Siamese cats are fascinating breed felines remarkable for their distinct colored-points fur pattern and their striking blue eyes. These cats were once given high regard as a royalty figure during the ancient Thailand (Siam kingdom) period. The genes of these cats are responsible for all the Siamese having blue eyes.
Reasons why Siamese cats have blue eyes
Siamese cats are albino cats. But you may be confused because they don’t look like the usual albino animals. This type of albinism is called “”temperature-sensitive albinism.”” This type of albinism is a result of a recessive gene that the Siamese cats possess, and this gene is known as a Siamese allele which modifies and cancels the pigments on the cat’s coat.
- Effect on the Siamese cat’s coat
Temperature-sensitive albinism is the main reason why Siamese cat’s coats have dark-colored points. The allele gene is sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. For example, the Siamese cat’s body is cooler around their paws, ears, nose, and tails, and you’ll notice that these points have darker colors than the warmer parts of the Siamese body.
You will also notice that the Siamese cat’s coat changes in color as they grow. These cats are born with an all-white coat because of the temperature-sensitive albinism. The mother cat’s warm temperature’s womb maintained the evenly white color of the baby Siamese coat. The kittens remain white from the nursing period until they separate from their mother.
- Siamese albino eye structure
The Siamese cat’s albinism significantly affects these cat’s eye structures. A normal cat eye has two layers (the stroma and epithelium), and these layers contain pigments that dictate the cat’s eye color. Some cats with blue eyes have pigments on either of the 2 layers. However, the pigmented cells are absent in both layers of the Siamese cat’s eyes, making their eyes blue.
This type of albinism is the reason why all of the Siamese cats have blue eyes and dark-colored point patterns. However, this gene modifier is a recessive gene. This means that both of the cat parents should have the gene to achieve the Siamese cat’s remarkable coat pattern and striking blue eyes.
Siamese eyes are blue because it’s what human eyes can see.
Temperature-sensitive albinism cancels all the pigment cells in the Siamese cat’s eyes. So, you may wonder why you see blue when technically there is no color in these felines. The answer is the same answer explaining why the sky is blue, and it has something to do with colors and wavelengths. The blue light is dispersed more than other colors because it travels with shorter and smaller waves, and this light is the main color that reflects throughout the stroma layer of the cat’s eye, and this is what’s visible in our eyes.
However, some may say that violet has smaller and shorter wavelengths, and the Siamese eyes should be violet too. Yes, that is true. The color of the Siamese cat’s eyes should be violet; however, they appear blue because of the human eye’s sensitivity to light and colors. Our naked eyes don’t see violet that clearly. That’s why we see the sky as blue, and the Siamese cat’s eyes blue as well.
Blue eyes, a result of selective breeding
The modern-day Siamese cats are different from the traditional ones. Traditional Siamese cats have a rounder overall structure, crossed eyes, and bent tails. The breeders want the Siamese breed to be slimmer and have a more refined appearance. That’s when they began the selective breeding, to eradicate the not-so-good features of the Siamese and retain the good ones such as their remarkable blue eyes. And with continuous selective breeding comes the notable changes for these cats. They now have slim bodies, the bent tails and crossed eyes have disappeared, while their blue eyes persisted until today.
Siamese blue eyes and their sight
Normal cats can see even the smallest cricket in the dark because of their perfect night vision, but it differs from the Siamese cats. Albinism also persisted due to selective breeding and wanting the Siamese to retain their bright blue eyes.
Albinism is necessary for Siamese cats to have blue eyes, and because of this, they lack the extra layer in their eyes that is important for their vision. Although they have a precise and good vision during daytime, albinism causes the tapetum lucidum (layer of the eye, enhancing visual sensitivity under low light conditions) to be absent in the Siamese eyes that severely limits their night vision.
Common questions about Siamese cats
What breeds of cats have blue eyes?
Among the felines sporting blue eyes, the Siamese cat is possibly the best known as they’re one of the most popular domesticated cats globally, and are the most common blue-eyed cats available to adopt or buy. However, other cat breeds also have distinctive blue eyes that stay with them throughout their lifetime. These include Balinese, Himalayan Persian, Birman, and Javanese.
How can you tell if a cat with blue eyes is deaf?
Many cats with blue eyes tend to be deaf, but many aren’t. If you want to find out if a cat with ocean-blue eyes is deaf, stand around a couple of feet behind the feline and make a loud noise. If the cat looks toward you, there’s a high chance they’re not deaf. However, remember that cats are sensitive creatures and can feel non-auditory vibrations, so it’s best to have enough space when trying this method.
How many years do Siamese cats live?
Siamese cats are known to be frail cats, with most of them being prone to developing several health problems, including progressive retinal atrophy, gastrointestinal issues, urinary tract infection, and gum diseases. Because of this, a Siamese cat has a shorter life span compared to other breeds. A traditional or modern Siamese cat can live up to 15 to 20 years.
Generally speaking, all Siamese cats have blue eyes. This has been proven through their history, genes, and how sensitive human eyes are to light and colors. Their blue eyes are the best and most remarkable characteristics that the Siamese cat breed features, which even the breeders, did their best to preserve these cats’s distinct eye color.