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Thinking about a White kitty with blue eyes.....

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
We have been seeing all white kittens with blue eyes at our LPS and they are adorable. I really would like to get a friend for Squishy. Are there any sight problems with these kittens that have blue eyes. Or are they just a mix breed with some siamese genes in them? I dont know alot about the breeds of kittens so i have to ask.
post #2 of 25
I don't think there are any sight problems, but from what I've read pure white cats can have problems with hearing. And, most kittens have blue eyes when they are born, so there is a good chance they will change to green or yellow as they get older.

Got any pics???
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
the ones we have seen are a little older like they look to be about 3-4 months old. I would love them either way if their eyes did change or if something was wrong they just seem a different color blue than kitten blue. We are gonna wait until we get Squishy spayed before getting another one tho. But i am excited oh btw here is a pic of squishy
post #4 of 25
my pa has a white hymilaian (sp) with blue eyes and she dont have a problem with her sight.


Her name is Queen Sheba, but she prefers the name DOG.
post #5 of 25
Blue eyed cats will be more sensitive to bright light. But more important its a higher chance of being deaf then sight problems. Be sure to test the kitten/cat's hearing if that will be a problem for you
post #6 of 25
Blue eyed cats are very slightly more prone to some eye conditions such as glaucoma and retinal damage - but it is only a very slight increase in risk over a cat with any other colour eyes, any cat could develop these conditions.

A much bigger likelihood is deafness, although as long as the cat is kept indoors only*, this is not too much of a disability - they can learn to recognise certain hand signals for things like 'come here' and 'dinner time' (the latter is more likely to be heeded than the former, although the same can be said of any cat ) and you can get their attention by stomping on the floor, as they can feel the vibrations.

* A white cat is much more prone to sun-related skin damage, will get sunburnt easily, and as a result is more prone to skin cancer - this can all be avoided if the cat is kept indoor only.

I love white cats, I don't think I'd be able to resist one of those kittens!
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
queen sheba is very lovely. quite a large kitty, we have just discussed the possibility of hearing problems and have decided that we would welcome a new baby regardless. We agree that is would make our furfamily more special.
post #8 of 25
It is a gene that blue-eyed white cats carry, and about 90% of them are deaf. But deaf kitties are GREAT!

Flowerbelle doesn't get why all the other kitties are scared of the vacuum cleaner. Deaf kitties wave their paws at you to get your attention - which is just toooooo cute. The problem, of course, is that they are deaf - and they cannot hear themselves talk, and are usually not mute. We are not into talking cats, and all ours are feral rescues - so we were just fine with the fact that our cats all learned from their moms not to talk. Flowerbelle changed all that. Now they ALL talk. And, of course, when we're sleeping, we can't see the waving paw - so she walks up to us, and shoves the paw in our face - and THEN meows. (Make sure you keep those claws clipped! )

You can "stamp" train them - use food and a foot stamp to teach your kitty to come when you "call" her with the foot stamp. Can be really important if there's ever an emergency.

White kittes are prone to skin cancer - so if she absolute loves lying in direct sun, you may want to consider putting baby sunblock on her ears.

Laurie
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
* A white cat is much more prone to sun-related skin damage, will get sunburnt easily, and as a result is more prone to skin cancer - this can all be avoided if the cat is kept indoor only.

I love white cats, I don't think I'd be able to resist one of those kittens!
i agree, Dog loves going outside with pa, but got a bit too much sun last summer and turned her ears a bright red instead of their natural pink and since then she wont stay in the hot sun very long before she wants in. btw Dog is so large because she was a show cat at one time, she was kept in a kennel cage for the first couple years of her life, but she didnt get along well around other cats and had quite a temper problem, so she was going to be put down before my sister agreed to take her and make her a family pet.
post #10 of 25
Most white kitties with blue eyes are deaf.

My friend had a beautiful white kitty with blue eyes named Missy. She was a doll. She loved to ride around on the vacuum when it was being used. The warmth and vibration of it gave her comfort. She got used to sensing your presence through vibrations of the floor.

