How To Breed Odd Eyed Cats? Heterochromia Explained

Mostly everybody loves the mystifying look of a cat with two different colored eyes, known as “heterochromia”. Cats who have heterochromia have one blue eye, while the other eye can be green, brown or copper. Every breeder at some point has surely wondered how to breed odd eyed cats.
Be glad you found this article, this is something we will cover!

All kittens are born with blue eyes. Their eyes slowly change color as they get older, because melanin is gradually being delivered to the irises of the kittens. They will have their permanent eye color by the age of 3 months!

If the melanin fails to be delivered to the iris of one eye, this causes heterochromia. The eye that did not get melanin will stay a lovely icy blue, while the other will develop into a color as normal.

Now that you understand that basics of how this happens, you may be wondering…

How Rare Are Odd Eyed Cats?

Well there is no specific data on the number of cats with odd eyes, it is still rare to find a cat with heterochromia.

It is most common to find heterochromia in white cats. This is because of the gene that causes them to have their white coat can also prevent color pigmentation from reaching their eyes. This is also the case for cats that have the “white spotting” gene which causes large white spots in the coat, often referred to as “van” or “harlequin” coat patterns. It is, however, considered very rare for cats with dark or black fur coats to have odd eyes.

Here is some adorable examples of an odd eyed cat

how to breed odd eyes cats
White Cat With Heterochromia
Odd Eyed Cat
Harlequin Cat With Heterochromia

Are Odd Eyed Cats Deaf?

According to The Cornell Feline Health Center, researchers have found that about 40% of odd eyed cats are deaf. It is much more common that an all white cat with blue eyes will be dear, raising the percentage to 65% to 85%.

White fur and blue eyes, or odd eyes, are both from a lack of melanin. Stem cells that create the melanin also develop the cat’s inner ear to create hearing. Because all white cats lack the stem cells that create melanin, the inner ear never develop. This results in deafness in these cats.

Since odd eyed cats are only missing melanin in one eye, they are usually only deaf on the side with the blue eye.

Now let’s get to the good part…

Breeding Cats with Different Colored Eyes

The heterochromia gene can definitely be inherited from the mating parents. If you have a breeding cat that has odd eyes, then it is most likely that you will have a kitten with odd eyes at some point. The probability of having an odd eyed kitten in a litter has not yet been determined. As previously mentioned, the gene is most common in white cats. Having a white mating cat will certainly increase your chances of producing odd eyed kittens.

However, a cat can also CARRY the gene and it would not be dominant (showing) in the mating cat. Since there is no way to test for it, this can be harder to identify. It can sometimes be traced back in the pedigree of your queen and your stud, if you are able to find pictures of each cat on each side (which will prove itself difficult!)

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6 thoughts on “How To Breed Odd Eyed Cats? Heterochromia Explained”

  1. Dam and Sire BOTH have to carry the gene? Or just have the gene on one side in order to produce odd eye kittens ( maybe somewhere down the line).

      1. I have an odd eye Sphynx male and hesitant in neutering him because I guess I am hoping he mates and gets other odd eye kittens.

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