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One of the most beautiful features of cats is their eyes. With their slitted pupils and bright colors, there is something magic about these stunning windows to the soul. And if you’re wanting to know more about cat’s eyes, then you’re in the right place!
Yellow is one of the most common eye colors for cats. This can vary from bright piercing yellow to warm golden, copper, or even orange eyes. Green eyes can also look yellowy if there are small yellow specs in their iris that catch the light. Sometimes, cats can have two different colored eyes completely – one yellow and one blue.
Cats with yellow eyes are extremely popular, often associated with craftiness and the supernatural. And if you’re looking to get one of these beauties as a pet, you’re in luck. Here I have listed all the popular cat breeds that have yellow eyes. From the exotic Bengal to the huge Norweigian Forest Cat, there’s bound to be a breed here that you love.
What Breeds of Cat Have Yellow Eyes?
For anyone looking to get a cat with yellow eyes, you’re in luck! Yellow is one of the most common eye colors for cats. As such, yellow eyes appear in almost every breed around today.
Here’s a look at the top 15 breeds that are often seen with yellow eyes for you to take your pick from.
Many big cats have yellow eyes, such as lions, leopards, and tigers who use their big golden blinkers to hunt their prey. The Bengal cat was bred to resemble wild exotic cats like these, with stunning rosette or marbled markings on their coats comparable to a leopard’s spot. They come in both brown and snow varieties with short coats that are easy to care for.
Bengals also commonly have big yellow eyes reminiscent of big cats. At least, this is true for the traditional brown Bengal cat. Their eyes are usually either golden yellow or green in color. Silver, blue, black, and snow sepia varieties also have gold or green eyes. However, Bengals with the snow lynx coloration are always blue, and the snow mink Bengal will have either blue-green or aqua eyes.
Aside from their big wide eyes and distinctive markings, Bengal cats are also famous for their energetic and playful personalities. They’re extremely confident and athletic and need plenty of toys to keep their curious minds active. They love climbing to new places and have “dog-like” tendencies, happy to go on walks with their owners or play fetch.
2. American Shorthair
Another breed of cat that has yellow eyes is the American Shorthair. This breed makes great family pets as they have good-natured personalities. They are also more tolerant than many other felines, thus are fantastic if you have young kids as they can take a little heavy-handedness. While they are playful, they don’t require too much attention.
All American Shorthair cats – as the name suggests – have short-haired coats. However, there are multiple different color and patterns options accepted by the Cat Fanciers Association. This includes white, black, blue, cream, shaded, and smoke. Two-colored and calico cats are also accepted, as is the chinchilla variety which is where each strand of hair is tipped with a lighter color.
Most of these color variations come with golden yellow eyes, which is the most common eye color for the breed. Black American Shorthairs will always have gold eyes, as will the blue cats. On the other hand, white cats will always have blue or green eyes. It all depends on the specific genetics of each of these gorgeous creatures.
Manx cats are one of the oldest breeds around today, and there are still many questions as to where this breed originated from. However, the most notable feature of these cats is that they completely lack a tail, which is thought to be genetically linked with the corkscrew-tailed cats found in Japan. Therefore, it’s likely the first cats of this breed were brought over from Japan on trading ships.
Thanks to extensive cross-breeding, Manx cats are an extremely diverse breed. They come in a huge variety of coat colors and patterns, including tabby, tortoiseshell, calico, and solid colors. Originally all short-haired cats, the long-haired Manx also exists, known to some cat registries as the Cymric. Regardless of their hair length, their coats are always thick and double-layered.
Just as their coats are hugely diverse, as are their eyes. Most Manx cats will have yellow eyes, varying from golden to orange hues, but ones with blue, green, and hazel peepers are also seen. These eyes are large, rounded, and prominent, sitting slightly upturned on their expressive faces. For show purposes, the eye and coat color combinations follow the same guidelines as non-Manx shorthairs.
4. British Shorthair
Blue British Shorthairs are the epitome of the British Shorthair breed, known and loved for their large yellow eyes. They tend to be much darker in color, verging on copper, amber, and orange tones. Against their solid blue-grey coat, their eyes really pop! In fact, this contrasting color combination is one of the most beautiful features of this breed and is a requirement for the cat to be a show animal.
The majority of other colored British Shorthairs also have copper eyes, including black, red, cream, chocolate, and lilac variants. However, green eyes are also accepted in black silver tabbies, whereas blue or mismatched eyes are only accepted eye color for white show cats.
The eyes of British Shorthairs are also large and round, much like the rest of their features. They have big rounded faces, stocky solid bodies, and rounded tips of their small ears. Their tails and paws are also rounded, so their big yellow eyes pair perfectly. Combined, they make this pedigree favorite like a real-life teddy bear.
