Understanding Cat Eye Color Changes

If you have had a pet cat from the time it was a young kitten, you may have noticed that the color of its eyes changes over time. Cat eye color is somewhat variable, especially in the first stage of development. However, feline eye color changes may also indicate serious health concerns that warrant medical attention. Consequently, it is important to understand when and why a cat’s eye color may change.

Kitten Eye Color

Most kittens are born with blue eyes. As a kitten’s sense of sight develops over the next several weeks, his eyes begin to take on a variety of other colors. Eventually, at somewhere between 3 and 8 weeks of age, your kitten will probably have eyes that are flecked a mixture of browns, yellows and oranges. It is not uncommon to see shades of green and amber as well.

An older cat with blue eyes may have sustained eye damage or may be blind. However, blinded cats may have eyes of any number of color combinations, so blue eyes are not a strong indicator of cat eye problems.

Changing Eye Color Later in Life

Once a kitten’s eyes have developed completely, by about 3 months of age, his eyes should be done changing color. If, at this point, you detect any other eye color changes, it may be a sign of eye damage or a serious underlying medical condition. Cases in which a cat’s eyes change color dramatically over a short period of time are of particular concern.

While changing eye color may indicate a relatively common medical concern such as cat eye infection, it may also suggest the presence of more serious, and potentially fatal, ailments. Another relatively common eye condition is called uveitis. Uveitis is an inflammation of the eyeball that may lead to permanent eye damage if left untreated. Cats experiencing uveitis often develop abnormally yellow or red-orange colored eyes.

Cat Eye Color as an Indicator of Serious Disease

If your cat’s eyes suddenly seem dark yellow or unusually brown, your cat may be suffering from a more serious underlying health condition. Changes in color of this type often indicate a buildup of red blood cells in the eyeball. This may be caused by eye trauma, an uncommon eye infection or even feline leukemia or AIDS.

Pay attention to the color and complexion of your cat’s eyes. Your ability to identify a wide range of feline health issues, eye-related and otherwise, may be partially or completely dependent upon your ability to recognize changes to the color of his eyes. If your cat’s eyes change color unexpectedly, gather as much information about your cat’s health as you can and schedule an appointment with a veterinarian. Your prompt action will help to ensure that your veterinarian is able to identify and treat any underlying medical condition responsible for the change in eye color.