Why are Kittens Born with Blue Eyes?

All cats have blue eyes when they’re born, which may seem surprising to some. The reason for this is that kittens have a mutation on their gene called OCA2 that codes for melanin – the pigment in our eyes and skin. This mutation is caused by a simple change in DNA from an ‘A’ to a ‘T’. This pigment mutation isn’t permanent, as their eyes start to show color at about six weeks of age, as noted by Purina.

Do Some Cat’s Eyes Stay Blue?

In cats that are completely white, the blue eyes will stay that way for their whole life. This is due to a double dose of the “white” gene, which controls pigment in the cat’s fur. The OCA2 mutation is not associated with the color of a cat’s coat, and many non-blue-eyed cats come in every color imaginable.

Do Blue Eyed Cats Have Better Or Worse Vision?

This depends on the cat, and there is no evidence that suggests blue-eyed cats have either better or worse eyesight. All cats have excellent eyesight and can see at about 250 yards what humans with perfect vision can see at 50 yards.

Why Are Cats Born Unable To Open Their Eyes?

Cats are born with closed eyes due to the fact that they have a membrane and bag of fluid over their eyes (called the “Third Eyelid”). This helps to protect the eyes while they are growing. This membrane is called a “nictitating membrane” and cats only have one instead of three like humans. After birth, their eyes still aren’t finished developing, so they need to stay shut for protection, as Catster points out.

When Do Kittens Start Walking?

Most cats do this at about four to five weeks of age. However, kittens that are born with blue eyes may take a little longer to start walking due to the heavier eyelid membrane they have. On average, it takes about 5-8 weeks for a kitten to start walking on their own once they open their eyes, and this is usually when you’ll first see them taking steps around the house.

Do Cats’ Eyes Change As They Get Older?

Yes, it’s normal for older cats to have yellowish or more amber eyes. This is common in older cats that didn’t have a pigment mutation, and this change is due to deterioration of the retina as stated in Purina’s article. Cats also may have bluish coloration around the eye as they age due to blood vessels that get dilated over time.

Common Vision Problems In Cats

Cataracts – Cataracts usually occur in older cats, and they’ll appear as a grayish formation or clouding within the lens. This clouding prevents the cat from seeing and can make it difficult for your cat to get around. If you suspect this problem in your cat, have a veterinarian check your pet’s eyes to see if this is indeed the issue.

Diabetic Retinopathy – Diabetic retinopathy should not be taken lightly, as this basically means there is damage to the retina of the eye. Signs of this include a yellowish or cloudy area where your cat was able to see, sandpaper-like appearance to the surface of the eye, blood vessels growing around the edge of your cat’s eye and bleeding in this area. In most cases, you’ll notice a gradual loss of vision in your cat.

Corneal Ulcer – A corneal ulcer is a painful condition in which the cornea of the eye becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes your cat to rub at his eyes, which will have clear discharge with a blood tinge. Corneal ulcers can be caused by eye trauma, infection or diabetes. In most cases, this issue requires immediate veterinary attention before it damages your cat’s eyes further.

Glaucoma – Glaucoma is a serious condition that can lead to blindness if left untreated. It’s characterized by increased eye pressure, which damages the optic nerve. Early signs of glaucoma in cats include red eyes, increased tearing and sensitivity to light. If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your vet right away.

Cat-Scratch Disease (CSD) – Cat-scratch disease (CSD), also known as Bartonellosis, affects cats in many ways. It’s characterized by bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the skin and eyes. If left untreated, the infection can spread to your cat’s kidneys and other internal organs, which could be life-threatening.

Seborrhea – Seborrhea is characterized by excessive discharge from the nose or eyes. This discharge can range from watery to thick and yellowish in color. Seborrhea is usually associated with other skin diseases, such as food allergies, ringworm and even cancer. If your cat has this disease, it needs veterinary attention.

Kidney Disease – Disorders of the kidneys, such as Pyelonephritis and Cystitis, can affect your cat’s eyesight . Early signs include red eyes and squinting. In many cases, your cat needs to be treated for kidney disease, as it can be a serious issue.

Congenital Anomalies – Congenital anomalies, such as the cat eye (anal sac deformity), must be treated early on. This condition will cause your cat to have incomplete development of the anus, and this can cause serious issues if left untreated. If you notice anything out of the ordinary in your cat’s eyes, please check with a vet right away.

Parasites – Eye worms (Thelazia californiensis) are small worms that are found in the conjunctiva of cats and dogs. They can be transmitted through the bite of another infected animal or from a mother to her kitten. Due to their location, eye worms can cause lots of irritability and inflammation which makes it difficult for your cat to see. This irritability may also be due to an allergic reaction to the worm.

Final Thoughts

Generally, most cats will outgrow their blue eye phase. However, if your cat’s eyes are still blue at 6 months of age, there may be a problem. If you suspect your cat has a vision problem, contact your veterinarian right away so they can assess the issue and determine the best course of action.

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