Heterochromia is a condition in which the irises of your cat’s eyes are not monochromatic (all the same color). Cats can experience complete heterochromia in which the irises of the eyes do not match each other, partial heterochromia in which a single iris has more than one color, or a combination of partial and complete heterochromia. This sometimes beautiful, sometimes strange, and always striking condition is not considered a disease, but rather variation of eye color. This color variation does not affect the cat’s eyesight.
Symptoms of Heterochromia
Although heterochromia does not have symptoms (it is simply a description of the color variation in the cat’s eyes) it may be an indication of genetic mutation, or of a previous disease or injury. Occasionally heterochromia is accompanied by deafness in one or both ears, but often it is not.
Genetic heterochromia can occur in white cats, or any cat with a white gene, or a white spotting gene (even if there is no white fur on the cat’s body). These genes limit the amount of melanin in one of the cat’s eyes (or part of a cat’s eye) and the color variation is the result. Breeds predisposed to this form of heterochromia include the Turkish angora and the Turkish van.
Treatment of Heterochromia
If your new cat has heterochromia and you are concerned the condition might be the result of a disease or injury, or that your cat might suffer from hearing loss, consult with your veterinarian. It is likely, however, that your cat is perfectly healthy.
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