How does the eye color develop in cats?

Cat eye color is determined by pigment cells that produce the dye melatonin. The exception are blue or red cat's eyes - they have no color pigments.

Whether green, blue, yellow or copper cat eyes - their looks are always fascinating. But what is the eye color of the beautiful velvet paws on it?

How the eye color comes about

The eye color arises in all living things on the iris or iris. The iris consists of two layers, which usually have both pigment cells: the stroma and the retinal pigment epithelium. Through the lens of the cat's eyes, the light is also broken, which can also affect the eye color. The pigment cells, in the jargon called melanocytes, produce the dye melanin.

Cats do not get chocolate brown or black eyes, as is the case in people with a high level of melanin on the iris. If cat's eyes contain much of the dye, they look dark and coppery in color. The most common eye color in cats, however, is green, in all possible shades. It occurs with an average number of pigment cells on the iris and is the more intense the more melanin these pigment cells produce.

Blue and red cat's eyes

Blue eyes in cats are caused by the lack of pigment cells on the iris. The eyes are then basically colorless, but the light that breaks through the lens makes them blue. Red eyes are quite rare in cats and arise, even if the choroid behind the retina has no pigment cells. Then the blood vessels in the fundus can shine through the iris and the eye color turns red.

All kittens have blue eyes

The correct eye color of a cat is noticeable only six to seven weeks after birth, sometimes even one to two weeks earlier. At birth, the cat's eyes are still closed and open only after five to ten days. The little kittens then all have blue eyes because the pigment cells have not yet started melanin production. Your cat's final eye color development is complete around the age of three to four months.

Differently colored eyes in cats

Particularly fascinating are cats that have two different eye colors. In this case, the pigment cells are missing in only one eye, so that it appears blue. In the other eye then the actual eye color is noticeable, either green, yellow, golden, orange or coppery. This whim of nature is called iris heterochromism, where "hetero" stands for "different" and "chromie" for "color".

There is talk of central heterochromia when a different-colored ring appears in the middle of the cat's eye in the middle of the iris. In addition, there is the so-called sectoral heterochromism, in which a different colored spot on the iris can be seen.

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