Change of Eye Color in a Siamese Cat

Sapphire blue eyes of siamese catSiamese cats are meant to have blue eyes. The blue eye colour is linked to the coat, which is the Siamese pattern or colourpoint. The CFA Siamese breed standard refers to the shape of the eyes and the fact that they should not be crossed – a common “defect” in Siamese cats and that they should be vivid blue. A Siamese show cat will be disqualified if he does not have blue eyes. Disqualification also occurs if the cat has white toes and/or feet. White toes/feet would occur if the white spotting gene were present.

All kittens, of any cat breed or no breed at all, are born with blue eyes and this is because the pigmentation in the iris is not fully formed which leaves the colour in the eyes to be created by the physical nature of what is called the refraction of light as it impinges upon the eye. There is a page on that on this website which explains how that works.

The Siamese is typical in that the kitten is born devoid of pigment and begins to form pigment within a few days. Accordingly, the Siamese cat will start off with blue eyes but they will change in colour as the pigment develops under the direction of the relevant gene. Normally in the Siamese, the colour of the eyes will start forming to blue after about 6 weeks.

Siamese cat without blue eyes

Siamese cat without blue eyes? This is a genuine Siamese cat in Siam (Thailand).

It would seem to me that on some occasions, at this stage, a Siamese cat may develop odd-eyes (heterochromia iridum) or the wrong colour eyes per the breed standard. One eye may remain blue and the other may turn yellow. Normally, odd-eyes will be seen in a cat that carries the white spotting gene or the dominant white gene. However, the Siamese cat is a Siamese cat because it carries a specific gene and not as far as I’m aware the white spotting gene.

On that basis, when people talk about a change of eye colour in a Siamese cat, they may be referring to a Siamese cat which is not purebred. Sometimes you see Siamese-type cats with the odd fleck of white caused by the white spotting gene. These cats may have odd-eye color or the “wrong” eye color. I am happy be corrected or my post added to by anyone.




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Change of Eye Color in a Siamese Cat — 54 Comments

  1. Interesting.
    So, a purebred siamese will never have white feet or anything other than blue eyes. It bothers me that a purebred with crossed eyes is considered flawed. The cat is still siamese.
    I don’t like the word flawed. We don’t call a crossed eyed human flawed.

    • Agreed. The cat fancy removed the cross-eyed look and the kinked tail (both common in real Siamese). They also “refined” the cat by making it more slender (skinny actually). The Siamese cannot have any white blobs anywhere. The coat is purely pointed and the eyes blue.

      • Hello . I want to confirm whether my Siamese is a pure Siamese . I’m just worried because of their eyes , my Siamese has light blue/greyish eyes .

        • Your cat looks pure Siamese. The eyes are ideally sapphire but if they are not that does not mean your cat is not purebred. The best way to be sure a cat is purebred is to see a family tree which shows the parents and grandparents all of whom should be purebred. A breeder should have these documents.

          Sometimes they don’t. The concept of “purebred” is a tricky one. I’d say that Siamese street cats in Thailand are perhaps more pure Siamese than bred Siamese in the West. Your cat seems to be a blue point Siamese. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The specific coat and blue eyes of the Siamese are caused by one of the 5 forms of albinism not the W or S genes. The S gene is sometimes found in chocolate point Siamese and probably originated from Chines Whites which carry that gene. This may be the origin of occasional white markings in otherwise normal Siamese, but other out-crossing may also be responsible. A pure-bred Siamese should not carry the S gene. The Siamese blue eyes are not linked to deafness but to producing a squint.
    http://messybeast.com/whitecat.htm

    I am not sure what is meant by change of eye colour in a Siamese cat. The quote contained in the article ” cat eye colour” (above link “colour of the eyes) does not refer to Siamese cats. They are born blue and continue to be blue, albeit a different tone.

      • Hi Marci. I find that very interesting and unusual. I’ll look into that and if I find something on it I’ll make another comment. Thanks for sharing Marci.

      • Marci, the black part in the center of the eye is called the pupil and the colored part is called the iris. The pupil expands and contracts just like a camera lens to let in light. The light then hits the optic nerve in the back of the eyeball, and that’s how cats (and people too!) can see.

        Under bright light the iris contracts, sometime to only a pinpoint, and the eye looks all blue. But if there is less light the iris expands to let in more light to the pupil. Under very dark condition the iris is fully expanded and gives the impression of black or very dark eyes. Also, when a cat is excited, playing, hunting, fighting, or any other activities like those the pupil will enlarge and the eye will look black. It doesn’t mean that the iris (the colored part) turns black, it is just that you see more of the black pupil.

