Albino kittens have a genetic condition where they are born without pigmentation. Chracterized by their soft pale pink skin tone, fair white fur and light pink or even ice cool blue eyes, these rare kittens make up only a minute 2% of the cat population. It can be easy to confuse a normal kitten with an albino one. To make this easier, simply take note that if you see a white cat that has brown or green eyes, it’s not an albino!
Aren’t those little white cats cute? If you’ve ever owned one or seen one, you might have wondered about the possibility of them being albino. It may not seem like important information, but there are health considerations for albino cats that owners need to know about. So let’s figure out if your white cutie is really albino!
Read our post about the fascinating bald sphinx cats.
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How to Tell an Albino Cat from a White Cat
When we talk about albinism, we’re referring to a genetic condition where there’s a complete lack of color in the kitten. For a kitten to be considered a true albino, both its parents has to be carriers of the albinism gene. White cats might look albino because of this, but there are some distinctions that are pretty easy to see.
Look Into My Eyes
The eyes are the most obvious. White cats can have different eye colors like orange, blue, green, or even a mixture of two colors, but albino cats can only have one coloring. Their eyes should be pink or pale bluish thanks to the actual lack of color reflecting the light back at you. For reference, look up a few pictures online! Be aware that the blue coloring should be pale and not the type of vibrant blue you see on white cats.
Just a note on the eyes: if you find that your cat really is albino, be aware that the eyes are very light sensitive. Your cat might even have problems with depth perception, tracking, and focusing the eyes thanks to the lack of melanin, which is the pigment developing the irises, muscles, optic nerves, and retinas. Direct sunlight can actually be really harmful to their vision.
Observe My Nose
If you look closely at the skin, especially in the nose or inner ears, it’ll be pink or pale pink rather than a normal cream or white coloring. This is because of the lack of melanin, which not only influences the eyes, but also the skin and fur.
We’ve told you to be careful with direct sunlight because of the eyes, but it’s important to watch your cat’s access to the sun for the skin too. Too much sunlight can be destructive over time to albino cats, which is why you really need to know if they’re actually albino. Skin diseases and conditions can be made worse thanks to sunlight too. Be sure to keep up regular checks on your cat to be sure they’re safe.
Things to Take Note of:
As with any pet, cats can have health problems. The only difference with albino cats is that they might deal with some different health issues.
We mentioned the skin and eye sensitivity before, but what about the myth of deafness in white cats? Well, deafness in white cats is actually linked with blue eyes, but for albino cats, their eyes aren’t actually blue, and their fur isn’t necessarily white. Albino cats just appear that way because of the lack of coloring, so they aren’t more likely to be blind. If you have an actually white cat with blue or green eyes, then you should keep watch.
Other health problems for albino cats boil down mostly to an increased likelihood of contracting certain immune disorders. This really shouldn’t change any part of your routine though; just be sure to get them vaccinations on time. As long as you do that and keep them out of the sun, you’re golden.
Half-Albino Cats (Wait, really?)
We’ve told you all about fully albino cats, which are really rare actually. They’re only around 2% of the entire cat population. Can there be cats which are partially albino? Yes! Different degrees of albinism exist, which is why there are both blue and pink-eyed albinos.
There are also half albino breeds though, like the Siamese, Burmese, and Tonkinese breeds. Everyone knows the Siamese cats with their cute brown accents on their white coat, but they only get that coloration from their albino genes. It’s even more interesting that they may be born white and gain their coloring later.
What About My White Cat?
It’s strange to think that cats with brown coloring are partially albino, and even odder when you realize that white cats are not albino at all. They really do only have genes for “white” coloring, rather than for the lack of coloring known as “albino.” This is why they are more prone to deafness than other cat colorings. Keeping that in mind however, not all white cats are deaf. White cats with blue eyes are most at risk for it, but it’s not guaranteed. Cats with only white spots have no link to deafness at all!
White cats have different likelihoods for deafness because their genes for “white” are different depending on the eye color they inherit. Orange-eyed white cats are rarely deaf, green-eyed ones are in the middle, and blue-eyes ones deal with it most commonly. Whether your cat is deaf or not though, a good household and an understanding family can do wonders.
There are all kinds of false pictures online showing you white cats when you really want to see what an albino cat looks like. It might not seem important, but albino cats have their own kinds of issues to deal with that you as a cat owner need to know about. Even if your cat is only white though, there are always things to keep in mind.