I notice that Chynna as she has gotten older has become very hard of hearing and that she has come to rely on "vibrations" to sense things too.
post #11 of 25
I've got two blue eyed whites who are deaf. Both see fine. However, they are more prone to skin cancer....so I put sunblock on their ears/noses every day.

Other than that, as a whole, they're no different than other kitties. Ophelia, one of my deafies....she's a "special" kitty.
post #12 of 25
I have a bue-eyed white kitten that is deaf and has no volume control. He's taught me that teaching him "no" is a lost cause, although I hear rumors that it can be done. He also likes to make noises to get my attention and if I happen to ignore him he will jump me.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
It is a gene that blue-eyed white cats carry, and about 90% of them are deaf. But deaf kitties are GREAT!
No, it's not a special gene blue eyed cas carry. Any white cat, no matter eye color, may become deaf. It has to do with the white itself. However, blue eyed white cats are more likely to be deaf than orange eyed ones. But it's not a fact that blue eyed white cats carry a "deafness gene". The deafness is related to the coat color.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol View Post
No, it's not a special gene blue eyed cas carry. Any white cat, no matter eye color, may become deaf. It has to do with the white itself. However, blue eyed white cats are more likely to be deaf than orange eyed ones. But it's not a fact that blue eyed white cats carry a "deafness gene". The deafness is related to the coat color.
Absolutely - melanin production isn't something that only relates to skin/coat colour, it plays other roles in the body also - it is necessary for the correct formation and protection of part of the inner ear essential for hearing. The same enzyme used to build pigment molecules is also necessary for embryonic development of parts of the nervous system to do with sight - which is why Siamese cats have historically had a tendency towards cross eyes - it's a problem with neurological development caused by the same defective enzyme that results in colourpoint markings and albinism, as with deafness, it's not a separate gene.
post #15 of 25
Actually ANY cat can be deaf. The bicolors seems to be more of a carrier of the deaf gene. Found that out with my rexes. One and only deaf kitten was a gold-eye white who's father was a bicolor. Mom was an odd-eye white (hearing) and from pointed rexes so we know she was not the one that carried the deaf gene.
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ignoring is not in a kittys vocabulary at least not in my kitties vocab. lol
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol View Post
No, it's not a special gene blue eyed cas carry. Any white cat, no matter eye color, may become deaf. It has to do with the white itself. However, blue eyed white cats are more likely to be deaf than orange eyed ones. But it's not a fact that blue eyed white cats carry a "deafness gene". The deafness is related to the coat color.
For the sake of the post, I simplified it. It is the genetic combination that creates the potential for deafness, though it is related to the lack of pigment, as you point out. It isn't a "deafness gene" per se, but it is the genetic make-up that determines whether or not a white cat will be deaf or not. It is explained really well here: http://www.messybeast.com/whitecat.htm

...but thanks for the correction.

Laurie
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Actually ANY cat can be deaf. The bicolors seems to be more of a carrier of the deaf gene. Found that out with my rexes. One and only deaf kitten was a gold-eye white who's father was a bicolor. Mom was an odd-eye white (hearing) and from pointed rexes so we know she was not the one that carried the deaf gene.
I think it's a bit daring to talk about one cat carrying a gene or genes for deafness. We simply don't know enough about it. Selective breeding on hearing white cats only surely has reduced the numbers of white kittens being born, but we really don't know much more than that. Is the deafness caused by one mutation? Is it polygenetic? I stil haven't seen any expert claim to know exactly.

We know the mechanism, why white cats are predisposed but the genetic part is far from clear.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
For the sake of the post, I simplified it. It is the genetic combination that creates the potential for deafness, though it is related to the lack of pigment, as you point out. It isn't a "deafness gene" per se, but it is the genetic make-up that determines whether or not a white cat will be deaf or not. It is explained really well here: http://www.messybeast.com/whitecat.htm

...but thanks for the correction.

