Soft, snowy, and oh-so-cuddly, pure white cats are some of nature's prettiest (and most adorable) works of feline art. Unlike gray or black felines, which can easily hide in the shadows, it's hard to miss a cat sporting a white coat that practically glows. Note that white cats are not a specific breed, but rather, many different cat breeds can have white coats that vary in length. And of course, white cats can have a variety of different eye colors, although many have magnificent blue eyes, or even eyes of two different colors.
While every feline has its own unique beauty, mystique, and interesting history and habits, white cats have many facts specific to their snowy coats. We've gathered some pictures of beautiful white cats, along with fun facts to grow your admiration for these felines.
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Many Different Breeds Can Have All-White Coats
Like calico and tortoiseshell cats, all-white cats aren't linked to a specific breed. Rather, many different breeds—both long-hair and short-hair—can present a pure white coat, including Persians, Turkish Angoras, American Short-Hairs, Siamese, and Devon Rex.
So, what causes their all-white coats? If a cat has the dominant W gene, known as the masking gene, it will "hide" every other coat color and pattern gene in the cat's genetic makeup, resulting in a snowy white coat.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
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White Cats Can Have Very Unique Eye Colors
Did you know a cat's eye color is linked to the melanin production in the body? Accordingly, white or light-colored cats often have light eyes. All-white cats can have a variety of striking eye colors, like blue, green, yellow, orange, or a combination of colors.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
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Many (But Not All) White Cats Are Deaf
The same genetic factors that give white cats their snowy coats and unique eye colors can also cause total or partial deafness in many kitties. This is especially likely in white cats with blue eyes, as the genetics related to white fur are also linked to deafness. In white cats with one blue eye and one eye of another color, it's not uncommon for the ear on the "blue side" to lack hearing while the ear on the other side hears normally.
If your cat is partially or completely deaf, there are several precautions you must take to keep them safe. Be careful not to startle them and use visual cues rather than verbal signs to communicate. It's also best to keep a partially deaf or fully deaf cat indoors at all times; it may have trouble avoiding hazards or protecting itself from potential predators.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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White Cats Are Not Albino
Having white fur and having albinism are not the same thing. There's a key difference: White cats simply have a gene coded for white fur, while albinism is a genetic condition that results in a complete lack of color pigmentation in the skin, fur, and eyes.
The easiest way to determine whether or not a cat is an albino is by looking at their eyes. White cats, as previously mentioned, can have a wide range of eye colors. Albino cats, however, often have eyes that look very pale blue, pink, or red. (Their eyes aren't really pink or red; the reflection of light against the blood vessels in their eyes just gives them the appearance.)Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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White Cats Can Get Sunburned, Too
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.
It's important to take the right steps to protect your cat's light skin from sun damage:
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- If your kitty loves to sunbathe, try to limit time next to bright windows between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is strongest.
- Consider investing in heavier drapes or shades that will help block or limit UV light coming in through your windows.
- Do you have an outdoor cat or live in an area where the sun is extra strong? Talk to your veterinarian about water-proof sunscreen designed to protect cats' sensitive skin.
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White Cats Are Considered Lucky
Unlike allegedly unlucky black cats, all-white cats symbolize good luck and good fortune in cultures across the globe.
The well-known Japanese Beckoning Cat (also known as Maneki Neko) is most often depicted as a white cat. Originating some time around 1870, these figurines are placed near the entrances of homes and businesses to bring in good luck.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
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Many White Cats Have Lived in the White House
Appropriate, right? Several Presidents of the United States had white cats scurrying around the White House during their terms.
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- Rutherford B. Hayes, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter, the 19th, 38th, and 39th Presidents, respectively, all had Siamese cats (although many Siamese cats aren't completely white, the majority of their coats are white).
- William McKinley, the 25th President, had two Turkish Angoras with equally exotic names: Enrique DeLome and Valeriano Weyler.
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White Persian Cats Are the Most Popular
There's no doubt about it: White cats are gorgeous! But the most striking—and in-demand—white cat, perhaps, is the Persian. Their long, silky coats and big, expressive eyes look super elegant. It's no wonder they've graced kitty-themed calendars and pet food labels for as long as we can remember!
If you have a white Persian, however, you know regular grooming is key. Otherwise, you'll have a dingy, tangled mess, rather than a model kitty on your hands!Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Pure White Cats are the Least Common
There are many colors of felines, all beautiful. And of course, cats can have many coat patterns, including tabby, tuxedo, calico, and tortoiseshell. However, among solid-color cats, pure white is one of the least common coat color.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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White Cats are Perceived as Shy
While every cat has a unique personality, people often like to generalize about the various cat colors and their personality types. Common generalities include tortoiseshell cats having lots of "attitude," orange cats being outgoing and friendly, and black cats being exceptionally loving. Along these lines, white cats are often said to be a little shyer and calmer than other colors.