Can Cats Have Brown Eyes? Here’s What You Need To Know

Last updated on October 18th, 2022

At times, I get lost staring at my kitty’s yellowish-brown eyes, almost as if I’ve been hypnotized! One morning, my Tutu was facing the window, and I was surprised to see such a wonderful glimmer in her eyes. I’ve rarely seen her eyes shine so beautifully when sun rays touch them.

But a cat with brown eyes is very rare in households across different cities.

The pictures on Google only shows us a few standard eye color for cats. But there are so many rare cat eye colors that are fascinating or sometimes scary. No, a cat’s intense eye color has nothing to do with its fur color because different genes control fur color and eye color combinations.

Why Do Cats Have Brown Eyes?

tiger colored cat with brown eyes

We know that cats with brown eyes aren’t prevalent, but it’s nothing much of a concern either. Some felines have brown or hazel eyes, resulting from excessive amounts of melanin present in their iris.

The true eye color of cats starts with the iris, the colored portion surrounding the circular pupils.

There are two layers in a cat’s iris – a) the stroma and b) the epithelium.

Both of these layers consist of melanocytes – pigment-producing cells. These melanocytes are instead loosely arranged in the stroma. However, they’re more tightly packed in the epithelium portion of the iris.

What is Melanin?

Melanin is a natural skin pigment produced by melanocytes, and it determines the color of a cat’s fur, skin, and eyes.

The type and amount of melanin present in human beings, cats, and many other animals say a lot about the hair, eye, and skin color they’d have.

There are two primary components of melanin, namely eumelanin and pheomelanin.

While the former produces black and brown shades, the latter has more reddish and yellowish hues.

These two may be present in lesser or higher amounts, and in combination, they define the animal’s eye, hair, and skin color.

Brown or hazel is one of the rarest cat eye colors. Feral cats and wild cats, like bobcats and lynxes, are usually the ones with hazel-colored eyes.

An increased number of melanocytes present in a cat’s irises will result in darker-colored eyes.

However, at times, cats don’t get black or brown-colored eyes like us. It may be more of a dark and rich copper color.

Sometimes, it’s normal for cats to change eye color gradually with time.

For instance, a cat may change their blue or green “kitten eyes” to a more mature and adult eye color, such as hazel, brown, or a darker shade of yellow or orange.

So, unless your cat’s eye color changes all of a sudden, there’s nothing to worry about.

Cats that have a bright golden-yellow eye color are a result of high melanocyte activity.

On the other hand, cats with less active melanocytes may get a pale lemon-yellow tinge in their eyes.

Did you know that the irises of blue-eyed cats are showing a lack of melanin?

The blue eyes are mainly because of the refraction of light since the eye lens are oval, and there’s not much melanin content present to give the eyes any color.

When light refracts through a circular surface, the blue color is produced, and hence we see the blue hues in a cat that lacks melanin content in its irises.

What Are the Color of a Kitten’s Eyes?

Did you ever wonder why your cat had rather green or blue eyes when it was a kitten, and gradually it changed color as it started growing old?

Most kittens are born with blue eyes because their melanocyte hasn’t developed the proper color vision.

When cats reach the age of 4-6 weeks, their melanocyte starts to function well, and you can see the actual color of their eyes.

As cats reach four months of age, you’ll notice that the natural color of their eyes is fully developed.

Can a Cat’s Eye Color be Linked with its Breed?

Yes, in some cases, there is a link between a cat’s breed and the eye color it gets. In short, a cat’s eye color is genetic in many cases, and the same goes for their fur or hair color.

Although a cat’s eye color is not linked to its fur coat color, there is an exception.

For instance, Siamese cats are one such breed whose eye color is related to their coat color, and almost all Siamese cats have typical blue eyes with different shades of varying intensity.

All the Possibilities of Cat’s Eye Colors

cat with different eye colors

There can be some rare cat eye colors, and some of them even look hypnotic yet fascinating. The following is a list of all the possibilities of feline eyeshades, including both rare and conventional colors.