Laurie
I don't really agree with that article... more specific I don't agree with the statement on kittens with "smudges of coloured fur on top of the head". I've seen more than one study that says there's no connection between these patches of color and sound hearing. The article is far to "general" and doesn't really explain why white and deafness is connected to each other.

The Pigment Parade explains it all so much better.
post #20 of 25
You're right. From a breeding perspective, the article is much too general. For laypeople, it discusses the statistical correlations in an understandable fashion.

According to UC Davis, the incidence of white cats with blue eyes and deafness is Waardenburg's syndrome: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/course...nburgssyndrome

Though of course not all sources of deafness are caused by Waardenburg's.

Using mice, researchers of Waardenburg's isolated a gene that is a cause of the Syndrome (in people and mice) as reported in Science News in 1992: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...41/ai_12121304

As you already pointed out, the issue is not that there are genes for blue eyes, white fur and deafness. The white fur and - more frequently - the blue eyes - are merely genes that are statistically correlated to the presence of the gene or genes that then cause the cat to become deaf, as it appears that, according to the Science News article "Melanocytes play in important role in the inner ear of mammals. They make up a tiny, dark stripe that winds through the cochlea, the spiral-shaped organ that contains the so-called hair cells that sense sound waves. By regulating the concentrations of charged potassium and sodium atoms in the special fluid within the cochlea, melanocytes allow the hair cells to generate electrical signals that convey sound to the brain. If these melanocytes fail to grow or move to their appropriate places in the developing embryo, Milunsky and Read assert, deafness and pigmentation anomalies could result."

However, Waardenburg's has three diffferent classifications and mutations in six different genes have been identified as causing it according to the genetics home reference discussion of Waardenburg's Syndrome at the National Institutes of Health: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition=waardenburgsyndrome

What research has been done with cats, and how this all plays out from a breeder's perspective, I have no idea.

But to correct my original statement, it appears that between 55% and 85% of white cats that have blue eyes are also deaf. (http://www.keoka.com/whtdeaf/index.htm) While the deafness is not caused by one gene, the tendency for developmental problems of the embryo that will cause congenital deafness exists in many white cats with blue eyes. If a cat is white and has bi-color eyes and one of those is blue, it is highly likely that the cat is deaf in the ear that is on the same side of the head as the blue eye. It is hereditary, but how to breed out deafness in white cats with blue eyes has not yet been fully identified.

...and, of course, cats that are not white and do not have blue eyes can be born deaf, but the cause would not be Waardenburg's Syndrome per se.

Footnote: A mutation of the Pax-3 gene, which does cause deafness as Waardenburg's Syndrome in people, does not appear to be the cause of deafness in dalmations - and how it affects cats, I have not yet found any research.

Laurie
post #21 of 25
My friend has 2 Cats with Blue Eyes and they are Deaf. My Friend is Deaf too. Her Cats do fine.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
You're right. From a breeding perspective, the article is much too general. For laypeople, it discusses the statistical correlations in an understandable fashion.

According to UC Davis, the incidence of white cats with blue eyes and deafness is Waardenburg's syndrome: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/course...nburgssyndrome

Though of course not all sources of deafness are caused by Waardenburg's.

Using mice, researchers of Waardenburg's isolated a gene that is a cause of the Syndrome (in people and mice) as reported in Science News in 1992: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...41/ai_12121304

As you already pointed out, the issue is not that there are genes for blue eyes, white fur and deafness. The white fur and - more frequently - the blue eyes - are merely genes that are statistically correlated to the presence of the gene or genes that then cause the cat to become deaf, as it appears that, according to the Science News article "Melanocytes play in important role in the inner ear of mammals. They make up a tiny, dark stripe that winds through the cochlea, the spiral-shaped organ that contains the so-called hair cells that sense sound waves. By regulating the concentrations of charged potassium and sodium atoms in the special fluid within the cochlea, melanocytes allow the hair cells to generate electrical signals that convey sound to the brain. If these melanocytes fail to grow or move to their appropriate places in the developing embryo, Milunsky and Read assert, deafness and pigmentation anomalies could result."