The personality of a British Shorthair is just as teddy-like as their appearance, fitting their stereotype perfectly. They are gentle, calm, and extremely loving towards their owners. They aren’t overly needy, but best suit a calm home environment with an owner that can provide lots of cuddles and attention.
5. La Perm
As part of the Rex family, the La Perm is most well-known for being a cat with curly hair. Different from the other Rex cat breeds, their coats are super soft to touch but with a springy and textured feel. Their unique coat can be either short or long-haired and ranging from subtle waves to luxe curly ringlets. For show animals, long-haired curly coats are preferable.
These stunning coats come in a huge plethora of colors and patterns. Similarly, their eyes can be any color, including yellow or gold. Unlike other breeds, there is no relation at all between coat and eye color, meaning there are near-infinite possible combinations. Their eyes are also almond-shaped, large, and expressive, and one of these feline’s best features.
If you own a La Perm cat, you’ll have a never-ending source of entertainment. Known for being particularly clownish, this breed is inquisitive and playful, always seeming to get themselves into some kind of mischief! However, they’re also loving and gentle without being overly needy. This positive and playful persona makes them a great option when living with kids or dogs.
They’re also one of the more intelligent breeds, able to learn tricks such as playing fetch. To keep the boredom at bay, ensure you have plenty of time to spend playing together and forming that tight-knit bond. They are also known for their love of heights, so a tall cat tree with plenty of climbing possibilities is another must.
Resembling the Indian black leopard, the Bombay is an elegant and compact breed. Their black coats are short and glossy, just like that of a Panther. Pay attention to how they move and you’ll see further similarities to these large wild cats – their body distinctively sways as they walk just like the movement of the black leopard.
Like the wild panther, this breed also has bright and alert eyes. However, the color varies depending on which type of Bombay you’re referring to – the American or British variety. Whereas American Bombays always have golden yellow or orange eyes, British Bombay’s eyes can also be green.
Aside from their eyes, both types of Bombay are extremely similar-looking despite having been created taking different approaches. American Bombays were made by crossing Burmese with a black American Shorthair, whereas British Bombays were created by pairing the Burmese with black domestic cats. The result of both crosses looks nearly identical, with the main distinction being their eye color.
Interestingly, their vivid eyes are the only part of their entire body that isn’t black. Alongside their obvious dramatic black coats, Bombay cats also have black paw pads and a black nose. In most other cat breeds this isn’t the case, making Bombays stand out from the other black cats available.
The Sphynx instantly grabbed people’s attention when it immerged in Canada in the 1970s. Its hairless body makes it extremely unique and recognizable worldwide. They may not be as fluffy and cuddly as other cats, but the thin layer of down that covers their bodies makes them very soft to the touch, resembling chamois leather.
Their hairless wrinkled skin isn’t the only stand-out feature of the Sphynx either. These regal-looking creatures are known as being cats with big eyes, accentuated further by their alien-like angular head shape and wide-set positioning. Their hairlessness also makes their eyes more prominent and defined, captivating anyone that looks at them.
Their stunning eyes come in a range of colors, including bright yellow and gold. However, they can be blue, green, or copper-colored too. Sphynx cats are also one of the only breeds to exhibit a rare trait known as heterochromia, which translates from Greek to “different” (hetero) “color” (chromia). This is where each of their eyes are different colors. Usually, a Sphynx with heterochromia will have one blue eye and one that is either yellow or green.
Combined, these features give Sphynx cats an extremely regal appearance. However, this couldn’t be further from their personalities. They are extremely friendly and confident cats that love to be around people and crave human attention, be that playing with their favorite toys or having a cuddle on your lap. They’re also highly vocal and will chat along with you all day.
8. Norwegian Forest Cat
Norwegian Forest Cats are gentle giants. They are one of the largest domesticated cats, with males weighing up to 22lbs and measuring up to 18 inches in length. Their thick, long, beautiful coats further give the illusion of size. However, they are one of the most loving breeds around with friendly and easy-going personalities that work great in family homes.
This combination of a long fluffy coat, large physique, and friendly personality makes them extremely similar to the Maine Coon. However, there are subtle differences. Norwegian Forest Cats have longer sweeping tails and a triangle-shaped head. Their eyes are another obvious sign, being almond-shaped rather than round.
Like many other breeds, the almond-shaped eyes of Norweigan Forest Cats can be golden yellow. Other iris colors include green or copper, while those with white coats may have blue eyes. Although rare, the white version of this breed can also exhibit heterochromia just like the Sphynx, with two eyes of different colors! One will always be blue with the other can be yellow, green, or copper.
9. Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is another yellow-eyed cat breed. These stunning peepers are large, round, and wideset, and are still a stand-out feature despite their long fur coats. Cat registries also accept green eyes, whereas those with white coats can also have either blue or odd-colored eyes, just as the Norwegian Forest Cat.
