Whether it’s true or not is harder to say, but if you notice that your feline’s eyes are starting to change colors, it’s understandable to be concerned. After all, any change in your cat’s health and appearance can be a signal that there’s something wrong. You’re probably wondering, why do my cat’s eyes change color?
A cat’s eyes change color as a response to different lighting conditions or underlying health issues. Eye change is relatively rare in cats, except when kittens are growing up.
Don’t worry; this article will dive into some of the specifics of changing eye color. Even though it’s rare, we know how important it is for cat owners to know what to expect.
Is It Normal For Your Cat’s Eyes To Change Colors
It’s normal for kitten’s eyes to change color right up until they are about 8-10 weeks old. That’s because cats are born with relatively little melanin in their eyes. As their melanocytes start to activate, their irises will develop more melanin, changing the color.
It’s essential to consider your cat’s age when trying to figure out if it’s normal for your cat’s eyes to change color. It’s also essential to think about the color of your cat’s eyes.
That’s why most kittens are born with blue eyes; they have almost no melanin in their eyes when they are born.
However, as your cat gets older, it’s not expected or typical for your cat’s eyes to change color. There is one exception though, cats with yellow/green eyes can look like their eyes are changing colors slightly. That’s because that particular coloration is more light-sensitive to our eyes so that it can look like your cat’s eyes are more yellow or more green depending on the lighting.
Otherwise, it’s generally a cause for concern if your cat’s eyes start to change colors and appearance. We’ll talk about some of the common reasons for color changes, but it’s generally best to get your cat to a vet as quickly as possible if you notice changes in your cat’s eye color.
Sudden changes can be the most concerning. If your cat’s eyes look different one day to the next, or after a few hours, chances are they need medical attention.
5 Reasons Your Cat’s Eyes Change Color
Outside of a kitten growing up, the reasons for eye color changes are generally pretty negative. So, take a deep breath, remember that this article isn’t meant to help diagnose your cat. Instead, if you’re worried your cat’s eyes are changing color and that they might have an underlying health condition causing the problem, get them to the vet.
Your vet will be able to make suggestions, including possible treatments and things that can help prevent the problem from recurring.
Your Cat Has Uveitis
Uveitis is relatively common and results from inflammation in the uveal tract of your cat’s eye. It can affect one eye or both. While the uveal tract of your cat’s eyes can get inflamed on their own, it’s more likely for there to be some underlying medical condition that’s irritating.
Common causes include bacterial infections, trauma to the eye from a scratch or a hard impact, viral diseases, high blood pressure, and other causes. In some cases, Uveitis can be a sign of metastatic tumors and other severe conditions, but usually, it’s more routine.
High Blood Pressure Is Affecting Your Cat
We already mentioned high blood pressure as a possible cause of uveitis, but it’s important to note that high blood pressure can cause changes to the appearance of your cat’s eyes.
Dealing with high blood pressure is essential because it can lead to additional eye damage and uveitis. Left alone for too long, the high pressure can cause permanent damage to your cat’s eyes along with other health problems.
Your Cat Has Glaucoma
Glaucoma can happen to cats just like it happens in humans. Like humans, glaucoma in cats is caused by excessive pressure inside your cats’ eyes. It can make your cat’s eyes go cloudy over time.
Advanced glaucoma can cause your cat’s eyes to turn a cloudy blue or a milky white. It can affect their eyesight and can also be a possible cause of uveitis.
Glaucoma is severe, so it’s essential to get your cat evaluated by a vet as soon as you see any symptoms.
Portosystemic Liver Shunts In Cats
If your cat’s eyes start to turn a coppery color, it may be a sign that your cat has a Portosystemic Liver Shunt. These abnormal growths create a bypass in your cat’s intestines that allowed food and nutrients to bypass the liver during digestion.
Bypassing the liver can allow higher than average toxin buildup, which in turn can cause liver damage. Since this is a genetic abnormality, most cats who display the copper eye color will already have it when you adopt them.
However, the copper color can develop later in your cat’s life. There are also rare cases where your cat can develop a portosystemic liver shunt later in life, usually when their liver is already under stress.
Some breeders breed for this trait since the coppery coloring can be exotic; unfortunately, breeding this way does not consider the cat’s health, and these cats can need expensive treatments to keep them healthy and happy.
Portosystemic liver shunts, or PSS, can be managed with a combination of diet and medication in some cases. Other times your vet may recommend surgery to minimize the effects of PSS and give your cat more of everyday life.
In addition to the causes we’ve already mentioned, adult cats might have changes in their eye color due to various bacterial infections in their eyes. Usually, these infections are treatable, but it’s essential to get your cat to a vet as quickly as possible since the infection symptoms will likely worsen over time.
In the worst-case scenario, your cat may have permanent damage from ongoing eye infections if they aren’t treated promptly.
Why Has One Of My Cat’s Eyes Changed Color
If one of your cat’s eyes is a different color than the other eye, then congratulations! Your cat has heterochromia or genetically different colored eyes.
However, suppose you know that your cat doesn’t have heterochromia, or their eye turns an abnormal color like dark black or reddish. In that case, it’s more likely that your cat is dealing with an eye infection or some other medical condition.
Cloudy eyes can also be a cause for concern, even if the color of your cat’s eyes haven’t changed.
Do Cats Eyes Change Color At Night
Technically, no, your cat’s eyes don’t change color at night. However, since cats have relatively good night vision, their eyes can look very different at night. That’s because the part of your cat’s eye that gives them good night sight is reflective. When light reflects through your cat’s eye, it can look like the iris is a different color or like they have bright shining eyes with no iris or pupil at all.
Rest assured, though, your cat will still have the same color eyes if you switch on a light.
Do Cats Eyes Change Color As They Age
Yes and no. Your cat’s eye color shouldn’t change much over time, except when they are a kitten until they are about three months old. That means that your kitten’s eyes may change, but an adult cat’s eyes will typically stay the same primary color as they get older.
Don’t worry too much about the slight changes in the shade as your cat gets older. This is a little like people’s eyes. The general color stays the same, but the exact shade and detail of the colors can shift slightly over time.
Why Did My Cat’s Eye Turn Black
Most often, if your cat’s eyes have turned black, they respond to low light conditions. Your cat’s irises can expand and contract on their own to help them see better. Cats will naturally open their iris wider so that their pupil receives more light, improving their eyesight at night.
Sometimes cat’s pupils will expand even in light that seems bright to people or because they are happy or sleepy at the time.
However, there is a rarer cause of black eyes as well. Iris melanosis may be to blame if your cat’s eyes seem to be getting darker over time, even when their pupils are small and contained. Iris melanosis is an over-proliferation of melanin in your cat’s eyes and starts with a small dot of excess melanin and progresses over time.
Fortunately, iris melanosis itself is a benign condition. However, it can develop into a malignant condition, so cats with iris melanosis need to be carefully monitored by their vets to make sure their eyes are healthy.