Of the many flora and fauna that sport the color of money, few are as intriguing as our feline friends. There’s something so mystifying about cats with green eyes! Let’s find out more about these beautiful creatures with the verdant-hued peepers.
In the beginning …
All cats begin life with their eyes sealed shut. They live in a world of darkness for the first week to ten days of life. The transition from somewhat to fully opened takes about two weeks. When kittens first open their eyes, they are blue. Usually, at about 6 weeks old, cats’ eye color begins to change. By 6 months old, their eyes should be their true color. They may stay a variant of blue, turn a coppery tone, any shade of yellow, and of course, land on the spectrum of green.
What determines cat eye color?
The color of a cat’s eyes has to do with a few factors within the iris. Basically it’s all cellular: melanin and melanocyte activity. The color is determined by two variables: hue and intensity. The more melanin, the more intense the color. Melanocytes, also found in the iris, control the color (the more there is, the darker the eyes will be).
One interesting facet regarding the variety of colors that cat’s eyes possess comes from the most unlikely of sources: humans. That’s right; somewhere in the domestication process of kitties sprang a rainbow-like range of eye colors. According to Juan J. Negro, M. Carmen Blázquez and Ismael Galván, in their abstract, Intraspecific eye color variability in birds and mammals: a recent evolutionary event exclusive to humans and domestic animals, most wild animals have a very limited eye color available within a species. And, of course, domestication brings along selective breeding and, with it, a broader range of cat coloration – including coats and eyes.
Green, green were her eyes
In people, only about 2% of the population are believed to have green eyes. This is due to the fact that there is less melanin mixing with pigment-producing pheomelanin.
Some of the most famous cats on the internet boast a green eye. Odd-eyed cats, aka cats with two different eye colors, often sport a green eye and a blue eye, like Venus, the two-faced cat. Alos also has bi-colored eyes, which is scientifically known as Heterochromia Iridis. This is not to be confused with Sectoral Heterochromia, which is when the iris has different colors within the same iris.
The internet also has some darlings with two green eyes:
And an honorable mention for popularity and stunning green eyes is Morris the Cat – the celebrity hawker of 9 Lives cat food, who over the years has been a series of rescued orange tabbies!
Green-eyed cat breeds
While many mixed-breed house cats have green eyes, they are the either the conformation standard for some standout felines or one of a few accepted standards.
- Abyssinian (a few colors, including a range of greens)
- Egyptian Mau (gooseberry)
- Havana Brown (emerald)
- Norwegian Forest Cat (anywhere from a mossy tint to deep pine)
- Russian Blue (vivid green)
- Sphynx (a variety of colors, including pale green to hunter green)
- Turkish Angora (a few colors, including a variety of sea foam greens to emerald)
Make mine a rescue
Of all the types of cats with green eyes, among the most cherished are rescue cats! As evidenced by the number of rescue kitties who are in the hallowed celebrity circle, there are many gorgeous kitties with green eyes ready to go home at your local shelter.
“Our black cats with especially green eyes usually go home pretty quickly,” shares Gabby Stroup, shelter manager at North Fork Animal Welfare League. “A lot of times the black cats’ bodies and coats look really similar, so the shelter staff identify them by their eye color. Even when they have green eyes, no two cats have the same colored eyes.”
Amy is the perfect example. Her eyes are not just green, but one is more chartreuse and the other is more teal-mint!
Whether you’re looking for a purebred or a rescue, a cat with green eyes will melt your heart and make every day a bit brighter – just like their eyes!