are most white cats deaf

Researchers found that only 17 to 22 percent of white cats with non-blue eyes are born deaf. The percentage rises to 40 percent if the cat has one blue eye, while upwards of 65 to 85 percent of all-white cats with both eyes blue are deaf. Some of these cats are deaf in only one ear.

What is the risk of deafness in a white cat?

The following figure illustrates the relationship between coat and eye color and the risk of deafness. If deafness occurs, it may be either unilateral or bilateral.

Deaf cats with white coats and either one or both blue eyes comprise approximately 1-1 of all cats. 5% of the total cat population. Nonetheless, there are regional differences in the frequency of white cats.

A white cat is three to five times more likely to be deaf if it has two blue eyes than if it has two non-blue eyes. A cat that has one blue eye is roughly twice as likely to be deaf as a cat that has two non-blue eyes. Additionally, the likelihood of bilateral deafness in longhaired white cats is three times higher. Deaf white cats face significant negative pressure from natural selection when living in the wild, as follows:

  • They are deaf
  • Because of their blue eyes, they are photophobic, or intolerant of bright light.
  • They have reduced vision in low light conditions

But white cats are far more common in pet cats, most likely just as a result of selective breeding (human preference and intervention). Numerous cat breeds are known to carry the gene for white coats, which means they can result in deaf white people. Nowadays, a number of breeds mandate that white cats undergo hearing tests (e g. utilizing brainstem auditory evoked response testing, or BAER testing—a straightforward, non-invasive test that can be carried out at specialized facilities to precisely ascertain whether deafness is present. It is not permitted to breed deaf white cats from these breeds.

How Do Genes Play a Role?

Just as genes shape who we are, they also shape who animals are. Similar to how our genes can affect our hair color or level of athleticism, a cat’s genes can determine its appearance and potentially innate traits like deafness. It turns out that there is a strong genetic correlation between deafness in cats and the genes that produce a white coat and blue eyes.

The link between deafness and cats with white fur and blue eyes has long captivated geneticists and cat breeders. Researchers have discovered that the snow-white coat coloration is caused by a single dominant gene known as W (for White). Additionally, this gene causes deafness and blue eyes.

A cat will have a white coat with 100% certainty if it carries the W gene. But if the cat has the W gene, there’s also a chance that it will be equally likely to have blue eyes and deafness. The gene is highly associated with both eye color and intrinsic deafness because there is an equal chance of developing these two characteristics. Not all blue-eyed, white-coated cats are deaf, though the great majority are. Researchers think that the W gene, which also causes deafness in cats, may be influenced by other recessive genes and environmental factors.

How Likely Is Deafness in White Cats?

While they only make up around 1% of all cats, white cats are very popular with pet owners. 5% of the total cat population. A considerable proportion of white cats will have one or two blue eyes, while some may have green or golden eyes. Finding out that the same shared W gene that carries fur color, eye color, and inherited deafness also carries the significant likelihood of having a deaf white-furred cat with blue eyes Three times as many cats are likely to be deaf if they have long white fur and blue eyes.

In the event that a white-furred cat has two blue eyes, the likelihood of the cat becoming deaf ranges from 60%. It is shocking to learn that a white-furred cat with only one blue eye drops to only a 3% chance of becoming deaf. A white-furred cat with brown, green, or gold eyes only has a 10% to 20% chance of becoming deaf by the year 2020. Scientists find that deafness in non-white cats with any color of eye color is very rare when they compare these statistics to other cats with different fur colors. Non-white cats account for over 2095% of the population, demonstrating the high prevalence of deafness in white-furred cats.


Why are most white cats deaf?

The pure white cat with luminous blue eyes is an attrac- tive image familiar to many. These animals are well-known to be commonly affected by a congenital hereditary deaf- ness that may affect one or both ears; the deafness is linked to the so-called W gene.

What breed of cat is prone to deafness?

Cats with a white coat and blue eyes have a higher risk of being born deaf. This is particularly true of breeds such as Persians, Scottish Folds, Ragdolls, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Oriental shorthair, Turkish angora, Maine Coone and Manx.

What are white cats prone to?

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 other forms of skin cancer.

Do white cats tend to be blind?

The myth that they’re more susceptible to blindness is likely connected to their eye color. White cats often have blue irises because of a lack of pigmentation in their eyes. Still, the myth that blue-eyed, white cats are prone to blindness is just that: a myth. This trait has nothing to do with whether they’re blind.