Are all cats with blue eyes deaf? And what cat breeds have blue eyes? Let’s look at the facts about cats with this unusual eye color.
What About White Cats With Blue Eyes? What Percentage of White Cats With Blue Eyes Are Deaf?
It is a different story when it comes to white cats with blue eyes — about 60 percent of white-dominant kitties — who got their coloring from mutations in a gene called KIT. In these cats, the blue eyes result from a cellular issue: These irises have fewer melanocytes, which are cells that make pigment. These same cells create skin pigment and play a role in inner-ear functioning. Therefore, cats with fewer melanocytes — white cats with blue eyes — may not have enough of the cells for their hearing to function properly, Dr. Lyons says. White cats have a genetic makeup similar to albino humans, who lack pigment; this gives them some vulnerabilities, like sensitivity to UV light.
An estimated 40 percent of white cats with blue eyes are deaf, which is high. Still, look at it this way: If 40 percent of these cats are deaf, it means the majority (60 percent) can hear.
Some cats have mixed eye colors, like one blue eye and one green eye. In that case, Dr. Lyons says a hearing impairment may happen in just one ear, particularly on the side of the face with the blue eye.
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