Although its eyes are beautiful, the Maine Coon is best known for being the largest of all domestic cat breeds. Weighing up to 24lbs and growing over 3.2 feet in length, these humble giants narrowly take the crown from their Norweigan Forest Cat relative. Everything about these cats is large, with long tails and limbs, big eyes, and extra-long whiskers.
However, don’t let their large size fool you. Maine Coons are terribly sweet-natured and loving felines, making incredible family pets. One look into their yellow eyes and you’ll see they have the kindest hearts! Expressive and affectionate, the Maine Coon is one of the top domestic breeds for a reason.
They are very playful though and are highly suited to outdoor life where they can explore until their heart’s content. If an indoor cat, you will need to provide plenty of toys for the enrichment and set time aside to play together each day. You’ll also need to have time available to groom this breed as their lush fur coats can easily get matted without a little help from you.
9. Cornish Rex
As the name suggests, the Cornish Rex originated from Cornwall, UK. They are best known for their distinctive short-haired wavy coats and curly eyebrows and whiskers. Their coats feel velvet soft to touch and come in many different color and patterns combinations, including white, lilac, orange, brown, or cream. Solid, tortoiseshell, tabby, smoke, and pointed coats are all accepted.
These stand-out curly coats may be this breed’s defining feature, but their eyes are also beautiful and prominent. One of the possible eye colors for the Cornish Rex is golden yellow. All cats with solid coats have gold eyes, as do all smoke and tabby varieties. However, blue, hazel, or green eyes are also seen in white or silver Cornish Rex cats.
No matter which color eyes they have, the color should always be “clear, intense, and appropriate to coat color”, according to the Cat Fanciers Association. They are also large in size and slant gently upwards. Thanks to their short coats and triangle-shaped head, their bright eyes are further enhanced and are one of this breed’s best features.
Personality-wise, the Cornish Rex is a bundle of fun. They are energetic and playful, with their powerful and muscular legs allowing them to run fast and jump extremely high. They are also loving and affectionate, a great choice for families and people with pets.
Singapura cats are a breed whose origins lie in Singapore. They were first seen here around 300 years ago and lived in the city in drains. As such, they were seen as vermin and culled by authorities. Only three cats survived and were transported to the US where breeding commenced. Today, the breed is still relatively rare but gaining popularity.
The eyes of the Singapura cat are one of its prominent and defining features. They have large saucer-like eyes that are outlined in black and are extremely expressive. Thanks to their wide-set positioning, they also have a distinctive “bug-eyed” appearance. Many Singapura cats have yellow eyes, but they are also seen with hazel and green eyes. However, their eyes will never be blue.
Their eyes aren’t the only oversized feature of this breed – the Singapura cats also have notably large ears. However, the overall size of this breed is tiny. They are one of the smallest domestic cat breeds, with females weighing as little as 4lbs and males up to 8lbs. They have a beautiful ticked tabby short-hair coat, and each strand of hair has bands of black, brown, and white.
Despite their small size, their personality packs a punch. They are powerful and assertive cats that know what they want and thrive on attention. They’re also extremely energetic with lots of energy to use climbing and exploring. Expect them to want constant love and attention! With that being said, they can get spooked easily so aren’t the best choice for noisy households with screaming children!
Chartreux cats look a lot like the Blue British Shorthair and are often mistaken for this more well-known breed. Both have stunning solid grey coats, stocky builds, and the same large yellow eyes. These eyes range from a light golden yellow to deep copper-colored orange and offset their coats beautifully, making for a stunning combination.
Despite their similarities, Chartreux cats are distinctive from the British Blue. The Chartreux has a narrow muzzle and less rounded features. The structure of their face also looks as if they are smiley permanently. This matches their happy and easy-going personalities – they’re affectionate and loving to humans and other animals alike.
The Chartreux cat is also known for its sublime hunting skills. They are intelligent and love to play, surprising people with their high agility despite their stocky stature. They’re also great at solving problems, able to find their way out of any room. To keep them entertained, try getting some problem-solving games for mental enrichment.
13. Japanese Bobtail
Originating in Asia over 1,000 years ago, the Japanese Bobtail is best known for its short clipped tail. Unlike the Marx breed which lacks a tail entirely, Japanese Bobtails do still have a tail. However, their tailpiece is short, fluffy, and rabbit-like instead of the usual long and slender feline tail. This distinctive feature makes this breed highly recognizable, but they are still rare in the US.
This breed is another that cat with yellow eyes that are large, round, and stand-out. The tones of yellow range from golden to more amber and orange variations. It is also common for some Japanese Bobtails to have blue eyes. They are oval in shape rather than rounded and slant slightly when viewed in profile, but are never bulging.
Japanese Bobtails can also have odd-eyes if they carry the genes for heterochromia. In these cases, one eye will be blue and the other yellow. This trait is more common in this breed than any others, with the exception of the Turkish Van.
