What are the reasons why black cats have yellow eyes? Black cats can have yellow eyes because they are melanistic animals.
Melanism is when an animal has very high levels of melanin causing their coat to be very dark and this also affects the pigment in the iris.
Black Cat Eye Color
Black cats typically have green, orange (copper), or yellow (golden) eyes.
It is very rare but black cats can actually permanently have blue eyes too.
Bombay Cats are a breed of cat that have a solid black coat and typically have copper or golden colored eyes.
American or European shorthairs with a solid black coat more commonly have green eyes.
What is melanism?
Melanism is the complete opposite of albinism and relates to developed dark pigment on the body of a human or animal.
Melanism is a word that derives from Greek and has the meaning black pigment.
When an animal has developed dark pigmentation through the process of melanism, the animal is known as a melanistic animal.
What Determines a Cat’s Eye Color?
Just like other animals, genetics are at play when it comes to determining eye color.
The genetic make-up that an animal has will determine the amount of melanin that an animal has and this amino acid is what has a bearing on the color of the animal’s body parts.
Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells and the varying number of cells will then determine eye color.
There is no golden rule when it comes to melanin levels relating to fur and eyes.
Animals with very dark fur can have light eyes and animals with light fur can have dark eyes.
It can get very complicated as the genetic make-up of an animal is not straight-forward.
Why Black Cats Have Yellow Eyes – My Thoughts
We live with an American Shorthair called Coco and he has eyes that look green most of the time but sometimes can look yellow.
It was actually Coco’s eye color that enabled me to identify his breed.
When we took Coco to the vet for his first injections when he was still very young, the vet thought that he was a Bombay Cat.
Now for a while, I did think that this was the case.
After doing a bit of research, I found that Bombay cats weren’t as common as people think and that they are a relatively new and experimental breed.
Bombay Cats are the only breed of domestic cat with a solid black cat that are exclusively black!
There are 22 black cat breeds that are recognized and Bombay cats really stand out because of their distinctive Orange eyes.
I thought to myself one day “Coco doesn’t have copper or orange eyes”.
His eyes are yellow-looking sometimes but are mainly green-looking most of the time.
This is what leads me to believe that he is an American or European Shorthair but for the purposes of this blog, I’ll call him an American Shorthair.
His eyes are are very distinctive part of his overall look for me.
Such bright eyes really stand out against his dark fur and this has to be one of my favorite features of the black cat.
Cat’s eyes are mesmerizing as it is but I think the green/yellow or copper color against black or dark fur is quite breath-taking.
When people see Coco for the first time you can almost guarantee that they will comment on the color of his eyes and for good reason.
As you can see the reason why black cats have yellow eyes is complex, very scientific and interesting indeed…
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