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Are White Kittens Often Deaf or Blind?

CatChannel veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, discusses genetic abnormalities in white cats.

CatChannel veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, discusses genetic abnormalities in white cats.

Q: I just adopted three white kittens and someone told me white kittens are either deaf or blind.  Have you any information on this?

A: White kittens are not blind. If they have blue eyes, however, there is an increased chance that they could be deaf. This syndrome of deafness in blue-eyed white cats is sometimes called Waardenburg syndrome. It occurs because the gene for deafness is located fairly close to the gene for white hair color and blue eyes. When one gene is passed on to the offspring, occasionally some nearby genes are passed on as well.

Even more interesting: Cats with one blue eye and one green eye have an increased likeliness of being deaf in the ear that is on the same side as the blue eye!

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Article Categories:
Cats · Health and Care