Ojos Azules Cat

Ojos Azules Cat

Ojos Azules Cat? No I don’t think so because this is a kitten

This is a controversial breed and a tricky breed to discuss, in my opinion. You’ll understand why when you read the following. There may be doubts whether this breed actually exists.

This cat breed has dark blue eyes that are not linked to coat colour or pattern so the coat need not be pointed (e.g. Siamese) or bicolor (one eye can be blue) but solid and dark and the cat will still have dark blue eyes. People ask about their cats and frankly I can’t give an answer because this breed is unclear to me.

A note about the above photograph. When first building this page, I originally said that “there is only one (yes one) definite photograph (other than the one above and below, but read below) of the Ojos Azules Cat and that is by Channan Photography (Richard Katris). I have emailed him twice without response so can’t use the photograph despite it being used on other websites without a credit. Anyway the photograph featured above is from Webshots (the photo is on their server and downloaded when this page is loaded so it may load a little slowly). This kitten is claimed to be a Ojos Azules Cat. I can’t vouch for it but she looks like a younger version of the cat photographed by Mr Katris. If any visitor to this website has a photo of a cat of this breed please post it on the forum – thanks…. Update: I am still searching (1-9-08)….”

It is now Feb 2011 and there are no pictures but I think I have one coming. Please be patient. Note: in the age of easy image manipulation is it possible to confirm for sure that a cat is of this breed? The breed looks like a moggie i.e. it is normal in appearance except for the eyes so there is no other distinguishing feature. And eyes are easy to photoshop!

Update Feb 2011 – important – I have doubts about this photo for two reasons. First kittens have blue eyes that change colour when adult. That does not mean that this cat is not an Ojos Azules just that I have severe doubts. Secondly this cat seems to be a bicolor. Bicolors carry the piebald or white spotting gene and this gene turns eyes blue – often one. It removes pigment from fur and eye. The Ojos Azules should have deep blue eyes, it is said. This cat has pale blue. But in fact we are not sure that this breed should have deep blue eyes – you can see how tricky this subject is.

People have copied the above photo, wrongly I hasten to add. I think they are doing a disservice because this cat may well not be of this cat breed.

February 18th 2011, another update. Below is a photograph by a Flickr photographer of his black cat. On the basis that this is an entirely genuine photograph and I have no reason to think otherwise, this should be a Ojos Azules cat. But I am reluctant to say that it is.

Ojos Azules Cat
This photo is protected by copyright. If you want to use it you will have to ask the photographer first.

The Cat – origin – genes – comment – registration

The Ojos Azules (meaning blue eyes in Spanish) is one of those discovered cat breeds. Apparently being first noticed amongst feral cat colonies in Mexico in 1984 (see update below). This is a medium sized cat and extremely rare still; by reckoning one of the rarest cat breeds. To be frank about it this is clearly because cat breeders have decided that it is not a good idea to get involved in breeding this cat.

I am a little surprised that this cat, once a mixed breed domestic cat of no particular interest has been accepted as a purebred cat by TICA in 1991. Update February 2011: Breeding been suspended apparently because of cranial defects being associated with the gene that produces blue eyes on solid colour cats. Please read on…

This is a cat breed born out of a genetic mutation. It has been said that the gene is dominant but a different source says polygenes1 are or might be at work. The mutated gene produces a deep blue eye color that is unassociated with coat color (e.g. blue eyed white cats or colorpoint cats). Genes come in pairs. When both copies of this mutated gene (homozygous state) are present in the cat she dies in the womb due to cranial deformities which are associated with this gene. The same sort of problems occur in the breeding of dwarf cats. In dwarf cats the defects associated with the dwarf gene are tight chest and spinal deformities (Pectus Excavatum and Lordosis). Read about the dwarf gene by clicking on this link.


Thought: The genes producing this cat breed are not known, it seems to me. Accordingly, if the gene is in fact the well known piebald gene working in a different way it could be argued that this breed does not exist. All we have is a bicolor random bred cat. There are millions of these moggies.

Below is a calico cat – tortoiseshell and white – that has deep blue eyes.

ojos azules cat
Photo of “Mo” copyright Peachy Bretaña. This photo is protected by copyright. Ask the photographer for a license to use it – don’t abuse it!