However, Waardenburg's has three diffferent classifications and mutations in six different genes have been identified as causing it according to the genetics home reference discussion of Waardenburg's Syndrome at the National Institutes of Health: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition=waardenburgsyndrome

What research has been done with cats, and how this all plays out from a breeder's perspective, I have no idea.

But to correct my original statement, it appears that between 55% and 85% of white cats that have blue eyes are also deaf. (http://www.keoka.com/whtdeaf/index.htm) While the deafness is not caused by one gene, the tendency for developmental problems of the embryo that will cause congenital deafness exists in many white cats with blue eyes. If a cat is white and has bi-color eyes and of those is blue, it is highly likely that the cat is deaf in the ear that is on the same side of the head as the blue eye. It is hereditary, but how to breed out deafness in white cats with blue eyes has not yet been fully identified.

...and, of course, cats that are not white and do not have blue eyes can be born deaf, but the cause would not be Waardenburg's Syndrome per se.

Footnote: A mutation of the Pax-3 gene, which does cause deafness as Waardenburg's Syndrome in people, does not appear to be the cause of deafness in dalmations - and how it affects cats, I have not yet found any research.

Laurie
Wow - TMI for this dumb-bunny.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
But to correct my original statement, it appears that between 55% and 85% of white cats that have blue eyes are also deaf. (http://www.keoka.com/whtdeaf/index.htm)
It's important to note that those numbers are extremely general and in most part based on random matings (i.e. domestic shorhairs/longhairs). Studies done on purebred white cats often show lower numbers than that.
I'm gonna try to find the magazine where the Swedish study on white Devon Rexes and Cornish Rexes were published.

So it definately matters if we're talking purebred cats or random mated cats.

I'm gonna check out some of the links, great work on collecting information!
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol View Post
It's important to note that those numbers are extremely general and in most part based on random matings (i.e. domestic shorhairs/longhairs). Studies done on purebred white cats often show lower numbers than that.
I'm gonna try to find the magazine where the Swedish study on white Devon Rexes and Cornish Rexes were published.

So it definately matters if we're talking purebred cats or random mated cats.

I'm gonna check out some of the links, great work on collecting information!
I was just looking at it as the guardian of a white cat with light blue/green eyes that is deaf - although we believe her deafness is due to illness, not having been born that way because she can seem to hear certain frequencies (though it could just be senses vibrations at some frequencies).

Either way - I knew that many deaf cats with blue eyes were deaf, or that there was a high probability that they are - and deaf kitties make GREAT companions - so long as they are indoors only.

Of course, understanding the problem is a totally different ball of wax for a breeder.

...and I don't know how much digging you plan to do, but there's been a LOT of work done on mice re: Waardenburg's. There have also been a lot of studies subsequently done on a number of the genes that "cause" Wardenburg's. I didn't spend a lot of time on it, but apparently deafness is a problem with dalmations, because there's been a fair amount of gene research funded by a dalmation group. I found almost nothing on cat breeding, genetics, and hereditary tendencies that wasn't 10 years old or more (as relates to deafness or Waardenburg's - especially as regards breeding white cats and/or blue eyes into the gene pool). There was a paper published in 1971 by Bergsma & Brown specifically on hereditary traits of white cats with blue eyes and deafness - if you want to pay for it, it is available through Oxford Journal of Heredity. But the 1995 paper by the Keoka Maine Coon breeders points out a number of flaws in the research.

Happy to send along other links if you want them. Just PM me.

Laurie
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammyandwaf View Post
Ignoring is not in a kittys vocabulary at least not in my kitties vocab. lol
Not in my kitties vocabulary either. Ignore the cat talk, be prepared for the back-up action. LOL
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