It’s a unique physical appearance for cats to have two different colored eyes. While in the past, any physical abnormalities can be a cause for concern, it’s different these days. It’s not suspicious or appalling for cats to have two eye colors, instead they’re curious and even beautiful. But there are still some things that must be noted to keep these unique calicos healthy. So, why do some cats have two different colored eyes?
Some cats to have two different colored eyes due to a genetic condition called heterochromia iridis which translates to differently colored irises. It’s also called odd-eye. Supposedly, the same gene responsible for making cats have white coat also causes this eye-color abnormality. Which is why, most heterochromic cats are also white cats.
Types of heterochromia cats can have
Some cats have two different colored eyes while some only have subtle differences between each eye. This is because of the variations of heterochromia.
- Complete – Cats with one eye colored entirely different from the other eye,
- Sectoral or partial – Cat’s iris color has some part that’s different from the rest of the eye. It often looks like there’s an irregular spot on the iris.
- Central – Cat’s iris in one eye or two eyes seem to have a mix of two colors. For example, the inner ring of the iris is yellow while the rest is blue. It often looks like iris has a haloed or spiked appearance due to the different colors.
Notably, heterochromic cats often have the complete heterochromia: two completely different colored eyes.
Type of cats more commonly affected
Breed can affect the probability of cats developing heterochromia. Because this is a genetic condition, it’s no wonder why other feline breeds have a higher chance of becoming odd-eyed. Cat breeds like Turkish Van, Turkish Angora and Japanese Bobtail are more likely to develop complete heterochromia. Other breeds like Persian, Scottish Fold, British Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Munchkin, and Siamese also have higher probability of having heterochromia.
Aside from breed, white cats, regardless of their breed are more prone to having the odd-eye condition. Supposedly, any cat which has gene S or W, which makes some cats white, has more odds of developing heterochromia.
Odd-Eyed Cats’ Health
If cats have two different colored eyes, you need to note two medical conditions. First, deafness. The misconception that hetrochromic cats are deaf isn’t exactly right. Up to 70% of cats with different colored eyes can hear just fine. Though, due to the genes carried in white cats, it’s still good to be alert or pay more attention; check if you have an odd-eyed white cat and see if they’re not among those who have hearing impairment.
Additionally, if a mature cat develops heterochromia, you have to take your kitty for a checkup. Supposedly, until a kitten is 7 – 12 weeks old, around this period is the normal time when their eye color changes from blue to their final color. So, if a cat’s eye color changes when it’s already an adult, it’s a cause for concern; consult with a vet to know if your cat’s eye and vision is at risk.
Overall, it’s safe and normal if some cats have two different colored eyes. Heterochromia doesn’t directly affect their vision nor causes hearing impairment. It’s just a rather uniquely beautiful physical trait the one’s cat can have.