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Is it True That All Black Cats Have Yellow Eyes? The Myth, Facts & FAQ

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

black cat with yellow eyes lying on couch

Is it True That All Black Cats Have Yellow Eyes? The Myth, Facts & FAQ

There is something spooky yet alluring about black cats. For centuries, they have been associated with witchcraft, bad luck, and death. But black cats are also considered to be lucky in some cultures and are often revered as mystical creatures. Whether you believe that black cats are good or bad omens, there is no denying that they are fascinating and elegant animals.

One aspect of a black cat’s appearance that is determined by genetics is their eye color. As a result of their high melanin content, most black cats have golden irises. While yellow, hazel, and green eyes are the most common among black cats in general, other colors like copper and even different colored eyes are not unheard of. So, it is not true that all black cats have yellow eyes. Read on to discover more about the factors affecting the incidence of yellow eyes in black cats.

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The Myth: All Black Cats Have Yellow Eyes

There are many different types of eye colors in domestic cats, more than in any other domestic species, including dogs. Although some eye colors are characteristic of specific breeds, there are many types of eye colors found across a variety of mixed-breed and purebred cats. The eye color of a black cat is determined by the same factors that determine the eye color of any other cat—the pigmentation of the iris. The amount and type of melanin in the iris determines the color of the eye.

Cats with blue eyes have very little melanin in their irises, while cats with yellow eyes have a lot of melanin. There are also intermediate levels of melanin, which result in green, hazel, or orange eyes. There is a popular belief that all black cats have yellow eyes. However, this is not always the case. While most black cats do have yellow eyes, others may have green, hazel, or even orange eyes.

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

Famous Black Cats With Yellow Eyes

Perhaps part of the reason people believe all black cats have yellow eyes is that there have been a few yellow-eyed black cats that have been famous throughout history.

Some of these cats include:
  • Black Panther: This black cat is a superhero that first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1966. He has since been featured in several movies, TV shows, and video games. He is most often, though not always, depicted with golden or yellow eyes.
  • Salem: One of the most famous black cats is Salem from the TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Salem is a wise-cracking black cat who helps his teenage witch owner solve mysteries and fight evil. Salem has yellow eyes with a hint of green.
  • Another famous cat with yellow eyes is Binx from the 1993 film Hocus Pocus. Binx is a human boy who is turned into a black cat after he tries to save a young girl from being killed by three witches. He then helps the girl and her brother stop the witches from taking over the town on Halloween night. Binx is a brave and loyal friend, and he has bright yellow eyes.

Black Cat Breeds With Yellow Eyes

Another reason many people may think all black cats have yellow eyes could be because some black-haired cat breeds are far more likely to have yellow eyes than others. Let’s take a look at two black cat breeds that almost always have yellow eyes.

bombay cat on the grass
Image Credit: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock

The Bombay Cat Breed

The Bombay cat breed is a relatively new type of domestic cat, developed in the late 20th century. The Bombay is a hybrid between a black-furred American Shorthair and a sable-colored Burmese. This combination results in a sleek, short-haired black cat with copper eyes and a distinctively “wild” appearance. The Bombay breed is recognized by several major cat registries, including the International Cat Association (TICA) and the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA). They are known for their playful and affectionate nature.

The Korn Ja

The Korn Ja cat breed comes from Thailand and is small in size. They can have a range of monochromatic coat colors—including black—and vibrant yellow eyes. The breed has gained popularity due to Thai people’s belief that this is a lucky cat. They get along well with humans and enjoy interacting with them regularly. Korn Ja cats are curious, intelligent, and affectionate cats. They are excellent indoor cats, and they are accustomed to living in small apartments with other cats. First-time cat owners will find the Korn Ja easy to care for, and their care requirements are easy to meet.

korn ja cat resting
Image Credit: Bangtalay, Shutterstock

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The Science Behind Black Cats’ Eye Color

You won’t find brown or black eyes on cats comparable to those you find in humans. The darkest color you might see in a cat’s eyes is a vivid, intense copper color. Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin, which is the pigment that gives color to the skin, fur, and eyes. In cats, melanocytes are found in the outer layer of the skin and fur and the iris of the eye. Melanin levels passed on from their mother and father cats determine your cat’s coloration. Your cat’s fur will be darker the more melanin they inherit.

It is much more likely that black cats will have golden eyes. In white cats, blue eyes are statistically more common. This is because the epistatic white gene is dominant and masks other colors. However, genetically inherited melanin can affect cats’ eyes differently than their coats. That means it is entirely possible for the melanocytes in the fur to have a different level of activity than the ones in the eyes. Therefore, while it is not as likely, a black cat can have green or even odd-colored eyes.

Does the Color of a Black Cat’s Eyes Change as They Age?

The color of a cat’s eyes can change as they age. When kittens are born, their eyes are typically blue. As they grow older, the color of their eyes may change to green, yellow, or even brown. There is a very good chance that this change will begin for your kitten somewhere between 3–8 weeks of age. You should notice that this process is complete by the time your kitten turns 3 months old.

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In conclusion, the answer to whether or not all black cats have yellow eyes is no. Black cats can have green, hazel, or even orange eyes. However, the majority of black cats do have yellow eyes. Whatever the color of your cat’s fur or eyes, they are special beings and deserve our care and affection. However, if you are ever lucky enough to come across one of these special, yellow-eyed black-haired felines, be sure to give it some extra love and attention.

Featured Image Credit By: PetrFromMoravia, Pixabay

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