White cat breeds lack other coloration because of an absence of melanin pigmentation. There are a few genetic elements that can cause a cat to be completely white. Consistency varies from breed to breed: some of the white gene traits are recessive, meaning the pigmentations can skip a generation. Sometimes the traits are dominant, meaning you can count on it in each and every breeding cycle.
Many all-white cats will have blue or green eyes, or two different colored eyes. Deafness is common among white cats, a trait shared by white dogs as well. White cats should stay out of the sun as much as possible, as some white cats are known to develop skin cancer.
White cats are beloved for their distinct and delicate look, and aside from the few health considerations mentioned here, they’re just like other cats in terms of temperament and wellness.
Picture the cat you might expect to see in an advert for a fancy pet food served in a cut crystal goblet. This is the White Persian. It has a characteristically short smushy face, and long, fluffy hair. Over time, as breeders have sought more variation of color in the Persian, their face has become ever shorter and more pushed in. All Persians, including White Persians, require daily brushing to prevent mats in their long luxurious fur. In every other way, they’re well suited to being housecats, and have a pleasant and placid nature.
Most Siamese cats are wonderfully outgoing, and can even be affectionate with strangers. The White Siamese is no exception. These cats tend to be very vocal, and high energy. Some White Siamese look as though they’ve been dipped in ink, with their extremities -- including face, feet, and ears -- tinted brown or black in a fading ombre.
Quiet, obedient, and easy as pie to manage, Ragdoll cats are named for their tendency to go limp when you lift them. Ragdolls are not always white, and may also come in all the other cat-colors.
Descended from a non-pedigree domestic Siberian cat and a pedigree Russian Blue, Russian Whites are fairly rare. Despite the name, this breed originated in Australia.
Of Siamese descent, Balinese cats have that distinctive angular look of many cats from the Asian continent. Be warned: although their beauty can be tempting, these cats are known to be feisty and high energy. They require a lot in the way of exercise, interaction, and patience.
Himalayans look a bit like the house pet of an eccentric billionaire. Similar to the Persian, Himalayans have fluffy fur, smushed in faces, and long whiskers. Their facial expression is one of severe boredom or even contempt! Their faces bely their nature, however, as Himalayans are known to be really very affectionate. They also tend me to be still and mild, as opposed to rambunctious.
Think of a Greyhound dog in cat form, and you’re thinking of a creature that will approximate the the Cornish Rex. The Rex has only one downy layer of fur, as opposed to the standard 3 layers of fur in most cats. Their fur is slightly curly, and is the softest of all types of cats. Rexes may come in a variety of colors, including white, or white with patches of another color.
More on Cat Breeds
Where Cat Breeds Come From - Infographic
The History of Cats
Wild Cat Breeds for Adventurous Cat Parents