Image Credits: Pixabay
Look at your cat’s eyes and see its color. The majority of adult cats have eyes whose color ranges from yellow, gold, and green on one side and brown, orange, and copper on the other. There could be variations of shades in between. Cats, surprisingly, have blue eyes too. Almost all kittens get born with somewhat blue eyes, and a few cats retain the apparent hue all through their lives. The question is, when do the eyes of kittens change color, and why does it happen?
The blue color you see in a kitten’s eye is due to refracted light and not pigmentation. It is actually an absence of color mixed with light refraction. The production of eye colors in cats is a degree of transparency of the outer eye along with available pigment in the iris of the cat.
When it comes to kittens, the eyes are not even open when they are born. The eyes are sealed shut and have no function. The organ is not fully developed during birth. The only functional senses are smell and touch. A kitten sleeps and eats with its mother’s assistance. These activities provide the raw materials and fuel to grow the body. This includes preparing the kitten’s eyes for sight.
Different kittens develop at different paces, but the eyes of a kitten get sufficiently mature to be open from their second week from birth. This could be any time from seven days to 14 days post birth. Once there is a separation of the eyelids, it may take about three days to open completely. This does not mean the eyes are functional. Maturing of the eye includes the development of the capability to process light and also interpret the sensory input. From the first month to about five weeks of his birth, a kitten perceives the world as a blur. A majority of kittens acquire full visual and ocular functionality from five weeks of age to about seven weeks.
The kitten’s eyes during the development period will not be completely mature. It will be only from about three months to six months of age. The eyes of the kitten seem blue for the first few weeks after they open their eyes. This is the result of light getting refracted off the cornea, the transparent outer covering of the eyeball and the four layers’ relative thickness. With the maturation of color of the cat-eye, the perception of that color gets affected. The latter is also influenced by this refracted blue-green or blue outer covering. The color starts to change from the seventh week of its birth. The melanocytes of the iris begin to generate melanin, the pigment which gives the eye of any cat its adult coloration.