Mo is a year and 4 months old. Is Mo an Ojos Azules cat? Mo is not a colourpoint cat nor is Mo a white cat. Mo is part white and part coloured with no pointing. The genes that produces a calico cat are stated on this page. Mo also has some Van pattern markings. This is common in Mediterranean cats and cats in hot climates. Mo was adopted from CARA Welfare Philippines. I presume Mo lives in the Philippines.

Note: Mo is not registered with a cat association as far as I am aware and so cannot be part of a cat breed even if he is a de facto Ojos Azules.


However, there is no associated squinting, deafness or cross-eye with this mutated gene. To me, though, the way this gene works (i.e. potentially detrimentally) really must preclude this breed from progressing. Yes, deep blue eyes are lovely but the primary concern is obviously health and I don’t see how the breed can be justified as the benefit (blue eyes) is outweighed by the detriments (potentially fatal defects).

Breeders will avoid the fatal defects by breeding the Ojos Azules Cat with cats of another breed for example a non-pedigree Domestic Shorthair (DSH). But the resultant litter will be 50% blue eyed cats and 50% not blue eyed. In a strictly commercial sense this is not satisfactory for the breeder and would encourage unscrupulous breeders to breed blue eyed to blue eyed (some dwarf cat breeders, I believe, do this) leading to the problems described.

As the defective kittens die in the womb there is no commercial problem as to how to deal with kittens with cranial deformities but this is clearly morally unacceptable. Perhaps I shouldn’t state my opinion on this cat but this breed is a breed “too far”. Going back to the 19th century people didn’t think much about cat breeds and showing cats. The idea of showing cats and breeding them began in the late 1800s. As in all things human, things have to go too far, it seems, before it is known where the limit is.

In the area of development of breeds the CFA is more conservative and I am gradually beginning to see the wisdom of that. They register 41 breeds. However, I disagree with their management of the breed standard for the Ultra Persian (a development “too far”). TICA is it seems more adventurous in having 64 (including longhaired and shorthaired of same breed) different breeds registered with the association.

The Wikipedia author says that this breed is unregistered (I have corrected this as at 24-10-07). TICA have registered the breed in both long and short hair types in 1991. TICA breed standard (latest date is 5-1-04) states that out crossing should be with DSH or DLH (i.e. to a cat not of a recognized breed – this must be for health reasons). As a consequence all patterns and coat colors are acceptable.

The mutated gene causing the blue eyes also tends to result in the coat having white patches on the peripheral parts of the body. When the Ojos Azules is a colorpoint these white patches will distinguish the cat from a non Ojos Azules Cat as colorpoints will have blue eyes (but I presume less deep in color).

A person in Australia claims to have found an Ojos Azules in the middle of the road about one year ago; a recent example of how this mutation takes place randomly amongst stray cats. Click on the link to see the article he submitted through the forum on this site. Once again I cannot confirm that this is definitely a cat of this breed.

NOTE: The author of the Messybeast website (Sarah Hartwell – thanks Sarah) says that there may well be a lot more blue eyed cats independent of coat color than has been thought. This may mean that the mutated gene that gives us the Ojos Azules cat is more widespread than thought or, in other cases, a different gene is in action.

Update:

Erika Lugo Segovia from Mexico has sent me some photographs of what might be an Ojos Azules cat – Orion. Just to recap, as I understand it a cat that is not a kitten and which has fully developed eye color and the eye color is blue and the cat does not carry the Siamese gene or the piebald gene or any other gene that causes a lack of pigmentation should be an Ojos Azules cat – right?

Well this cat living in Mexico, the area where the breed was originally “discovered” is 5 months old so not yet quite out of kittenhood but the eye color has remained stable and so it is probably settled. All the boxes seem to have been ticked that I refer to above and accordingly he would seem to be and Ojos Azules cat, but is he?:

Ojos Azules cat
Ojos Azules Cat? Orion – Photo by Erika Lugo Segovia

Erika says this:

He has light blue eyes with little green/gold color in the center. He is 5 months old and I’ve seen little to no change in his eyes.

From Ojos Azules cat to Home page

Breed Standard

It had been said that, “The TICA Ojos Azules Breed Group Standard is dated 5 January 2004..”1 but as at February 2011, there is no breed standard on the TICA website, neither is there this cat breed!

