White cat breeds cover a range of breeds and mixed breeds, with a large variety in size and shape. But these cats are known by their snow white fur. Many cat breeds come in several different colors, both solid and in combination with other colors.
Pure white cats can be found in a variety of breeds. While these breeds are all relatively healthy, there is a tie between white coat color and greater risk of deafness.
White Cat Breeds
You’ll find white cats breeds that are long-haired or short-haired. Soft or smooth. Each breed’s coat varies!
Some are a gorgeous example of the white fluffy cat breed, while others don’t have an undercoat at all.
Pure white cat breeds also have a wide variety of eye colors. You will find green, blue or yellow. And even cases where the eyes are two different colors!
But before you pick your purrrfect kitty, did you know that the eye color as well as the coat has a link to a sad problem?
Deafness is a demonstrated problem in animals with white fur, and sadly, white cat breeds are by no means immune.
Today, we will discuss both that health issue as well as potential others. We’ll also outline some specific white cat breeds, and talk about how best to care for your new kitty.
White Cat Breed Health
Cats tend to be generally healthy animals.
Bar problems that are associated with flat-faced breeds, such as Persians, and as long as they are well cared for, a pet cat can usually live a healthy life into their early or mid teens.
White cats, since they are from several different breeds, don’t differ from cats in general in this respect.
However, there is a problem that is much more likely to occur with cats with white fur.
Let’s talk in detail about the link between white fur and deafness.
Deafness In White Cat Breeds
Some solid white cat breeds, but not all, have a genetic mutation that causes deafness in one or both ears. This most often occurs in white blue eyed cat breeds.
All white cat breeds with one blue eye and one green/hazel or gold eye may also experience deafness, however. These cats are usually deaf in the ear on the same side as the blue eye.
White blue eyed cat breeds tend to experience sensory hearing loss. This means that vibrations to the ear are not carried by the nerves to the cochlea.
Cats may be deaf in one ear (if they have odd-colored eyes) or may be deaf in both ears (with two blue eyes).
It’s good to remember that not all white cat breeds are completely deaf. Some cats may be deaf in only one ear. Some will not be deaf at all.
It is becoming more common to screen adult cats for deafness, and not allow them to be bred. This may reduce the likelihood that the deafness will be passed down to the next generation. But there is no way, thus far, to guarantee that your white cat will not be at least partially deaf.
Hearing loss is something you will need to seriously consider as a possibility when you take on a white cat or kitten. So if you are planning on doing so, check out this great guide to your deaf cat.
White Fluffy Cat Breeds
There’s a special allure in a long haired, fluffy cat. While all cats are eminently pettable, those with extra-exuberant fur just seem to be irresistible!
White long haired cat breeds come in several types. And it should be mentioned that outcrossing some breeds with others may also result in a white fluffy cat.
Here, though, we’ll take a look at the Persian and the Turkish Van Kedisi all white cat breeds.
Persian cats are a fluffy cat breed, known for their long hair, round heads, large eyes and flat noses.
They aren’t all white, but plenty of them are.
Persians are a beautiful ancient breed, originating in present-day Iran (in ancient times known as Persia). They are medium to large cats, but average around 10 pounds.
These cats are known for their dignified appearance, and have a sweet, quiet nature. They enjoy affection and petting. Persians are also good with children who are kind and respectful. But they do prefer a quiet environment.
They also, however, have some nasty health problems related to their cute squished in faces. Due to health issues, the average life expectancy is onl y 8-11 years.
Turkish Van Kedisi
The Turkish Van Kedisi breed, also known as “swimming cats” for their love of water play, originated in Turkey.
They are another white fluffy cat breed, originating from the rugged Lake Van area in Turkey. The potential weight range is from 8 to 19 pounds, making this a medium to large breed.
This friendly breed is extremely energetic and may be prone to causing damage inside the home. They are intelligent and enjoy learning tricks.
These cuties are also loving and affectionate and will fit in well with families that have active children and cat-friendly dogs.
They are relatively healthy and have a life expectancy of 12-14 years. Though the Turkish Van does have some health issues, many of them can be health tested for.
Blue Eyed White Cat Breeds
If you’ve ever seen a white cat with blue eyes, then you know exactly how striking they can be!
Unfortunately, as we’ve mentioned previously, this combination can be the most likely to lead to deafness.
