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Grey cat with bright blue eyes

Once you make eye contact with a blue-eyed cat, it’s hard to look away. They are less common than those with brown or green eyes, making them that much more notable when you spot one. These mystical peepers are often the result of a recessive albinism gene most commonly found in pointed, or colorpoint, breeds. But, although these breeds share their piercing blue eyes, they are each unique in their own way, whether it be their coat patterns, temperament, or history. Here’s what you should know about some popular cat breeds adored for their blue eyes.

1. Siamese

In addition to their almond-shaped eyes, Siamese cats are known for their unique pointed coat patterns, which come in colors such as blue point, lilac point, seal point, and chocolate point. One of the oldest known breeds in the cat world, the history of these blue-eyed beauties traces back to 13th century Thailand, where they were originally known as “Siams.” While needy, the breed is highly-intelligent and affectionate. They’re also very talkative, but only because they love socializing with their owners and visitors! Descendants of the Siamese cat include the Tonkinese, Burmese, and Savannah.

A Siamese cat lying down

Facts about the Siamese

  • Weight — 7-10 pounds
  • Intelligence — High
  • Vocalizations — Frequent and loud
  • Life span — 13-15 years

2. Balinese

The Balinese, bearing a similar look to a long-haired Siamese cat, has a fluffy coat and a small, elegant body. Brown, ivory, or cream coats and plumed tails are the norm for this playful and vocal breed. Named after dancers in Bali due to their graceful movements, Balinese cats were recognized in the 1950s as a separate breed from the Siamese. It’s a good idea for Balinese owners to consider elevated perches, like cat trees, to satiate their love of climbing and take advantage of their athletic abilities. Above all, these cats are an affectionate breed, and with their steely blue eyes, it’s not hard for them to get the attention they crave.

Balinese cat in a garden

Facts about the Balinese

  • Weight — 8-15 pounds
  • Intelligence — High
  • Vocalizations — Frequent and loud
  • Life span — 15-20 years

3. Birman

A gentle demeanor combined with deep blue eyes is what makes the fluffy Birman a household favorite. Though its origins are murky, many of today’s Birmans trace back to France and England at the turn of the 20th century. Along with a thick ruff around the neck and rounded muzzles, combinations of coats can occur in up to six colors and 20 varieties. The breed is calm, snuggly, and adaptive to different household environments.

White Birman cat with blue eyes

Facts about the Birman

  • Weight — 6-12 pounds
  • Intelligence — High
  • Vocalizations — Not often
  • Life span — 12-16 years

4. Ragdoll

Ragdolls got their name from their tendency to go limp when they get scooped up. And apparently, they’re getting scooped up a lot — according to the Cat Fanciers Association, ragdolls were the most popular cat breed worldwide in 2022. A long coat with a range of colors and patterns, plus gorgeous blue eyes, are the distinguishing features of these floppy cats. These medium-sized cats are often compared to dogs because they tend to follow their humans around the house and sleep in bed with them, along with their overall eagerness to please them. Just make sure you set aside plenty of human time for your ragdoll cat as they are prone to depression or anxiety when left alone for long periods.

Ragdoll cat outdoors

Facts about the ragdoll

  • Weight — 10-15 pounds (female), 15-20 pounds (male)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Vocalizations — Infrequent, soft, and musical
  • Life span — 12-18 years

5. Himalayan

Like the Siamese, the Himalayan descends from the Persian cat, as seen in its long, dense coats, similar pointed color patterns, and bright blue eyes. Bred as a Siamese Persian cross, Himalayans possess common characteristics of both breeds. Of course, with such thick fur, you can expect to do a lot of grooming, but it will be worth it when you see them strutting around your home in their marvelous mink-like coats. Looks aside, they’re incredibly gentle felines that love cozying up to their humans, whether it be in a large home or a smaller unit. Although playful, they often prefer a snuggle session to more athletic activities.

Blue eyed Himalayan cat

Facts about the Himalayan

  • Weight — 7-12 pounds
  • Intelligence — High
  • Vocalizations — Infrequent and musical
  • Life span — 9-15 years

6. Snowshoe

Vivid blue eyes paired with a distinct V-shaped marking on its face makes the snowshoe an easy cat to admire. This breed came about fairly recently in the 1960s by breeding the Siamese cat with the American shorthair. The breed earned its namesake due to its signature white feet. Since it inherited the American shorthair’s – well – short hair, minimal grooming is required. That frees up plenty of time for games that involve interactive toys, which snowshoes love.

