When my cat looks up at me with his beautiful big eyes, he always gets what he wants. Cats are beautiful creatures and their eyes are no exception.
Their glossy, big, colorful eyes have a way of tucking on one’s heartstrings. Just like puppy eyes are irresistible, the same goes for a cat’s eyes it’s just not talked about!
My fascination with cat eyes increased when my friend told me that her cat’s eyes change color. So I need to know, can a cat’s eyes change color?
Although it seems like our cat’s eyes are changing colors, in reality, they don’t. While a cat’s eye color typically changes after their phase as a kitten, the color of a cat’s eyes don’t change with the exception of being ill.
Summary of today’s article:
Looking at your cat you might notice that their eye color seems to change. Certain times in the day they look green while other times they look yellow.
It can be confusing to know what your cat’s natural eye color is. Let’s unpack all of the color changes surrounding a cat’s eye and why it seems like their eyes are changing colors!
Why Did My Cat’s Eye Color Change When They Were A Kitten?
As kittens, all cats have blue eyes. As they age, the color changes for most cats while only a small amount of cats remain with blue eyes.
The reason all cats start off with blue eyes is that they are still developing. A kitten’s eye doesn’t contain melanin in the eye right at birth.
Only after birth do cats start to develop their eye color. Melanin is the pigment that is present on a cat.
This includes their fur, skin, and eye color. As a cat develops, their eye color develops as well. When the body is able to produce enough melanin, that’s when a cat’s eye color will change.
This will normally happen around 4-10 weeks into a cat’s life.
This doesn’t mean that every cat that is born with blue eyes will change color. Some cats will keep their blue eyes even after their kitten phase. If a cat still has blue eyes after ten weeks, it is unlikely that will change in the future.
The more overall melanin present in your cat may affect what color their eyes will turn out to be in adulthood. For example, cats with white fur will be more likely to keep their blue eyes.
There are also special breeds that tend to have blue eyes. Breeds like Ragdolls and Bengals are breeds of cats that commonly have blue eyes.
Why Do My Cat’s Eye Color Change With Their Mood?
Some cat owners will swear that their cat’s eye color changes based on their mood. Although it would be amazing to see since it would be way easier to read a cat, it isn’t the case.
A cat’s eye color doesn’t change after it’s already been developed, with the exception of it being a health issue. So no, it doesn’t change by the changing of a cat’s mood!
If they don’t change with a cat’s mood, why are there so many people that claim to see it? Well, that’s because of lighting.
When the light refracts off of a cat’s eye it can seem like the color changes but it’s just the lighting. Another factor that plays with the look of a cat’s eye is the fact that their pupil’s change sizes.
When a cat’s pupils widen coupled with lighting, it can make the eye appear vastly different than when their pupils are constricted.
Why Do My Cat’s Eye Color Change At Night
There are no mistaking glowing red or green eyes in the dark. However, the reason they look different again has to do with light!
First, it’s important to know that a cat’s eyes are built differently than ours. They are designed to be able to see in low lighting.
When you see your cat’s eyes glowing don’t be scared! It’s because the light is reflecting off of them to make them appear that way.
The part of the eye that makes it glow red or green is called the tapetum lucidum. The tapetum lucidum is a tissue at the back of a cat’s eye behind their retina.
It reflects the light on the eye like a mirror which gives the glowing look. The glow may be red or green and this depends on the cat’s eye color.
Yellow eyes will glow green while blue eyes will glow red.
Will My Cat’s Eyes Change Color When They Die?
One thing you might be wondering is whether or not a cat’s eye color changes after they die. If they change from the early stages of life, it’s only natural to assume they may change during the last stages of life.
If you have been unfortunate enough to witness a dead cat, it might look like their eye color changed. However, it’s not that the color has changed.
The eye color remains the same but the eyes get cloudy. Eventually, a cat’s eye will be opaque.
The eyes may look gray and similar to what cataracts look like. So, although it looks like the eye color changes, it doesn’t.
Just like a person’s eye gets cloudy after death, the same applies to cats. The reason behind this is because the pupil and cornea lose it’s reflex to the light.
If you are adamant that your cat’s eye color is changing, it is possible that it is. Unfortunately, if that is the case it means that there is a medical issue with your cat.
It’s important for cat owners to be aware of any changes in their cat. Here are some medical issues that may cause a cat’s eye color to change and what it means.
Red Eyes: Uveitis
Not to be confused with the glowing red eyes cats get at night. If you notice that your cat’s eyes are red on the day it may be inflamed.
This inflammation’s medical term is known as uveitis. The inflammation gives a red murky-type color to the eye.
What could cause uveitis? A few things. Infection, trauma, cancer, or glaucoma.
It will be apparent if a cat has uveitis because he or she will be in pain, tearing, and have a sensitivity to the light. There are medications to help treat uveitis which may include anti-inflammation medication.
In serious cases, surgery may be performed to treat a cat with this condition.
Milky Or Gray Eyes: Cataracts
If you notice that your cat’s eyes get a cloudy or milky-gray type color, it may be cataracts. When a cat has cataracts their eyes may become opaque.
This partially or sometimes completely stops light from going through the eyes. This leaves a cat with a lack of proper vision.
Cataracts can be a consequence of trauma or an underlying condition. Conditions like hypertension and diabetes may cause cataracts in cats.
Treatment of an underlying condition may be advised to treat cataracts. However, in some cases, surgery may be needed to treat the condition.
Yellow Eyes: Jaundice
Jaundice will cause a cat to have a yellowish tint to their eyes. Jaundice can be caused by liver disease, cancer, feline infectious peritonitis, and other disorders.
The yellowness is caused by an excess of bilirubin in a cat. This buildup causes a yellow discoloration in the body.
That may include in the whites of the eyes, the skin, and mucous membranes. If you suspect your cat has jaundice there are other symptoms that may help you to recognize it.
Other than the obvious yellow tint, a cat with jaundice may feel weak and have a decrease in appetite. Blood tests and or urinalysis may be needed to figure out what is causing jaundice.
The treatment depends on the cause of jaundice. Based on the findings of your vet, your cat will get a personalized treatment plan.
Some common treatments for jaundice may include IV fluids, hospitalization, and a specialized diet.
Eyes are the window of the soul and cats have the best eyes of them all. Many people believe that their cat’s eyes change color.
However, as cool as that would be, they don’t change based on their mood. As kittens, cats will have blue eyes, when they reach a certain age, their regular eye color will develop.
After their eye color has developed, there shouldn’t be a change in eye color. The lighting can play tricks on your eyes and make you believe that your cat’s eye color changes.
Lighting has a lot to do with how you can see your cat’s eyes. It may look like they glow at night but this it’s just the light reflecting off of them.
Even after cats die their eye color remains the same. If your cat’s eyes are changing color and it isn’t the lighting, this is due to health issues.
There are several medical issues that can cause a cat’s eyes to change color. If you notice any of these changes, take your cat to the vet to seek treatment.
No matter the color of a cat’s eyes they always manage to get what they want!