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8 fascinating facts about white cats (Photos)

© Vika Hova - Shutterstock

White cats are majestic in their immaculate coats. Many cat lovers rank white cats among the most beautiful cat breeds. So to celebrate white cats, we've put together a list of 10 things you need to know about our white-haired feline friends.

By Emilie Heyl

Published on the

Apart from being a symbol of purity and majesty, the white coat colour is all the more renowned for the fact that it is very often accompanied by blue or heterochromia eyes (two different coloured eyes), which are also very much appreciated by cat lovers.

Did you know that there are two types of cats that are described as white? Those that are completely white, and those that have a few spots of colour on their coat. And did you also know that a hair without melanin, (without colour pigments), is called white. Therefore, white isn’t actually a colouring, but rather an absence of colouring. Ah! Interesting!

Want to find out more interesting facts about white cats? Yes? Then check out these 8 fascinating facts about these gorgeous and pure felines. And who knows, you might be surprised?!

How rare is a white cat?

A cat which is completely white is quite rare. They represent 5 percent of the general cat population. The reason why they are rare is because an all white cat is a feline that lacks melanin, a pigment that we humans and animals have which is responsible for giving the colour of hair and skin.

What kind of breed is a white cat?

Although white cat breeds are very popular among cat lovers, there are not so many that are completely white. Indeed, many of them have individuals of other colours, but these are rarer and less sought after. Here is a list of cat breeds with a white coat:

What is the personality of a white cat?

Cats with a white coat are usually rather calm and gentle. They make ideal companions for those who like peace and quiet. In the presence of children, these little clouds on four legs are great and patient.

Looking to adopt a white cat and can't find the perfect name yet? Check out 25 of the best names for a white cat
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    Fact 1: They are very sensitive to the sun

    We all know the harmful effects of sun on our skin, and even if our cats are a slightly more protected than we are thanks to their coat, white cats and hairless cat breeds (Sphynx, Donskoy, Peterbald...) are more exposed to sunburn than other cats, and therefore to epidermoid carcinomas.

    The nose and ears are a frequent location of skin lesions linked to sun exposure for a white cat. Fortunately, there are now sunscreens specially designed to protect your furry companions.

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    Fact 2: The W (White) gene is responsible for their white coat

    For a cat to be white, it must have the W (White) gene: during pregnancy, the W gene blocks the migration of the cells responsible for pigmentation (the melanocytes) towards the hair. This is why the coat of our little companions does not get any colour and remains white.

  • White cat with blue eyes
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    Fact 3: White cats with blue eyes have a 50% chance of being deaf

    Another genetic mystery, we explain: for a kitten to be completely white, it must have received the W (for White) gene from one of its parents. It is this gene that blocks the pigmentation of the iris and destroys certain cells in the ear. As a result, the kitten's coat is white, its eyes remain blue and it becomes deaf within a week or so after birth. This is the case for about 50% of white cats with blue eyes.

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    Fact 4: Some white kittens are born with a spot on their head

    The colour of this spot corresponds to the colour the kitten should have had without the W-gene. Gradually this spot will disappear with age.

  • Khao Manee cat
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    Fact 5: The Khao Manee: one of the rarest cat breeds in the world

    The Khao Manee is distinguished by its completely white coat and its two-coloured eyes. In Thailand and England, its eyes are called "diamond eyes". Its body is slender and fine, like the oriental type of cat. Its personality is often said to be similar to that of the Siamese!

  • White cat with hetechromia eye colour
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    Fact 6: A white cat is not necessarily albino

    Albinism is a genetic condition that affects all species of animals and humans without distinction. Due to this genetic mutation, the albino cat is devoid of pigmentation: its coat is white, its skin is pink and its eyes are pale blue, light brown or even red sometimes. An albino cat is a cat like any other, it does not suffer from any particular disease but it is a little more fragile than other cats.

  • White cat lying on the floor
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    Fact 7: Superstition: the white cat is a good omen

    Unlike the black cat, which is said to bring bad luck according to certain archaic beliefs, white cats have long been considered to bring good luck.

  • White kitten wearing a bow tie
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    Fact 8: Famous white cats

    There are a few famous white cats. When it comes to cartoons, we immediately think of Marie and Duchess in the Aristochats. We can also mention Hello Kitty, the very kawaii white kitten in vogue in the 2000s.

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