White Cats

white cat
@SmitBruins / Twenty20

Cats can be a variety of different breeds. Some of these breeds are known to have a specific type of fur, such as the Devon Rex, others are known to have specific patterns on their fur, like the Bengal, and others still are known to come in a classic color, such as the Russian blue. The differing appearances of cats are part of what makes them so appealing and unique. Every cat lover seems to have their favorite breed or color of cat and white cats are a popular color choice for many.

White Cat Breeds

Many cat breeds produce white cats, but mixed breed or domestic cats can also have white fur. Long hair or short hair, if a white cat is what you’re looking for, then there’s a breed for you.

  • American Shorthair – This breed of cat is known for their adorable round face. It was originally known as the domestic shorthair, but the name was changed in the 1960s to avoid confusion with cats that have no pedigree. American Shorthair cats can come in over 80 different colors, one of which is white.
  • European Shorthair – Also similar to domestic cats, this European version of the American Shorthair can come in many colors, including pure white. They are the national cat of Finland and are very popular throughout Scandinavia.
  • Maine Coon – Recognized as large, long-haired cats that have adapted to be able to survive colder temperatures, Maine Coons are often seen with their brown tabby stripes. About 75 other color combinations are also permitted in the breed standard, one of which is pure white.
  • Oriental – This slender cat can come in almost every color imaginable, including white. They are very personable and love the attention of their owners. Their attitudes are distinct and they will let you know if they don’t appreciate you putting their treats away or hiding their toy.
  • Persian – Fluffy, frowning, smoosh-faced Persians are beautiful cats that come in many colors, including white. These cats require a lot of grooming to keep their glorious manes properly primped to Persian perfection.
  • Siberian Forest – Strong and agile, Siberian Forest cats possess three layers of fur and come in all colors genetically possible. Despite their thick fur, White Siberian forest cats are known to potentially be hypoallergenic. They are also the national cat of Russia and are known alternatively as Moscow Semi-Longhair cats.
  • Turkish Angora – These beautiful, classically white cats have long, sleek fur. They are known to be elegant and affectionate and originate from Turkey.
  • Devon Rex – Not your average cat, the Devon Rex is a slender cat with very little fur. It has large ears and is often said to look like an elf. The fur of a Devon Rex can come in white, along with a variety of other colors, and is very short and curled.
  • Siamese – Also referred to as “foreign white,” pure white Siamese cats lack the classic colored “points” that others of the same breed have. Siamese kittens are also all born white and develop their darker colors as they grow.

    Several other breeds of cats are also permitted by several cat registries to be completely white. More breeds still are allowed to have white spots or colorations on various parts of their body alongside other colors or patterns.

    Are White Cats Also Albino Cats?

    White cats are cats that simply have white fur, while albino cats are cats that have a genetic condition where they lack melanin called albinism. Therefore, albino cats are white cats, but not all white cats are albino cats. Albino cats will have light blue, pink, or pink-blue eyes, while white cats can have a variety of eye colors. True albinism is pretty rare, while white cats are seen much more commonly.

    Famous White Cats

    Cats seem to easily make a name for themselves either as real-life celebrities or animated characters. Some notable, famous, all-white cats include:

    • Duchess and Marie – Made popular by Walt Disney Productions, Duchess and one of her kittens, named Marie, are beautiful white cats in the animated movie The Aristocats. Marie is quite the singer and Duchess, despite being of high society as the movie name implies, falls in love with an alley cat.
    • Artemis – The talking companion of Sailor Venus from the popular animated series Sailor Moon, Artemis is a white cat with a crescent moon on his forehead.
    • Meowth and Persian - Pokemon made these white cats popular through card games, video games, movies, and more. Meowth evolves and turns into the character Persian.
    • Hello Kitty – Extremely popular, especially in Japan, Hello Kitty is a happy white cat that is known for making friends. She has stores, shows, and even an amusement park called Sanrio Puroland.
    • Sawyer – A character in the animated movie, Cat’s Don’t Dance, Sawyer is a secretary that falls in love with the main character.
    • Blofeld’s Persian – Never mentioned by name, the Persian cat that is often held by one of James Bond’s enemies, Blofeld, is a white cat.

      White Cat Folklore and Myths

      Cats come up in folklore fairly often and sometimes these tales specifically mention white felines.

      • Throughout folklore in the U.S., white cats are said to be lucky, while black cats are supposedly unlucky. This is an especially strong belief for white cats in Asian countries where they are very popular as toys, figurines, and animated characters. The white cats often seen in windows in Japan holding up one of their paws are referred to as “maneki neko,” which means “beckoning cats,” and represent “good things to come.”
      • Dreaming of a white cat may be an indication that difficult times are ahead of you.

      Downsides to Having a White Cat

      Just like anything that is light colored, white cats are prone to looking dirtier than other colored cats. Thankfully though, cats are fastidiously clean animals so unless your white cat has spent time rolling in the dirt, you won’t be able to tell a difference between it and your brown tabby.

      White cats are also often deaf if they have one or two blue eyes. While deafness is a handicap, it doesn’t deter a house cat from leading a long, happy life, despite the fact that it can’t hear you yelling at it to get off the counter top. Being a deaf cat just means it isn't well-suited to spend time outside unsupervised, since it is less likely to be aware of potential dangers that would otherwise be audible to hearing cats.