Are White Kittens Often Deaf or Blind?

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

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: March 26, 2010, 3 a.m. EST

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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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Are White Kittens Often Deaf or Blind?

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Reader Comments

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

11/1/2013 8:12:28 AM

Beth -- Surgery for hearing impairment is unusual. Deaf cats can live vibrant, long, healthy lives and we know many happy owners of these cats. Please consider leaving your cat as-is and learning how to live with these fascinating types of cats.

Beth    Berea, KY

10/31/2013 6:20:53 PM

I have 5 month kitten,one blue eye one green.It is a male,cannot hear in either ear.He is white also,can see just fine;he doesnt understand no,he is a hand full but we love him very much,is there a surgery that can help him?Winston is his name,his is our baby,

myself    atlanta, GA

4/15/2012 8:24:48 PM

My white cat has blue eyes and she hears/sees very well.

cathy    caseyville, IL

1/6/2012 1:40:09 PM

I have a white kitten with blue eyes and he cant hear a thing!

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