When Do Kittens' Eyes Change Color?

Kittens are born with blue eyes. It will then change depending on the melanin in the iris. When do kittens' eyes change color? Let us learn today in the blog!

Have A Look At Your Cat's Eyes. What Shade Are They?

when do kittens eyes change color

Most adult cat-eye shades range from green, yellow, gold to orange, brown, and copper, with many host shades in between.

But what about cats with blue eyes? Mostly, kittens are born with blue eyes. Some cats preserve this transparent color through adulthood.

The range of blues that we observe in cat eyes results from refracted light instead of a result of pigmentation. While we see the shade as blue, it is not a color itself; instead, it is the product of the absence of color and refraction of light, much like when we see a green hue on the edge of the glass. What generates other eye colors in cats is the transparency of the external eye and the pigment in a cat's iris. (The pupil is the black area in the middle of the eye.)

Let us discuss when doing kittens' eyes change color and shed some light on the hows and whys of kittens' eyes changing color.

Kittens Are Born With Their Eyes Closed

Kittens' eyes aren't open at birth. Upon leaving the womb into the world, a newborn kitten's eyes are secured shut and are functionally useless. Like their coatless bodies and their closed ears, a kitten's eyes are not yet developed at birth. Their only senses that work straight as they are out of the womb are touch and smell. With the mother cat's help, a kitten can eat and sleep. These activities offer the development of the body and preparing the eyes for view.

Kittens develop at different rates. That said, a kittens' eyes will usually open up at two weeks old. This can anywhere from 7-14 days after birth. Once the eyelids start separating, they may take two or three days to open up fully. Even after that, open does not indicate that they can already see. As the kitten matures, it develops the capability to process light and interprets sensory input.

For the first month to 5 weeks, a kitten can see everything in a blur. Also, your kitten may stumble initially but this time, because their paw-eye coordination is just developing. Most kittens will achieve full ocular and visual functionality between 5-7 weeks old.

When Do Kittens' Eyes Change Shade?

when do kittens eyes change color

During this development phase, a kitten is learning to see. However, the eyes will still not be mature until they reach 3 to 6 months of age. Vision will come first; color second. For the first few weeks after a kittens' eyes open, they will appear blue. This "color" results from light refracted off the cornea and the eyeball's external transparent layer. As kitten's eye color matures, the way we see their eye color remains affected by this refracted blue-green outer covering.

At the age of 6 to 7 weeks, a kitten's eye color begins to change. The iris, which is the colored part of the eye, contains melanocytes. These melanocytes start generating melanin once the eyes are adequately matured. The amount of melanocytes and how much melanin they generate will determine the eyeshade and its deepness or intensity. On the range that we mentioned above, light green means a pet cat's iris has produced the least quantity of melanin, and deep copper is when it makes the most.

Exemptions: Blue-eyed and Odd-eyed Cats

There are exemptions to the rule: the blue-eyed adult cats and cats with heterochromia iridium or two different-colored eyes. Cats that maintain blue eyes into their adult years do so due to reduced or no melanin manufacturing. Like the Siamese, color point felines and breeds with similar shades are those that grow up maintaining their blue eyes. Among these breeds are:

  • Balinese
  • Birman
  • Himalayan
  • Javanese
  • Ragdoll
  • Snowshoe
  • Tonkinese

Like their fascinating coat-color distribution, blue in color point pet cats is caused by a form of partial albinism. In these pet cats, blue eyes, like their limited coat colors, is because of the few melanin.

For pet cats with white coats and some bi-colored pet cats, the blue eyes can result from genetics that reduces or mask various other pigments instead of a lack of them. Blue eyes in color point felines are an outcome of a partial albino heritage—the Siamese and its cousins have white coats before their shade patches develop. A pure-white kitten does not automatically mean that it is an albino. You can distinguish between a white cat and a true albino by the eyes, which vary from pale blue to pink. Like blue, pink is not a pigment present in the eyes but a reflection of blood vessels at the rear of the eye.

Can Cats' Eyes Change Color With Age?

when do kittens eyes change color

Cats' eyes are as mystical and also ambiguous to us as the creatures themselves. Ideally created to be used by nighttime predators, the eyes are great body organs. They can detect subtle details even when there is practically no light. What's truly unique is that when a kitten cat is born, she is functionally blind. The eyes grow and develop along with the other body parts.

From the minute a kitten is born until he can safely go through a spay or neuter treatment, various developing changes occur. Since many of us adopt cats after neutering, we entirely miss this duration of rapid maturation. Eyeshade change is among the last processes we can observe if the timing is right and if the kittens' growth speed is slow enough.

As soon as a cat is fully grown, the eyes will have a consistent shade throughout its life. If you see a dramatic change in a grown cat's eye color, it could signify a variety of health and wellness problems. This can range from eye infections and uveitis to leukemia and feline immunodeficiency infection. Like any sudden noticeable change in your cat, the best thing to do if you see such change is to consult a vet.

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