What percentage of white cats are deaf?

Contrary to beliefs about black cats, white cats are deemed to be more angelic and cuter than the black and colored ones. These white-colored pets are very amusing to the eyes, for they signify a lot of positive traits. In some cultures, white cats are believed to be guardians of their owners against evil spirits. Well, no one can blame these pet lovers for white cats seem to be so perfect that one can cuddle them for the whole day. Their white fur can be a makeshift of a soft pillow. Moreover, their blue eyes are so fantastic that it is peculiar to see one.

Many white cats come with a degenerative disease that is too common for cats that have a white color. White cats get their color from the gene termed W (for White). Gene W also makes their eyes blue. This makes them utterly white with blue eyes, but this gene also is responsible for the degeneration of their auditory organs. Thus, making them deaf.

The risk of this degeneration makes up 1 -1.5% of cats’ population. However, this may vary in different situations. For instance, white cats with two blue eyes are three to five times more likely to be deaf compared to the other white cats with no blue eyes. This situation is also present to long-haired white cats with a probability three times higher than the other cats. Though owning a white cat means a lot for they are too rare to have, for they only make up 5% of the cats’ population.

Traits of white cats

White cats experience a lot of differences with the other cats because of the given situation that they have W genes. Aside from being deaf, they are photophobic, which means they do not like too much light. They cannot see correctly when there is too much light because of their blue eyes. Ironically, these cats cannot also see appropriately in low light conditions for their blue eyes cannot process the presence of light due to their blue eyes. The owner of this breed must be particular to light conditions making sure that there is enough light for this cat to see correctly.

Inherited deafness and degenerative behaviors

Deafness and degenerative responses of white cats are mainly inherited because of the presence of W genes. That is why it is not new to have a deaf white cat, for it is inherited. But one should also consider that this trait is too exclusive for white-coated cats. However, these W genes affect the cat’s color of coat entirely but not wholly to their eyes and deafness. This means that not all white cats are deaf, so are the chances of having blue eyes. This interplay with traits is caused by factors such as the environment or presence of other genes. For one to make sure that one’s cat is not deaf even if it has these traits, one must try the Brainstem Auditory Evoking Response (BAER) Testing that is performed by experts to determine if the cat is deaf or not.

Chat with on-call Cat Veterinarians in minutes, 24/7


Therefore, owning a white cat is particularly unique, not just for its cuteness and color but because of these conditions that exist because of W genes.

Common Asked Questions

Do white cats have more health problems?

Due to their special condition, white cats are at considerable risk of many health problems. They can be deaf for a certain percentage. They cannot see correctly when exposed to too much lighting. Aside from these conditions, they also suffer from a high risk of sunburn because of the lack of melanin production. Thus, making white cats sensitive to sunlight, so do not overexpose them that much. If you have a white cat, invest in buying sunscreen spray specialized for cats only. They can be of great help if your cat loves outdoors to bathe under the sun. Susceptibility to sunlight puts them at risk of a lot of severe health problems.

How rare is a pure white cat?

Just like black cats, white cats are rare also. There is no specific breed that comes out as all white. Persian, Sphynx, and all the other breeds can wear this white color, just like how they acquire black color. This means that white cats are caused not by the genes of the breed they belong to, but this is due to the presence of a gene called w gene. It is a masking gene that prevents other colors from existing in the fur of the cats so white can prevail. After masking different colors, the cat with the W gene appears to be white.

Is the white cat an albino?

There is a vast difference between them. White cats have W genes, which are called the masking gene, which enables the color of the cats’ fur to be white. On the other hand, albinism is a degenerative condition in the genes of cats where cats do not have any color of their skin, fur, and eyes. In the case of white cats. They have white as their fur color, and their eyes can go into a wide range of colors. Thus, to determine the cat, if it is albino, one should check the color of the eyes. If it has blue or mixed coloration, then rest assured that it is not albino.


White cats are adorable and angelic. Their cuteness is inevitable to notice. However, this cuteness comes with a higher risk of health problems, making them very sensitive to almost everything, especially sunlight. This is for the reason that white cats do have W genes that are capable of masking melanin to produce any other colors. Despite these negative attributes, white cats remain to have this fascinating appearance that people will surely adore.

What percentage of white cats are deaf?