you currently trying to find this unique mix of traits? Let us know in the comments!
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References and Resources
- Kaelin, C. & Barsch, G. ‘Genetics of Pigmentation in Dogs and Cats’, Annual Review of Animal Biosciences (2013)
- Rodney, A. (et al), ‘A Domestic Cat Whole Exome Sequencing Resource for Trait Discovery’, Scientific Reports (2021)
- Abitbol, M. (et al), ‘Allelic Heterogeneity of Albinism in the Domestic Cat’, Animal Genetics (2016)