Many of us would love to stare into our kitty’s eyes all day, absorbing the gentle, slow blinks. Even if you can’t spend all day doing this, you can help build trust with your cat by making eye contact. When you look into your cat’s eyes, you may immediately notice their eye color, especially if your cat’s eyes are a brilliant color. One of the most beautiful eye colors on cats is green. But is this a common eye color? Green is not the most common eye color for kitties. The most common eye colors in cats are yellow and amber, closely followed by hazel.
Is Green the Most Common Eye Color in Cats?
Green is not the most common eye color for kitties. The most common eye colors in cats are yellow and amber, closely followed by hazel. Green eyes are the third most common cat eye color. Don’t be confused if you have a kitten with blue eyes and you were expecting green. All kittens have blue eyes that will begin to shift to their adult eye color, around 7 weeks of age.
Interestingly, green is a common color in a few specific cat breeds, but outside of those, it is not common. For the Egyptian Mau, if you happen to luck into seeing a specimen of this rare breed, you can expect to see eyes of a sparkling light green called gooseberry, which is named for the berry itself. You are also likely to spot green eyes in the Havana Brown, Norwegian Forest Cat, and Abyssinian.
What Determines a Cat’s Eye Color?
The simplest explanation for what determines a cat’s eye color is the genetics of the cat. Of course, this could get into Punnett squares and conversations surrounding dominant and recessive genes, or even deeper into the science of eye color genetics. Green eyes are caused by a recessive gene. This means that both cat parents must have carried the gene for green eyes to have offspring with green eyes, but it doesn’t mean that both parents had green eyes. This is because the presence of genes and the expression of genes are two very different things.
Melanin is responsible for both eye and coat color in cats. The more melanin a cat has, the darker their coat or eyes will be. However, high amounts of melanin in the fur doesn’t mean there is a high amount of melanin present in the eyes. This is how a dark-colored cat, like a Havana Brown, can have green eyes. In fact, a large portion of black cats have green eyes.
The more active the melanocytes, or melanin cells, are in your cat’s eyes will determine how bright and brilliant your cat’s eyes are. Green eyes are caused by a low number of melanocytes, but the shade of green is determined by the activity of the cells. Purebred cats are more likely to have more brilliantly colored eyes than mixed breed cats, although this is not always the case.
Green eyes are the third most common eye color in cats, making them not terribly rare but also not overly common in cats as a whole. They are common, though, in black cats and certain breeds. Per the breed standards of both the Egyptian Mau and Havana Brown, all of the cats within these breeds should have green eyes. Egyptian Maus have light gooseberry eyes, while the Havana Brown tends to have brighter green eyes.
Featured Image Credit: maeninblaeck, Pixabay