It’s more likely, however, that a white cat with blue eyes will be tested before being bred. This is, of course, assuming that you do your due diligence in finding a reputable breeder who is focused on the health and happiness of her stock.
Here, we will cover a few different breeds which are likely to present as white furred cats with blue eyes.
The Ragdoll cat breed is relatively new. This breed was first bred in the 1960s by Ann Baker in Riverside, California.
She bred large, long haired cats that had gentle, docile natures; the result is a large, placid affectionate kitty.
These lovely cats called “Ragdoll” as they’re known for falling over in your arms when holding them. Ragdolls are affectionate and love snuggling.
They aren’t one of the truly white cat breeds as they have marked points. However, these can be very pale, giving the impression of an almost white kitty.
Ragdoll cats are great with families. They’re laid back with children, and they will get along with other cats and dogs friendly with cats.
Ragdolls are also quite healthy, though they do have some predispositions for illnesses that can be tested for. A healthy, happy Ragdoll could potentially live from 15-20 years.
Turkish Angoras, another of the fluffy white cat breeds, are intelligent, outgoing and affectionate. They are delicate, smaller to medium sized cats, and are generally healthy. Expected lifespan is about average for pet cats, somewhere in the mid teens.
This long-haired breed originated in the mountainous regions of Turkey, where winters can be harsh.
They were almost lost, but were revived with controlled breeding programs set up in the 1950s at the Ankara Zoo.
From there, the Turkish Angora was taken to the U.S., where it became a recognized breed by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1968.
This breed is generally good for families with kids and cat-friendly dogs who don’t mind them being in charge!
White Cat Breeds With Green Eyes
Are you looking for a white cat breed with green eyes?
These striking cats combine specific features like those with an overall beauty that is breathtaking.
If that is the sort of cat you’ve been looking for, then consider the Norwegian Forest Cat, the Oriental Foreign White, or the Russian White.
Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest cat, which is also a white fluffy cat breed, originates from Norway, where it lived in the forests for thousands of years.
This breed was almost destroyed in WWII, but was revived with breeding programs in Norway.
Eventually, Norwegian Forest cats were named the official cat of Norway by the late King Olaf.
They aren’t all white. In fact, many look more like wild cats. But you will find white examples within the breed.
These cats are easy-going and great for families with kids. They also get along very well with cat-friendly dogs.
As one of the three largest domesticated breeds of cats, this breed is pretty hale and hearty, with a lifespan of about 13 years.
Oriental Foreign White
Oriental Foreign White cats are known to be talkative and opinionated.
These fun kitties are also known to be very loving with their humans.
They enjoy supervising what their humans are up to all through the day.
This breed is highly athletic and agile. You’ll find them capable of opening doors and drawers, and maybe even searching for shiny treasures to turn into toys.
Foreign White Oriental cats are a great choice for families with kids, and will get along well with cat-friendly dogs.
Russian White Cat Breed
The Russian White breed, also known as Archangel cats, feature short white fur.
Not much is known about this breed’s history, though they probably originated in Russia, near Arkhangelsk (Archangel), near the White Sea.
Russian Whites are easy-going, so are a good fit for families with kids. They’ll also do well with cat-friendly dogs.
Would you prefer a white tiger cat breed? Then check out the American Shorthair cat breed. They have some seriously cute white striped examples.
This breed has a long history in the U.S.—even dating back to the Vikings, where they were aboard ship to help catch mice and rats.
American Shorthairs are somewhat active, and you’ll find they enjoy mealtime.
This breed is usually laid-back, and is a good choice for families with kids and cat-friendly dogs.
White Cat Breeds With Yellow Eyes
White cat breeds with yellow eyes are beautiful and exotic. The color combination is very striking!
There aren’t many breeds which feature this combination.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t be found.
Consider the British Shorthair and the European Burmese pure white cat breeds.
British Shorthairs are an ancient breed—originating in Rome, but later arriving in Britain. This is one of Britain’s oldest cat breeds.
This breed was first recognized in Britain in 1980 by the CFA.
This breed resembles a teddy bear, making you want to hug and cuddle them. These cats have sweet faces, typically with yellow or copper eyes.
These relaxed, patient cats are known for forming strong bonds with their humans. British Shorthairs are wonderful for families with children and cat-friendly dogs.