        You can do an experiment with your own eyes: Position a lamp in front of a mirror so that the light is reflected into your eyes. If you look closely the you’ll see the iris close and the pupil will be very small. Then turn off the bright light and you will see your pupil open and less of the blue or brown area (depending on your eye color)will be visible.

  3. I have a 5yr male Siamese (pedigree/very good lines) and his eyes have always been a vibrant blue. They have just started to go a dull blue with a hint of green in one. His behaviour is quite normal. Any suggestions why the colour might change?

    • I am not sure Fiona. My guess is that it is age related. What little pigmentation there is, may be altering with age. Note: Blue eyes are largely caused by the light entering the eye being refracted rather than looking blue because of blue pigment in the iris. There may be a hidden green eye gene which is becoming more noticeable as the cat becomes older (a wild guess!).

      They could possibly be a change in the eye which is causing the color change. I could not find any health issues associated with the Siamese which supports that idea.

      This page comprehensively lists Siamese cat health problems:

      http://pictures-of-cats.org/siamese-cat-health-problems.html

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • Fiona,I have noticed the same change in the irises of my 15 year old lilac point male – they are looking more greenish than blue now. I am concerned about kidney failure (it runs in his lines) except that his weight, behavior, playfulness, and eating habits are unchanged. My cats are due for their annual checkup in early September, but I may bring them in in late August if I have a concern. If I find out anything about blue-to-green eye changes I will submit a post here.

      Regards,

      Jude

  4. I have what i think is a Siamese and his right eye has changed from blue to yellow. He does have white feet. Would he be considered Siamese?

    • Hi Jerry. He is not a true Siamese per the Siamese breed standard although your cat has many Siamese traits. He carries the white spotting gene which is causing the white feet. In competition the yellow eye would result in disqualification.

      I would consider him as Siamese-like or a Siamese mix perhaps but not a true Siamese. But it depends on one’s own rules. Under the breed Standard he is not a Siamese it seems to me.

      Thanks for visiting and asking. It does not matter. He is a lovely cat and just as good if not better than a purebred Siamese who relatively often have health problems.

  5. my cat is probably around one year old, it was told to me by vet. he is not pure Siamese, his eyes are looking very light blue, an lids kinda pink, pls help ????????

  6. My simese cats eyes are crystal blue but change color as she plays red when she is in play mide with her toy mice and black when she gets mad

      • I just got 2 siamese kittens. One has light orange ears, feet, and tail. The other grayish brown ears, feet, and tail. Both have blue eyes but the pupil looks red when you look at them from the side. They are always playing so it could be when they are warm from playing. They are only about 8 weeks old. I was curious also about the red pupils.

        • One is a flame pointed and the seal pointed it seems. The red pupils is the light picking up the blood vessels feeding the retina. Thanks for visiting.

    • Both are pointed but the Himalayan is long haired and looks like a flat faced Persian while the Siamese is shorthaired, has a long face and is slender. The Himmie is much more rounded and compact looking. You can see full descriptions of both cats on this site. Go to the menu and find the breed there.

      They are very different cats and that applies to character too. The Siamese is vocal and likes interaction with people while the Himmie has Persian cat traits: somewhat static and decorative but can be nervous. Hope this helps Rico.

    • Himalayans have long hair like a Persian, and also a pushed in face and stocky body like a Persian. If you prefer long hair but want a Siamese figure, the Balinese is for you!

  7. My Siamese cat that I just adopted from a Humane society has the beautiful blue eyes as the background color then there is a darker beautiful blue area around the black middle. I have owned 6 Siamese cats and never seen one like this. Not sure what to make of it?

    • Esther, first, this is a beautiful Siamese cat. Very impressive. A traditional Siamese and a lovely face.

      Before writing this I looked at about 30 photos of Siamese cat eyes! About 2 of the cats had a similar two toned blue with a sharp demarcation. On occassions with other Siamese cats there is also a blurred demarcation between the darker and lighter blue.

      I think, to be honest, that this is normal and just a variation on the blue eye. It is just a genetically inherited feature of the Siamese blue eyes and it is very nice and special.

      Gorgeous cat, really.

  8. Hi- I am considering purchasing a 5 month old Siamese kitten. The seller says his eyes are brown, which I have never heard of. In looking at the image she sent, it looks like the pupils are dilited and are brown. Your thoughts please.

    • Hi Susie, I guess you are concerned as to whether this Siamese kitten is a genuine Siamese as all Siamese must have blue eyes. The iris is a very faint blue it seems to me and the pupil is the dark center which is going to be dark brown to black because you are looking into the interior of the eyeball. The kitten’s eyes are well dilated because the photo was taken in subdued light. If the breeder can provide the correct papers to prove pedigree and registration with a cat association I think things are okay. Perhaps you should ask for another photo taken in brighter light to see more of the iris.