In terms of personality, the Japanese Bobtail scores well in all areas. They are highly affectionate, friendly, and are great with kids and other pets. They also have high playfulness, energy levels, and intelligence so can be a lot of fun to be around. Thanks to their strong human-orientated nature, they are also very talkative and will usually vocally interact with their owners in a singing-like way.
14. Turkish Van
The Turkish Van (pronounced Turkish Von) can only have two eye colors – either yellow or blue. If yellow, their eyes are deep golden amber color. These cats are also the most likely breed to exhibit heterochromia, and these cats have one eye of each color. Each eye is ovular in shape similar to the stone of a peach.
Predominantly, their lush fur coats are chalk-white which means their bright and alert eyes hugely stand out. However, these are distinct multi-colored markings on the top of their head which is separated by a white stripe, known as the “van pattern”. Using these markings can be one of the easiest ways to recognize the breed as it is unique for Van cats.
These beauties are also well-suited to almost any home, making them a great choice of pet. They are lively and energetic, love attention from humans, and are affectionate. However, they are also more independent than other domestic cats so great for busier owners too. While they love being stroked, they aren’t as fond of being picked up and handled.
The Burmese is an elegant breed that is easily recognized for its stunning golden yellow eyes. And this beauty should be expected – after all, it’s name translates from Thai to “beautiful, fortunate, and of splendid appearance.” Their eyes are round and alert and nicely stand out from their silky soft short-haired coats which come in a variety of colors.
However, yellow isn’t the exclusive eye color for Burmese cats. The breed was first developed in America by breeding a brown cat brought back from Burma with a Siamese. All of the Burmese cats today can be traced back to this initial pairing. And, with Siamese ancestors, the gene for blue eyes can also present from time to time.
A Burmese would make a great pet if you have a lot of time to spend with your feline. They crave human attention and would happily sit on your lap and receive cuddles for hours. They are also playful and love playing games with their owners, becoming bored quickly if they aren’t given enough enrichment. However, if you have the time to spend with a Burmese, they may just become the most loyal cat you’ve ever had!
How Do Cats Get Their Eye Color?
In terms of eye color, there are only four different options for cats – all felines will have either yellow, blue, green, or hazel eyes. This all depends on the amount of a pigment called melanin that is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes found in the iris. The precise shade and intensity are determined by the number and activity of the melanocytes, which in turn all boils down to genetics.
When there are no or few melanocytes present, no pigment is produced and the iris of the eyes are blue. This explains why all kittens are born with blue eyes. At this point in their life, the melanocytes have not started producing any pigment yet. Instead, the blue color is a result of light refracting when it hits the iris.
However, as our felines age, these pigment-producing cells get to work making melanin and their eye colors change. If there are only a few melanocytes, little to no melanin will be produced and cats will maintain their blue eyes throughout adulthood. On the other hand, for those that produce huge amounts of the pigment melanin, their eyes will be orange.
All other eye colors lie somewhere on the continuum between the two. For example, a medium number of melanocytes are responsible for yellow eyes, whereas a little fewer cells and the eyes will start to turn hazel. Those with even fewer with have green eyes.
The intensity of the color then depends on the activity of the melanocytes – the more active the cells, the more intense the color. For example, if a cat has bright and intense golden yellow eyes, they have a relatively high number of pigment-producing cells present and each of these will be highly active.
Is Eye Color and Coat Color Genetically Linked?
Many owners wonder if their cat’s eye color is related to the color of their coat. This is an intelligent question, as a cat’s coat color is also determined by the amount of melanin produced. However, this time it is determined by the number and activity of melanocytes in the fur rather than in the iris.
The genes that determine the number and activity of melanocytes in the eyes and the coat are exclusive from one another. Therefore, you may have a cat that has highly active and abundant fur melanocytes, but whose eye melanocytes have low activity. As such, there is little correlation between eye color and fur color.
This explains why so many different colored cats can have yellow eyes. The genes for these beautiful golden peepers are largely independent of their coat color. So, whether you want a black cat or an orange cat with yellow eyes, you’re bound to find one!
The one exception is with white cats. Cats are usually white when they have an epistatic dominant white gene that masks other colors. If this is present, it will affect their coat and their eyes, explaining why white cats with blue eyes are often seen. However, you can still get white cats with yellow eyes, this combination is just more of a rarity.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
As you can see, there are loads of different cat breeds that can have yellow eyes. These come in multiple shades, ranging from a light lemon yellow to a deeper amber and copper color. This all depends on the number and activity of melanocytes found in the iris and is completely independent of the color of their fur.
Hopefully, this list has helped to point you in the right direction in finding a perfect yellow-eyed cat to be your next pet. Whether you choose an exotic Bengal or a ginormous Maine Coon, these yellow-eyes beauties will soon become your best friend!