Sources:

  • Breedlist
  • 1. Wikipedia
  • Webshots
  • Messybeast


Comments

Ojos Azules Cat — 45 Comments

    • hello, i would love to get in contact with a person or breeder of this wonderful rare catbreed. i am a hobby breeder of selkirk rex cats, specialized in odd/blue/cracked eyed. but i am looking for this breed for about 2 years now, and would love to be seriously working on building this breed in a proper, healty way. could anyone PLEASE let me know if they know a blue eyed (non pointed, or other breed odd/blue eyed) cat, ojos azules?

      THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!

      kind regards, Peggy from Holland (The Netherlands)

      http://corderosgatos.webs.com

  1. Hi,
    This is 2013, I don’t know if you’re still interested…
    I recently rescued a cat, a gorgeous black cat with blue eyes.
    He is 2 years old, and was born in Athens, Greece.
    As I was looking on the Internet for info on black cats with blue eyes, I found a french site which gave a precise list of characteristics for the Ojos Azules cat, and my beauty matches all of them.
    Frankly, I don’t really care if he is of this breed or not… He has the most wonderful character, is healthy, and I’m crazy about him!
    If you’re interested, I can send you beautiful pics of him.

    Frédérique

    PS His sister (black with blue eyes too) is still waiting to be adopted…

  2. Hi Michael, I think you have a wonderful website! I see that you’ve done a lot of research into photos of Ojos Azules and whether or not they are genuine. I believe I may have adopted a kitten with the Ojos Azules mutation, but I’ll wait and see if he continues to keep his blue eyes and then I’ll send you a photo. What age would be best to take a photo and confirm his blue eyes? He looks remarkably like Wombat found in WINDELLAMA N.S.W. He is a blue , with white tips and a triangular looking head. My kitten is from Gunnedah N.S.W and it will be interesting to see if he keeps his blue eyes! Thanks Milly

  3. Hi Michael, thanks for the reply, I’ll wait until he is about 3 months old then and I will let you know if he kept the blue eyes (I hope he does as they really suit him!) He may be just retaining his blue eyes longer then his brother due to the difference in coat colour (his brothers a ginger with white tips I think, whose eye colour has already changed to greenish/blue).

  4. I second that Michael! I think (based on what I’ve read on the web and what you’ve said) that an Ojos Azules cat is really just an unknown genetic mutation that could turn up anywhere around the world. But it seems, according to the breeders, that a cat is only considered an Ojos Azules if they are specifically descended from Cornflower (Mexico, 1984). A bit silly if you ask me as I think an Ojos Azules isn’t really a breed but a genetic mutation (a sketchy and unknown one at that), making even Wombat a ‘purebred’ as they call them. I think the TICA mentions wombat on their website actually. Anyway, blue eyed cats are so stunning so I can see why everyone wants to breed them !! I’ve seen a few other people on this website keen to breed them.

    • I agree Millie. The OJos Azules shows us how almost desperate breeders are to create a new breed in a saturated market. It is not a breed. It is a random bred cat shoehorned into being a breed. It is nonsense to me.

      • Desperate to create a new breed is very apt. I hope she doesn’t mind my revealing this, but the photo example of a long haired Ojos Azules on TICA’s web site, is of Apollo, a beautiful moggie owned by Sarah Hartwell. They did seek her permission to use him as a stand-in until they real thing comes along :)

        He was certainly a stunning looking cat, but I doubt we’ll see many more like him. Certainly not enough to create a healthy sized breeding pool.

        • Interesting Michele re: Sarah Hartwell. I have never really fathomed out the Ojos Azules. I think it is a mistake but that is just me. If I had my way I’d reduce the number of breeds, certainly those of TICA.

          • I don’t think anyone knows very much yet about the Ojos Azules. Nor do we know if that particular genetic mutation is responsible for blue eyes in all of these solid colour cats. Perhaps there are other, as of yet unknown genetic mutations at work?

            Michael: I wholeheartedly agree with you about TICA. For me they have too many “novelty” breeds, where the definining traits are not necessarily beneficial to the cats themselves. They seem to have an anything goes policy, regardless of the welfare impact.

  5. My kitten Moet, the one I mentioned earlier, is now seven weeks and I believe his eye colour is changing to green. I was so excited to have a blue eyed cat! Oh well. I’ve uploaded a photo for you anyway of his blue/green eyes.

