Many a person has been entranced by beautiful cat eyes, and rightly so -- our feline friends have quite the varied range of beautiful, natural eye colors! When special genetic circumstances arise, cats can possess some of the most vibrant eyes you'll ever see, and we've collected a gallery of images that show just how incredible those vibrant eyes can be.
According to messybeast.com, feline eye color is determined by two different factors: first, the number of melanocytes present in the eye (which are pigment-producing cells) and second, the amount of blue refraction. The number of melanocytes present and their activity in a cat's eye dictate what type of color is exhibited in the iris as well as its intensity. No melanocytes results in a blue color, while just a few results in green, and a high number of active melanocytes would produce a deep, rich copper or orange.
Kittens are born with blue eyes, but for many, this does not last more than about six weeks. As kittens age and their melanocytes begin producing more pigment, their eyes will often change to a different shade. Eye color is not permanent, however, and things like illness or disease could cause a cat's eyes to change in shade later in life.
Take a look at the photo series below to see some fur babies with absolutely gorgeous eyes!
1. This kitty's big eyes look like swirling oceans of deep blue mixed with icy, sky blue.
2. These big, green orbs are exceptionally bright and beautiful!
3. This beauty has some of the richest, deepest copper eyes we've seen, perfectly complemented by its orange fur.
4. Similar to the first cat in the list, this beautiful Ragdoll has ocean-like blue eyes, but they are much lighter.
5. Hugo, a permanent resident at Cat Cafe Purnauskis has fiery bronze eyes that stand in stark contrast with his white and grey coat.
6. Heterochromia iridium, which refers to an animal who has different colored eyes, can be seen in the cat's eyes pictured below. While uncommon for humans, having odd eyes is not unusual for cats. It can be genetic, congenital, or acquired (through things like illness or injury), but all cases yield one blue eye with the other eye varying.
7. This beautiful baby, named Omnom has incredibly bright, light green and blue eyes that didn't change color as he grew!
He's still got the same gorgeous, bright gaze as an adult!
8. White cats tend to be a special case, according to messybeast.com -- blue eyes in white cats are associated with a particular gene, the epistatic white gene, or dominant white gene. This dominant gene functions to essentially mask an underlying coat color, making white cats different from albino cats. White cats can have two blue eyes, but will have at least one, just like the kitten in the photo below!
9. Shades of light, bluish-green melt into yellow in this Bengal's incredible eyes. According to messybeast.com, pedigree cats, like a Bengal, for example, possess more intense eye color in general than random-bred cats.
10. This little guy, Milo, appears to have a galaxy floating in one of his eyes!
In the caption on the photo below, Milo's owner explains that he was rescued from dire circumstances as a young kitten, having been very sick and near starvation. It's quite possible that his one eye is cloudy as a result of this illness.
What's the most beautiful set of cat eyes you've ever seen? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to share this gallery if you loved it!