There’s nothing more precious than a newborn kitten. Seeing them grow from a little worm-like creature that fits in the palm of your hand into a tiny tiger roaming your living room floor is enough to melt your heart.
If you’ve been around kittens a lot (and why wouldn’t you?), you’ve probably noticed something about them. They all seem to have blue eyes. Weird, huh?
Could this really be true? Do all kittens have blue eyes? Or did you just catch a blue batch of kitten eyes by chance?
So, Do All Kittens Have Blue Eyes?
Adult cats’ eyes can be yellow, green, brown, blue, or anywhere in between. Yes, adult cats can have blue eyes too. Some breeds, like the Birman and the Ragdoll, are actually known for their beautiful blue eyes.
Why Do Kittens Have Blue Eyes?
The pale blue in a kitten’s eyes doesn’t come from blue pigment. The iris is structured in such a way that all colors of light are absorbed. Except for blue light, which actually escapes this complex structure. So, actually, it is the lack of pigment that allows the blue to be visible.
If you’re interested in the science behind this, or want to know why the color blue is so rare in nature to begin with, please check out this awesome video by It’s Okay To Be Smart:
When Do Kittens Open Their Eyes?
A newborn kitten’s eyes first start to open when they are about a week old. It can take up to 4 or 5 days for them to fully open their eyes. One eye might even be open before the other one.
Once a kitten’s eyes are open, it also starts to become more aware of its surroundings. Their eyesight isn’t fully developed yet, so they move around quite clumsily during the first weeks, relying on scent and mommy’s guidance.
When they are 4 weeks old, kittens see well enough to play with their siblings and some bright, colorful toys. But it’s not until they are about 10 weeks old that they develop their full eyesight.
When Do Kittens’ Eyes Change Color?
You can start to see the first signs of a kitten’s eyes changing color when they are around 4 weeks old. This change doesn’t happen overnight. It is a slow process in which the body starts to produce more melanin.
Melanin is a natural pigment that gives color to your skin, hair and eyes. This works the same for cats. As the melanin increases, it slowly but surely changes the color of the eyes.
At around 10 weeks old, your kitten will have its adult eye color. If your kitten’s eyes are still blue at about 8 weeks old, it is safe to say they are going to stay that way.
If you’re curious about the exact breed of your kitten, or you want to know about any health risks that might be waiting for them in the future, try the Basepaws Cat DNA Kit! It will tell you everything you need to know to prepare your kitten for a long and healthy life.
How Do Kittens Get Eye Infections?
Some kittens have eye infections as soon as they open their eyes for the first time. You’ll see some discharge and redness, and perhaps some crustiness around the eyelids. How does that happen?
It’s important to note that cat eye infections mostly occur in kittens that are born outside or in the wild. Oftentimes, their mother passes an infection to them during birth or they pick it up from bacteria in their surroundings.
If your kitten has an eye infection, it is important to take them to the vet immediately. Your veterinarian can determine what type of infection it is and what kind of medication is needed.
An untreated eye infection can have devastating consequences. Not only is it extremely painful for your kitten, it can cause damage to its eyes and even result in permanent blindness.
How To Treat A Kitten Eye Infection
When you take your kitten with an eye infection to the vet, they will first clean the eyes with warm water. They will carefully remove all the goo and crusts, until your kitten can actually open its eyes.
A warm compress can help to stop new crusts from forming and keep the eyes open. When the eyes are clean, your vet will apply antibiotic eye drops or ointment to treat the infection.
Watch closely as your vet is doing all of this! You will have to repeat this several times a day when you get home.
In most cases, your kitten’s eye infection should completely clear up within a few days. Just make sure to finish the entire treatment with the antibiotics as instructed by your vet, even if you think the infection is gone already. There might still be some bacteria lingering underneath the surface.