  6. i have a 3-year old cat which i think is an ojos azules. she has the most vivid sapphire blue eyes and her coat is not colorpoint.

    • Thanks for sharing Nico. Your cat is a calico cat (just!). To be honest I don’t know whether she is a Ojos Azules because I don’t understand this breed! That sounds crazy but the more I read about the more I don’t see it as a breed at all.

      Your cat is stunning. Her eyes are amazing.

      • Wow, those are stunning eyes. A very rich, beautiful shade of blue.

        Michael: Do you know if there’s any kind of test available to determine the genetic type of blue eyes a cat has?

        Or is it always assumed that blue eyes in pointed cats is due to “Siamese” genes, whilst the dominant white and spotting white genes are responsible for blue eyed cats with some or all white fur?

        • Nice question. Not sure I can provide a good answer. Blue eyes are due to a lack of pigment just like white fur. So for white, blue eyed cats the same genes works on two perhaps three aspects of the cat’s anatomy (if you include deafness too). The reason why kitten’s eyes are blue is the same reason why an adult cat’s eyes are blue.

          http://pictures-of-cats.org/Why-are-kittens-eyes-blue.html

          However, what I have just said does not seem to explain the deep blue eyes of, for example, the cat in the picture. Either some photos are edited (it is easy to make eyes bluer) or the pigmentation in the eye is such that it assists more effectively in the absorption of the colours other than blue.

          It is about physics not blue pigmentation as I understand it but would be happy to be corrected.

          • It is odd that no information seems to be available from the people who attempted to develop the Ojos Auzules mutation as a breed.

            I know it’s considered a lethal gene if a kitten inherits two copies. Perhaps that meant there simply weren’t enough suitable cats available to create a healthy breeding pool and the idea was abandoned before it ever really got off the ground?

  7. What about her? The attached photo does a poor job of showing off her dark, blue eyes. She was adopted and known to have been a stray. She is 8 years old.

  8. Hello, here is a photo of Chimu, she has about four or five months now. Her blue eyes caught our attention and after some research on the Internet, we wrote TICA to try to confirm if it was an Ojos Azules, but have received no answer. She fits the anatomical description.

    • Hi Pavel. Your cat does fit the description and therefore you’d have to say she is an Ojos Azules. However, my opinion is that TICA has botched this breed. I don’t believe it can be a cat breed. No doubt someone will say I am wrong. The point is that Chimu carries the piebald gene or white spotting gene. This gene can cause eyes to be blue because it removes eye color in the same way it removed coat colour. Blue eyes are not blue because of blue pigment but because of light refraction in the iris of the eye. Thanks for commenting.

      • Michael, I agree with your comment about the white spotting gene as possibly being responsible for Chimu’s blue eyes.

        In theory, cats are only considered to carry the Ojos Azules gene if they have no white in their coat and have blue eyes. Their gene for blue eyes is meant to be independent of coat colour, which rules out cats non-solid coloured cats.

        As yet, there is no established Ojos Azules breed. TICA’s anatomical standard for the breed is based on the few randombred O.A. cats they’ve come across. I don’t think it will develop beyond an experimental breed, because there simply aren’t enough foundation cats. Another problem is that the O.A. gene is said to be lethal. They would need to be bred with blue eyed cats carrying either Siamese or white spotting genes, and hope that some of the kittens have solid coloured fur.

  9. Mr. Broad, thank you for taking the time to respond, let me add that we were found Chimu when she was probably about a month old in a Mall and this happened in the Dominican Republic, where we currently live.

    • It is nice to hear from the Dominican Republic. That is a first for PoC 😉 . It does not change things that she was found as a moggie because a lot of purebred cats were once moggies.

  10. Pavel, Chimu may not be an Ojos Azules, but that doesn’t make her any less special. She’s a stunning looking girl.

    Blue-eyed moggies are not that common, although in some areas around the world litters of them spontaneously appear from time to time. Please let us know if you see any others in the neighourbood.

  11. Thank you Michele, no, it does not matter to us if she is or isn’t a Ojos Azules, it has been more out of curiosity that we asked TICA months ago and last night my wife just saw Chimu and did a search again and found this page.

    You are right, she is very special, even our other cats emphasize with her from the beginning.

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