Snowshoe cat sitting outside

Facts about the snowshoe

  • Weight — 7-14 pounds
  • Intelligence — High
  • Vocalizations — Frequent and soft
  • Life span — 14-20 years

7. Tonkinese

Though not a strictly blue-eyed cat – its eyes also come in green, as well as a lighter aqua blue shade – Tonkinese have been dazzling people since they first arrived in the United States back in the 1930s when a retired Navy doctor imported one from Burma, hoping for a Siamese. With a lifespan of up to 20 years, you’ll get plenty of years with this entertaining breed. Just set them up with a scratching post and some high perches and watch them explore until they tucker themselves out, then enjoy some lap time with this cuddle bug. Be warned, though, as Tonkinese cats are considered one of the most vocal breeds. If your cat is still meowing incessantly after their dietary and exercise needs are met, consult your veterinarian to rule out underlying health issues or a trainer to curb this behavior.

Tonkinese cat lying on a bed

Facts about the Tonkinese

  • Weight — 6-12 pounds
  • Intelligence — High
  • Vocalizations — Frequent and loud
  • Life span — 15-20 years

8. Turkish Angora

Considered a national treasure in its homeland of Turkey, the Turkish Angora is a native and ancient breed. In fact, it is even believed that the prophet Muhammad had one. Although its eyes come in different colors, blue is the most common. Some even have two different eye colors depending on their genes. The long hair around the eyes can irritate, so owners will need to be diligent when it comes to trimming and overall grooming. Angoras are a high-energy breed that will thrive on lots of attention and playtime from their owners. If they don’t get it, they’ll often resort to mischievous behavior like opening cabinets and knocking over belongings. About 30 minutes of exercise a day will keep them stimulated and cuddly.

Turkish Angora cat

Facts about the Turkish Angora

  • Weight — 5-8 pounds (female), 7-10 pounds (male)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Vocalizations — Infrequent but loud
  • Life span — 15-18 years

9. Ojos azules

Ojos azules is Spanish for “blue eyes,” a distinctive feature of this rare breed that first appeared quite recently in 1984 from a colony of feral cats in New Mexico. The cats appear in several coat colors, including solid black, making them the only black cat  breed with blue eyes. Though the breed standard is still being developed, these cats are generally considered affectionate, active, and very intelligent. They can be pretty vocal when craving attention, so owners should carve out playtime each day to avoid incessant whining from their feline friends.

Ojos azules cat

Facts about the ojos azules

  • Weight — 9-12 pounds
  • Intelligence — High
  • Vocalizations — Occasional
  • Life span — 10-12 years

Why cats have blue eyes

Next time you lock eyes with a blue-eyed cat, know that there’s a science behind its captivating stare. A cat’s eye color is determined by melanocytes, a group of cells that make up the pigmentation. As you may have noticed, all kittens are born with blue eyes due to low levels of melanin in the womb. By the time they are adult cats, the eye color of many cat breeds changes based on the amount of melanocytes they have. Others with fewer melanocytes (typically pointed breeds) won’t produce eye pigmentation, making their peepers appear blue when light is reflected off of them.

Frequently asked questions

Does a cat’s eye color change?

All kittens are born with blue eyes. When they’re around six weeks old, their eyes gradually change to their permanent adult color (or in the case of blue-eyed cats, stay the same due to a lack of pigment). Once they are adults, any change in their eye color could be a sign of a possible infection and will require a vet visit.

Is it rare for a cat to have blue eyes?

Yes, blue eyes in a cat are less common than other colors and only appear in a select few breeds, including the Siamese, snowshoe, Himalayan, and ragdoll.

Are blue-eyed cats deaf?

Blue eyes are not inherently linked to deafness in most breeds, except for when it comes to cats with solid white coats. White cats, in general, are prone to deafness, and in the case of blue-eyed white cats, they likely have a melanocyte deficiency in which the organ of Corti in the inner ear doesn’t develop in their ears and can lead to deafness.

Why do blue eyes glow red?

Ever notice how a cat’s eyes glow green at night? This is because of its tapetum lucidum, a layer between the lens and retina that reflects light and increases visibility. But blue-eyed cats have fewer cells in their tapetum lucidum layer, which causes their eyes to glow red and makes it harder for them to see in the dark.