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13 Amazing White Cat Facts: Vet-Reviewed Insights


Jun 13, 2023
white cat near food bowl

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats are the second most loved pets in the US after dogs.1 They come in different colors, but white is the most striking. A white cat will undoubtedly capture your attention from a distance and being that they are the rarest type of their general population, it is only understandable that they will stir excitement among onlookers.

Like every pet has its own history, features, and facts, white cats also have many impressive features. Below are fascinating facts about them that you probably didn’t know. Keep reading for deeper insight.


The 13 White Cat Facts That You Should Know About

1. Most Blue-Eyed White Cats Are Deaf

According to research done by Cornell University,2 65% to 85% of white cats with both eyes blue are deaf. At the same time, 17 to 22% of white cats with only one blue eye are entirely or partially deaf.

White cats have a “W gene” that causes a chemical imbalance that reduces the production of melanin, resulting in the white fur color and blue eyes. The same gene is also strongly correlated with deafness. Cats with the W gene will always have white fur but will only sometimes have blue eyes. Cats with white fur and blue eyes are also more likely to be deaf.

The most interesting part is that a white cat with a blue left eye will probably have a deaf left ear. There is always a way in which the white cat’s blue eyes are associated with their hearing ability. When both eyes are blue, the cat will probably be completely deaf.

A white coated cat lying on an hp laptop
Image Credit: Tra My, Unsplash

2. Not All White Cats Are Albinos

It is easy to assume that a white cat is an albino, especially since all albino cats are white. However, there is a difference in the quantity of melanin produced in the cats. An albino cat has no melanin, hence the lack of color in their skin, eyes, and fur. This is not the case with a white cat, which may have some color visible on its paws and nose.

The other main difference between a white cat and an albino cat lies in the TYR, OCA2, or the W gene. As mentioned already, a white cat has a “W gene” that affects its melanoblast cells to stop the production of color in their skin. As for the albino cats, there must have been a mutation of TYR or OCA2 genes that caused them to be born albino.3

3. White Cats Can Suffer Severe Sunburns

White cats are at the highest risk of sunburn if left under the sun for too long. This is because they lack melanin. Melanin is responsible for defining the cat’s original color and ensuring the cat has been protected from the harsh UV rays from the sun. The cat may develop skin cancer if they get continuous sunburns.

Not many people know that a cat may suffer sunburn, and therefore do not mind how long their cats stay under the sun.

Suppose your cat enjoys spending time under the sun, do not restrict it, but rather try to limit the duration. For instance, allow the cat to go outside during morning hours before it is too hot. You can also let it out during the evening when the sun is about to set.

4. Some White Cats Are Born With a Skullcap

A skullcap is a splash of colors usually visible at the top of the kitten’s head when born. These are usually the colors your cat would have had if only the “W gene” had not affected the cat’s melanocytes.

As the cat grows and sheds off its baby coat, the skullcap also sheds off and never grows back. Therefore, take advantage of the time the kitten is born with a skullcap and take as many pictures as possible since you will never get a chance to see it again.

white kitten with swimmer syndrom_JumpStory
Image Credit: JumpStory


5. White Cats Are Believed to Bring Good Luck

Several cultures around the globe believe that a white cat brings good luck. You wouldn’t believe how some people would celebrate just at the sight of a white cat crossing their path. For instance, the Russians believe that when you own a white cat in your home, you welcome riches and wealth. In colonial America, it is believed to be good luck to dream about a white cat.

However, not all cultures believe white cats are sacred or bring good luck. In other cultures, it is the opposite. For instance, white cats are considered evil and likely to cause bad luck in some parts of Europe.

6. White Cats May Come From Any Breed of Cats

White cats are not just from a single cat breed. Any breed can produce white cats. As already mentioned, what causes the cat to have their white color is the dominant “W gene” passed down from the cat’s mother to the kitten. The gene hides all color, replacing it with snowy white fur.

7. White Cats Do Not Really Have a Color

It is agreeable that white cats do not really have a color, especially since they lack melanin. Melanin gives the cat a color, and since the cat possesses the dominant” W gene,” which scrapes off the original color of the cat, it remains without color.

Even the cat’s blue eyes are not actually blue; it is only because they lack their original color, which was disrupted from forming due to the existence of the “W gene”.

stressed white cat on the floor
Image Credit: Hunt Han, Unsplash

8. Deaf White Cats Helped in the Manufacturing of the Cochlear Implants for the Deaf

A cochlear implant is a device manufactured to aid in the hearing of deaf human beings.4 You will be surprised at how deaf white cats contributed a great deal towards the success of this device.5 The cats were used as test subjects while studying how hearing loss affects humans.

The cochlear implant has been of great help to millions of people with hearing impairment, thanks to the white deaf cats that made great test subjects for the manufacturers.

9. Pure White Cats Are the Rarest

Out of the general population of cats, white cats constitute only 5%. Suppose you own a pure white cat; you are among the lucky few people with such a pet. Pure white cats are rare and the least common pets, unlike other types of cats of many kinds of colors like tortoiseshell, tabby, and calico.

10. White Persian Cats Are the Most Popular White Cats

All white cats are a sight to behold; they are adorable and gorgeous. However, have you come across white Persian cats? They are also known as the Persian Longhair. The cat has long hair, a round face, and a short muzzle. For those who wish to own a white Persian cat, ensure regular grooming is part of your schedule, or else you may end up with a tangled and dingy cat instead of an elegant-looking cat.

Persian different colored eyes
Image Credit: dianewphoto, Shutterstock

11. White Cats Will Have Unique-Looking Eyes

The white cat’s eyes are linked to the quantity of melanin their bodies produce. As observed earlier, white cats lack melanin and will have light-colored eyes. The eyes may be of different colors like amber, blue, yellow, and green. At times they may even have a combination of colored eyes.

12. White Cats Are Wrongly Perceived as Timid and Calm

Those who own white cats can confirm that these little loving pets are calm. They are also shy and quiet. They may appear to be in their own world and not too friendly. However, as we already know, most of them could probably be deaf. You may always be required to make the first move to alert them when it’s time for cuddles.

13. White Cats Feature in Movies More Often

Due to the beauty white cats possess, most have gained an opportunity to feature in several tv series and shows. Among the famous fiction stories where white cats have featured include “Sailor Moon”, “The Aristocats”, “The Mummy”, and James Bond movies.


Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning the above facts about white cats. There is no doubt white cats are amazing creatures, lovely, adorable, and with so many fascinating features. And today, you have made new discoveries about your white feline friend and a new understanding to appreciate and love them better.

Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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