These cats range in weight from 7-17 pounds, depending on whether they are male or female. The average lifespan is about 14-15 years.
Small White Cat Breeds
If you live in a small house or apartment, then you might consider some small white cat breeds.
The Cornish Rex or Devon Rex may just be the right size for your home.
The Cornish Rex cat breed is well-known for its curly coat and large ears. This breed originated in Cornwall, England.
The first Cornish Rex came from a litter of barn cats in 1950; the kitten was a male named Kallibunker.
He was bred back with his mother (which is never a recommended breeding!) to reproduce the curly-haired mutation, leading to kittens with curly coats.
The charming Cornish Rex is great for families with kids and cat-friendly dogs. These cats love to play games, such as fetch, and can be trained to do tricks.
These cats range between 7-10 pounds, with an average lifespan of about 15 years.
The Devon Rex breed originated in Devon, England and share some of the same genetics as the Cornish Rex.
However, the original Devon Rex kitten, Kirlee, had a wavy coat, rather than a curly coat.
The Devon Rex eventually arrived in the U.S., and was recognized as an official breed in 1979 by the Cat Fanciers Association.
This breed is wonderful for families with kids, and the Devon Rex will also get along with cat-friendly dogs.
White Cat Breed Grooming
A white fluffy cat breed, with a thick undercoat, may need to be brushed at least twice a week.
Other all white cat breeds with shorthair or no undercoat may need to be combed or brushed only once a week.
All white cat breeds are also subject to eye tears and other stains on their faces and coats.
You might consider using cat-safe tear stain remover wipes to remove stains from your kitty’s face and coat.
Caring For White Cat Breeds
We have already seen that white cat breeds can often be deaf. It’s sometimes difficult to know if your cat is deaf, but watch for these signs:
- Your cat watches for visual cues
- She may sleep extremely soundly
- Your cat may not notice when you enter a room
To see if your cat’s deaf, you might try clapping your hands or making another loud noise. Make sure she’s facing away from you. If she reacts, then she’s not completely deaf; however, no reaction may mean your cat is completely deaf.
Be sure to contact your veterinarian with any concerns or questions you may have about your kitty. You can find out all about how to care for a kitty with hearing loss in this great article.
But all white cat breeds can also face some other medical issues, including squamous cell carcinoma.
Keep your white kitty inside and limit the amount of time spent in the sun, particularly between the hours of 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
Choosing A White Cat Breed
Any white cat can turn out to be the right cat for you, regardless of the breed. The important thing is to choose a white cat who suits your personality and fits in with your family (including other pets, especially cats and dogs).
Many of the breeds listed here have average or longer than average life expectancy. The ones that do not are not different because of their white coats, but because of other health factors.
However, it is important to remember that white cats who turn out to be deaf may need a higher level of care and keeping. Be sure that you are ready to make that investment of time and care.
Remember to choose a white cat the right size for your home.
And consider avoiding those with serious inherited health problems, such as those that brachycephalic flat faced cats can find themselves subject to.
We hope our white cat breed guide will help you find the perfect white cat breed, who will be your loving companion for years to come.
Do you have a white cat breed in your life? We’d love to hear all about them in the comments below.
References And Resources
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- Hawes et al. Factors Informing Outcomes for Older Cats and Dogs in Animal Shelters
- O’Neill et al. Longevity and mortality of cats attending primary care veterinary practices in England
- Strain, George M., “The Genetics of Deafness in Domestic Animals,” Frontiers in Veterinary Science, Vol. 2, 2015
- Dorn, CR et al 1971 Sunlight Exposure and Risk of Developing Cutaneous and Oral Squamous Cell Carcinomas in White Cats2. Journal of the National Cancer Institute
- Heid, S et al 1998. A model for prelingual deafness, the congenitally deaf white cat – population statistics and degenerative changes. Hearing Research
- Hartman R et al 1997. Response of the primary auditory cortex to electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve in the congenitally deaf white cat. Hearing Research.
- Bergsma and Brown 1971. White Fur, Blue Eyes, and Deafness in the Domestic Cat. Journal of Heredity.
- Rebillard, M et al 1981. Variability of the hereditary deafness in the white cat. I. Physiology. Hearing Research.
- Hearing Loss In Cats
- The Cat Fanciers Association
- The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy
- The International Cat Association
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