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 back cats have green eyes?
There are 22 breeds of black cats, and while many have green eyes, not all of them do. They can also have yellow, copper, or blue eyes that are hard not to notice as they stand out beautifully against their dark black fur.
What Determines Eye Color in Cats?
Like all animals and humans, the color of a cat’s eyes is determined by genetics. Melanin is the amino acid 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.
How To Tell a Black Cat Will Have Green Eyes
When kittens are born, their eyes are closed and will begin to open between 2 to ten days. When they are fully open, you will notice that they are a mesmerizing shade of blue, but they will begin to change color after 3 to 8 weeks. By the time your kitty is 3 months old, the color of its eyes is the 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 pigmented cells that will eventually transform your kitten’s eyes into a specific color are found in the stroma and epithelium. 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 genetics has nothing to do with the color of a cat’s eyes, you won’t be able to tell a kitten’s eye color 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
A cat’s eyes, whichever color they sparkle, are very valuable. While a cat’s vision cannot see in the fine details or rich colors humans can admire, it is well adapted for night vision. While they are not adapted to seeing in total darkness, their vision can adjust easily to low light levels. This is thanks to the tapetum lucidum, which 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.
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 that is as smooth and soft as satin.
Featured Image Credit: Alexandra Morosanu, Shutterstock