What Does It Mean If Your Cat’s Eyes Change Color?

cat-eye-color

It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul, and I think that’s especially true when it comes to the beautiful eyes of our feline friends. But did you know that your cat’s eyes can also be a window to her health? Changes in a cat’s eye color can be an indicator of a potentially serious health problem.

Normal cat eye color

Normal cat eyes cover a range of different colors. The majority of kittens are born with blue eyes. Between the age of three to eight weeks, kittens’ eyes begin to change to colors ranging from green, yellow and orange to amber, copper and brown. This color change is usually complete by the time a kitten is three months old.

Odd-eyed cats

Some cats have different colored eyes, also known as heterochromia. This is not unusual, and is most often seen in white cats, but can be seen in any cat that possesses the white spotting gene, which is the same gene that creates a white blaze across the face, a white bib, tuxedo pattern, or dappled paws. Cats with blue eyes have a higher rate of hearing issues, especially if they have a white coat, but not all blue-eyed or odd-eyed cats will be deaf.

Eye color changes in adult cats

Changes in eye color are often a sign of infection, but can be a sign of more serious health issues.

Uveitis

Uveitis is the inflammation of the uveal tract of the eye, which consists of the iris, ciliary body and choroid. It can be an isolated eye problem, but more often, it is a sympton of a number of other conditions, including

    • trauma to the eye
    • bacterial or fungal infection
    • viral disesase such as feline herpes, FeLV, FIV, or FIP
    • metastatic tumors
    • diabetes
    • high blood pressure

Symptoms include red eye, cloudy eye, light sensitivity, squinting, rubbing at the eye, and protrusion of the third eye lid. If you notice any of these symptoms, your cat needs to be seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition of increased pressure in the eye, which will cause vision loss if left untreated.Typical symptoms are a cloudy, white, milky eye color. Glaucoma can also be a cause of uveitis.

Portosystemic Liver Shunt

While copper colored eyes are normal in some cats, and even highly desired by some breeders, they can also be an indicator of a portosystemic shunt, or liver shunt. It can be a congential condition, or can be aquired later in life. Not all cats with liver shunts have copper colored eyes.

Sudden changes in eye color require immediate veterinary attention

Eye color changes in adult cats are always a cause for concern. If your cat’s eye color changes suddenly or over a period of time, consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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4 Comments on What Does It Mean If Your Cat’s Eyes Change Color?

  1. Casey
    May 16, 2018 at 2:12 pm (6 days ago)

    Sometimes, I love to see my cat’s eye very closely because of it feels like I see all the beautiful universe, I mean like the picture capture from Nasa Spitzer Space Telescope, thanks for this article and definitely bookmark it for future use if something wrong happens to my cats. Normally when I play with my cats, when the pupil is getting bigger and bigger, it is actually to remind about an attack mode.

    Reply
  2. Sue Brandes
    May 14, 2018 at 6:52 pm (1 week ago)

    Thanks for the post.

    Reply
  3. Maria T
    May 14, 2018 at 1:45 pm (1 week ago)

    My parents took care of a kitten, about 7-8 weeks old at the time, they saved her from being drowned (the rest of the litter was, so I heard). She was a ginger cat, with a white spot on her chest, and a white tip-of-the-tail. When both my parents had died, this cat (named Jennie) came to stay with us, she was about 14 yrs old at the time. The next year when I took her to the vets for vaccination and check-up. the veterinarian said she was so cute, the fur looked amazing, and “I can tell by her eyes that she is an old lady”. I have never heard of that before, so I asked, and the vet told me that in many/most cats at the age of 12 or older, the eyes that might have had a solid color, becomes more of a marble….. Jennie had yellow-amber eyes, but I don’t know if I paid that much attention the her eye colors while she was still living with my folks. And our next cat, Kajsa with stunning green eyes like emeralds, only got to be 8 yrs : ( Has anyone else heard of this phenomenon? (I live in Sweden)

    Reply
  4. Janine
    May 14, 2018 at 8:11 am (1 week ago)

    Thanks for this information. I only knew about cats eyes changing colors only as kittens. I had no idea it could happen when they are older and it being a sign of a health problem.

    Reply

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