      P.S. the image color balance is not perfect which may affect the color of the eyes slightly.

      • Hi Michael, Thank you for the information. The seller of the kitten has replied back stating ‘He has very slightly blue eyes. They are almost white. Pictures do not show proper eye colors.’ I had asked for a better picture from what was in the advertisement. The other picture, is in the same lighting, only a different position (see attached). The seller is asking $400.00, up to date on his shots and no registration papers.

        • My gut feeling is that this Siamese cat has not got the best eyes for this breed in terms of color. It is about that. A deeper blue (sapphire blue) is the target color. I don’t want to interfere but I’d have thought you could buy a better example of the Siamese cat if you are concerned about the appearance.

          Although appearance is only one aspect of a cat. The most important is character and whether you bond emotionally.

          However, there should be registration papers. Is there are pedigree (a family tree)? How do you know that this cat is purebred and a genuine Siamese? These questions must be answered by the breeder I’d have thought.

  9. I have a 5 month old seal point i just dont know which one he is my second one my first one the vet informed mw was a pearl faced opeal she was a lilac with blue eyes and red pupils my little man has the crystal blue eyes with red pupils and pink noses! Can you please help me figure out what he is called either way i wouldnt take a million dollars for him he is my little man! Thanks Heather and Hamlet

    Reply

    • Thanks for visiting and showing me your little man. He is gorgeous. Can I ask you a question?

      How did you come to adopt him? Did you buy him from a breeder or adopt him from a rescue center or perhaps you adopted him from a friend or neighbor.

  10. We have a snowshoe Siamese mix who is 5 months old. Storm was just spayed and her left is changing to slight brown/golden color. Is this normal for their breeds? Or is this a sign of something serious with her eyes? Thanks!

  11. I found this little one about 2 months ago. She was 4 weeks and very much feral. She’s 12 weeks now and she’s kinda mean. She growls and bites. I’ve never had a Siamese car before and I’m just wondering if this is normal behavior? And her eyes change between blue to green is she a true Siamese?

    • Hi Jax, her behavior is normal for a semi-feral cat who is becoming more domesticated. Be patient and treat her with a lot of gentleness etc. and she’ll be fine.

      As for whether she is a purebred Siamese or not that is harder to answer. It is likely that as you found her that she is not a purebred Siamese. She is very nice pointed cat. There are lots of cats like this is Asia. Thanks for commenting.

  12. Hi Michael. Do you think my kitty is Siamese or maybe a Siamese /Burmese mix? Regardless, I love her to bits!

    • Hi Tamara. For me the photo needs clarifying. I have lightened it below. I think she is a traditional Siamese. He coat is dark on the torso but this is not unusual. Is she quite elderly?

    • Here is the photo lightened. I think she is Siamese with a very dark body due to low torso temperature. I could be wrong. What do you know about her pedigree?

  13. I used to petsit her and her twin brother and her owner said that their first owner found them as feral kittens. Supposedly she is about 8 now, however she definitely acts like a kitten. Her fur was dry when I first got her, but, no not elderly. I sometimes think she was raised by wolves though, she prys opens cuboards right in front of me, even with the ties on (she knows she’s not supposed to open them. Very sassy little girl. What is torso temperature? Do you think it relates to being raised by wolves – uh, I mean, from being in the wild?

  14. Here is a pic of of her and her brother. (She’s on the left). Unfortunately during this time her brother had ataxia from hepatic lipodosis and that’s why his eyes look strange. He also had the same dark coloring, so I’m wondering if maybe being outside in the cold when they were kittens caused their body to produce more heat and that is why they’re darker?

  15. This cat I just picked up and wounded under her eyes so on the cheeks and sometimes in night hours Her gray eyes turn to red eyes.

    • Dea, please tell me what happened. You say that you wounded this cat. Is that true? I need more information before I cam comment sorry.

  16. Hello,

    I got this cat not knowing who the father was. The woman I got it from was not a breeder, her cat got out one night and got pregnant so that’s what happened. the mom I was told was a Siamese and she looked a lot like the cat I bought from her. I did see the mother and could confirm it was a Siamese or maybe tonkinese but the owner didn’t know anything much about her breed or background, purebred ect. The only difference is my cat looks VERY Siamese but has light yellow eyes. He was the only one that looked Siamese in the litter. The other ones were orange and black I was told. Is my cat still Siamese if he has yellow eyes or is he something else? Thanks

    • Technically he is a Siamese-mix. By which I mean that he is not purebred Siamese. But that is according to the cat associations in the US. In Thailand, the country from where Siamese cats come, he’d be considered a Siamese cat. He’s a great looking cat.

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