Cats With Blue Eyes

As already mentioned, blue is not the true color of the iris; it’s instead caused due to the refraction of light through a rounded surface.

Besides, a cat appears to have a blue eye color because it lacks melanin in the irises, and light is reflected around the irises’ curved edges.

These bluish eye shades may range from a pale, light sky blue to a deep and bright sapphire.

The Tonkinese breed of cats has a beautiful shade of aqua blue in their eyes, which is quite unusual and is not seen in any other cat breed.

Cats with white fur may commonly have blue eyes, which is generally due to a dominant white gene called the epistatic white gene.

A cat with this dominant gene gets an entirely white coat since other color-coded genes are repressed.

An interesting but sad fact is many white cats with blue eyes are often born deaf!

It’s because their epistatic white gene may sometimes cause the animal’s cochlea present in the inner ear to degenerate within the first few days after birth.

Cats With Green Eyes

Some cats may get shades of green as their eye colors are mixed with some yellowish undertones.

Others may get a combination of true green and some shades of blue. Yet some other green-eyed cats may show subtle yellowish or golden dots, giving it a nice blend of dual tones.

Some examples of cat breeds having green eyes include the Egyptian Mau, Russian Blue cats, Havana cats, and Norwegian Forest Cats.

Did you know that the Russian Blue breed has vivid green eyes, almost shining like an emerald!

Cats With Yellow and Amber Eyes

Cats with yellow eyes may get various shades, starting from pale lemon yellow to brilliant golden hues.

The cat breeds with yellow and amber eyes include Bengal, Manx, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Sphynx, Bombay, LaPerm, and the Norwegian Forest Cat.

In the Burmese breed, you can see exceptionally striking and bright golden eyes.

Yellow or amber is a relatively common color seen in cats.

Cats With Hazel Eyes

Feline breeds like Bengal, Abyssinian, Singapura, Scottish Fold, and the Cornish Rex have hazel or brown eyes.

Most wild cats seen across temperate regions (such as Lynx and Bobcats) have hazel-colored eyes.

Cats With Copper Eyes

Copper eyes are one of the lightest color shades seen in cats. It’s light brown with some tones of orange or red.

In some copper-eyed cats, you may even see tinges of green, yellow, or orange.

Copper is a slightly rarer colored eye than yellow or green-eyed cats.

The common breeds with dark copper or light brown eyes include the Japanese Bobtail, Persian, Maine Coon, Chartreux, and Cornish Rex.

Cats With Orange Eyes

gray cat with orange eyes

Orange is another unusual color that’s easily distinguishable from other shades.

Other shades like green and yellow may be hard to differentiate from each other due to subtle flecks and hints of one shade present in another.

But with orange cats, the eye color is relatively straightforward and vivid.

Orange is a color that stands out easily against any coat color, and it can be easily identified in the dark.

A group of British cat breeders initially developed this eye color to make these breeds easily distinguishable.

Some cat species having orange eyes include the Japanese Bobtail, Devon Rex, American Wirehair, Turkish Van, and the Maine Coon.

Like copper, orange, too, is a rare hue for a cat’s eyes.

Cats With Odd-Colored Eyes

Have you seen a cat with each eye having a different color? Yes, they have two different colored eyes, and it’s a scarce one.

Heterochromia iridium or odd-colored eyes is a phenomenon when each iris gets a different color.

For example, one eye may either be yellow, green, or brown, while the other gets a blue hue.

It may result from some genetic “error” or congenital, which happened when the cat’s embryo was developing.

Cats With Dichroic or Dichromatic Eyes

Cats with dichroic or dichromatic eyes are the rarest ones on our list and are pretty stunning, no doubt.

Cats with dichromatic or dichroic eyes have a combination of dual colors in both eyes.

In other words, one-half or a quarter of the eye is of one color, and the remaining portion is of another shade.

Another possibility is when the eyes have a differently colored oval section near the pupil shapes, and it gradually blends into another color towards the edges.

A dichroic eye is caused by different levels of melanin present in other sections of the cat’s iris.

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