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Is It True That All Black Cats Have Green Eyes? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

portrait of black cat with beautiful green eyes

Is It True That All Black Cats Have Green Eyes? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Black cats are admired for their lustrous, velvet-like black fur that likens them to sleek, prowling panthers. They are also commonly associated with superstition and bad luck, and some people throw caution at the sight of a confident black cat. When you think about a black cat, green eyes and silky black fur is the image that comes to mind, but is it true that all black cats have green eyes?

There are 22 breeds of black cats, and while many have green eyes, definitely not all of them do. They can also have yellow, orange, copper, or blue eyes that are hard not to notice as they stand out beautifully against their dark black fur.

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What Determines Eye Color in Cats?

black bombay cat sitting on grass
Image Credit: xiclography, Pixabay

Like all animals and humans, the color of a cat’s eyes is determined by genetics. Melanin is the pigment that determines the color of a cat’s fur, eyes, and skin. More melanin will mean darker eyes and fur, but interestingly enough, it can affect them differently, meaning a dark-furred cat can have light-colored eyes. Some cats can even end up with two different-colored eyes! Some cats can also have dichromatic eyes, which means one eye can have two different colors.

The color of a cat’s eyes is all in the iris. A cat without melanin will have blue eyes, and green-eyed cats will similarly have low melanin.

Are Black Cats With Green Eyes Rare?

Black cats with green eyes are not hard to find. Some of them are bred that way because they are in high demand by pet owners.

The most popular breed of black cats with green eyes are:
  • Japanese Bobtail: A distinct characteristic of a Japanese Bobtail is their 3-inch tail. They also adorn shiny black coats and green, blue or golden eyes.
  • American Curl: The American curl can come in various colors and patterns, which include black. They are sometimes seen with green eyes but can also have an iris of any color.
  • American Shorthair: As one of the most popular breeds, American Shorthair cats are commonly black, and some feature striking green eyes.

How to Tell if a Black Cat Will Have Green Eyes

a black cat sitting outdoor
Image Credit: kristen17, Pixabay

When kittens are born, their eyes are closed and will begin to open between 7 to 10 days. When they are fully open, you will notice that they are a mesmerizing shade of blue, but they will begin to change color when they are about 7 weeks old. By the time your kitty is 3 months old, the color of their eyes is a permanent hue.

It is not easy to determine if your cat’s eye color will be green, but while they are still very young, studying their color can give you an idea. The pigment that will eventually transform your kitten’s eyes into a specific color is found in the stroma and epithelium of the iris. Kittens with less pigment will likely have green eyes, while those with no pigment will have blue eyes. If there is a lot of pigment, your cat will likely have orange or gold eyes.

Because the genetics that control the color of a cat’s eyes are quite complex, you won’t always be able to accurately predict a kitten’s eye color just by looking at their biological mother or father.

What Does a Black Cat With Green Eyes Mean?

Black cats with green eyes are commonly associated with spiritual symbolism and superstitious beliefs. Some believe they can understand emotions and show up to assist you through a journey of healing. A black cat with green eyes may also indicate that it is time to cultivate your own form of magic.

Black cats were considered the witches’ helpers during the Middle Ages and believed to bring misfortune in the United States. In places like Ireland, Germany, and Britain, the presence of a black cat that crosses a path from left to right is considered good luck. Many people in the United Kingdom and Japan have a “lucky black cat” in the form of a keyring or other trinket.

A common myth or belief is that black cats are symbols of bad luck, especially if the cat walks across the path in front of you, which is thought to be a foreshadowing of death.

How Cats See the World

male black smoke Norwegian forest cat
Image Credit: Elisa Putti, Shutterstock

A cat’s eyes, whichever color they sparkle, are very valuable. While a cat’s vision is not optimized to see the fine details or rich colors humans can admire, it is extremely well adapted for night vision. While they are not attuned to seeing in total darkness, their vision can adjust easily to low light levels. This is thanks to the tapetum lucidum, a thin layer that sits behind the retina that amplifies the amount of light and is also the reason for the hypnotic and sometimes ominous glow of a cat’s eye. Cats’ eyes are also designed to see fast-moving objects since they are skilled predators.

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Final Thoughts

While black cats are usually associated with having green eyes, some have other eye colors. They are common in some breeds and being a popular combination, black cats with green eyes are widely available. Gold and copper eyes are also a common hue with black cats, and cats with other colors and patterns can also have green eyes. It all comes down to the melanin that will determine the color of a cat’s skin, fur, and eyes.

Dark fur doesn’t necessarily mean a cat will have dark eyes. One thing is for sure, whatever color a cat’s iris may be, they are sure to pop like jewels when they are surrounded by inky black fur.

Featured Image Credit: Alexandra Morosanu, Shutterstock

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