- 01 of 09
All About White Cats and Kittens
White cats, with their soft, pristine coats and uniquely colored eyes are works of feline art! But these kitties are more than just good looks. White cats have a pretty presidential history and are considered good luck all around the world.
- 02 of 09
Many Different Breeds Can Have All-White Coats
Like calico and tortoiseshell cats, all-white cats aren't linked to a specific breed. Rather, many different breeds—both long-hair and short-hair—can present a pure white coat, including Persians, Turkish Angoras, American Short-Hairs, Siamese, and Devon Rex.
So, what causes their all-white coats? If a cat has the dominant W gene, known as the masking gene, it will hide every other coat color and pattern gene in the cat's genetic makeup, resulting in a snowy, white coat.
- 03 of 09
White Cats Can Have Very Unique Eye Colors
Did you know a cat's eye color is linked to the melanin production in the body? Accordingly, white or lightly colored cats often have light eyes. All-white cats can have a variety of striking eye colors, like blue, green, yellow, orange, or a combination of colors.
- 04 of 09
Many (But Not All) White Cats Are Deaf
The same genetic factors that give white cats their snowy coats and unique eye colors can also cause total or partial deafness in many kitties. It's believed that the ear closest to the oddly colored eye (or both ears if both eyes are uniquely colored) will be the ear with deafness.
If your cat is partially or completely deaf, there are several precautions you must take to keep them safe. Be careful not to startle them and use visual signs rather than verbal signs to communicate. It's also best to keep a partially deaf or fully deaf cat indoors at all times; it may have trouble avoiding hazards or protecting himself from potential predators.
- 05 of 09
White Cats Are Not Albino
No, cats with white coats are not albino. There's a key difference: White cats simply have a gene for white fur, while albinism is a genetic condition that results in a complete lack of color pigmentation in the skin, fur, and eyes.
The easiest way to determine whether or not a cat is an albino is by looking at their eyes. White cats, as previously mentioned, can have a wide range of eye colors. Albino cats, however, often have eyes that look very pale blue, pink, or red. (Their eyes aren't really pink or red; the reflection of light against the blood vessels in their eyes just gives them the appearance.)
- 06 of 09
White Cats Can Get Sunburned, Too
Like humans, cats with light or white coats are at an increased risk of developing sunburn—especially on their ears, eyelids, and nose. Because they're more susceptible to sunburns, white cats also have a higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma or skin cancer.
It's important to take the right steps to protect your cat's light skin from sun damage:
- If your kitty loves to sunbathe, try to limit time next to bright windows between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is strongest.
- Consider investing in heavier drapes or shades that will help block or limit UV light coming in through your windows.
- Do you have an outdoor cat or live in an area where the sun is extra strong? Talk to your veterinarian about water-proof sunscreen designed to protect cats' sensitive skin.
- 07 of 09
White Cats Are Considered Lucky
Unlike allegedly unlucky black cats, all-white cats symbolize good luck and good fortune in cultures across the globe.
The well-known Japanese Beckoning Cat (also known as Maneki Neko) is most often depicted as a white cat. Originating some time around 1870, these figurines are placed near the entrances of homes and businesses to bring in good luck.
- 08 of 09
Many White Cats Have Lived in the White House
Appropriate, right? Several Presidents of the United States had white cats scurrying around the White House during their terms.
- Rutherford B. Hayes, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter, the 19th, 38th, and 39th Presidents, respectively, all had Siamese cats (although many Siamese cats aren't completely white, the majority of their coats are white).
- William McKinley, the 25th President, had two Turkish Angoras with equally exotic names: Enrique DeLome and Valeriano Weyler.
- 09 of 09
White Persian Cats Are the Most Popular
There's no doubt about it: White cats are gorgeous! But the most striking—and in-demand—white cat, perhaps, is the Persian. Their long, silky coats and big, expressive eyes look super elegant. It's no wonder they've graced kitty-themed calendars and pet food labels for as long as we can remember!
If you have a white Persian, however, you know regular grooming is key. Otherwise, you'll have a dingy, tangled mess, rather than a model kitty on your hands!