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.
Unique and Cool Cat Breeds
Cat lovers might posit that every cat is special and unique. While we wouldn’t deign to disagree, we might throw this into the conversation: some traits are weirder and less common than others. From the hairless to the controversial, if giving a home to a regular old feline isn’t good enough for you, there’s no shortage of options of cool cat breeds. Especially if you’re willing to shell out the bucks for an unusual breed.
Despite common perceptions, hairless cats are not completely hypoallergenic. The cat allergies that some humans suffer from are not, generally, from a cat’s fur. They’re from a protein on the animal’s skin. Hairless cats still posses these proteins, and those with cat allergies may still be allergic to hairless cats.
Ukrainian Levkoy Cats
Slender and lithe, the Ukrainian Levkoy has little or no fur. Their short ears curl inward toward their face. And they have big yellow eyes. They originated in the Ukraine, and are not a naturally occurring breed; they were selectively bred to look as they do, and they’re not recognized as a pedigreed breed outside of Russia. Their prickly exteriors do not represent the breed’s personality, as they’re said to be loving and sweet.
The Sphynx’s most distinctive feature is, clearly, their lack of a coat. The Sphynx’s body may be solid color or patched. Their ears are on the larger side, and appear especially large due to the lack of fur. There are a couple of variations of the Sphynx breed, including the Don and Peterbald, both of which are similar to the original, genetically speaking. Sphynxes share the same hairless gene as the Cornish Rex.
While not technically “hairless,” the Cornish Rex has only one of the three types of fur most standard cats posses. The Rex has only the downy undercoat. It’s especially soft and short, can be a little curly, and requires no extra grooming.
The fold in their title refers to ears that curl inward toward the face. Some breeders have managed to get ears that curl in more than once. Like many pedigreed cat traits, the curl in the ear was originally a deformity to which someone took a liking, and selectively bred to keep around.
As with many animals who are bred to have features that don’t make evolutionary sense, breeders of the Scottish Fold are not favored by some animal rights groups. Scottish Folds can develop cartilage and bone deformities; as well as, predictably, ear infections.
These cats have short bodies and short ears. Most notably, Munchkin cats have very short legs. They’re essentially dwarf cats. While there’s nothing controversial about being born with the gene that causes dwarfism, some do take exception to deliberately causing cats to be born this way. Munchkin cats can develop debilitating and painful joint and spine problems.
ONLY MARGINALLY WEIRD
Short fur isn’t the only short thing about these cats. They also have short, smushed-in faces, which gives them an adorable ornery look.
These spotted cats have an exotic look that might make you wonder: did an Ocelot just enter that litter box?
Bred to be curly of fur, LaPerms have a fun tousled look. They look as though they’ve just come in from a long day at the beach, followed by a ride home in the convertible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How rare is an all-white cat?
An all-white cat, also known as a "white cat," is not an extremely rare occurrence in the feline world, but it is less common than cats with other coat colors or patterns. The frequency of white cats depends on the breed, with some breeds being more likely to produce white cats than others. For example, white cats are relatively common in breeds such as the Persian, Siamese, and Turkish Angora. In some breeds, such as the Turkish Van, white cats are more common and can make up a significant percentage of the breed population. However, in other breeds, such as the Maine Coon or the Bengal, white cats are much less common.
What is the rarest cat color?
Albino cats are extremely rare, and some may consider them to be the rarest cat color. Albino cats have a genetic mutation that prevents them from producing melanin, which gives color to the skin, fur, and eyes. As a result, albino cats have a completely white coat, pink skin, and blue or pink eyes. However, it's important to note that not all white cats are albino. Some white cats have a different genetic mutation that causes them to have white fur, but their skin and eyes are not pink or blue. These cats are not considered to be true albinos. While albino cats are rare, they can also face health issues related to their lack of melanin production. For example, their pink skin is more prone to sunburn, and their lack of pigmentation can affect their vision and hearing. It's important to provide albino cats with extra care and protection to ensure their well-being. Another one of the rarest cat colors is probably the solid chocolate color, which is most commonly found in the Havana Brown breed. Another rare color is the cinnamon color, which is seen in breeds like the Somali and Abyssinian. Other rare cat colors and patterns include the silver color, which is seen in breeds like the Persian and British Shorthair, and the pointed pattern, which is seen in breeds like the Siamese and Himalayan.
What breed is a pure white cat with yellow eyes?
Khao Manee cats are one of the breeds that can have pure white coats and yellow eyes. This breed originates from Thailand and is known for its striking appearance and friendly, affectionate personality. The Khao Manee is a rare breed, and purebred cats can be quite expensive. In addition to their pure white coat and yellow eyes, some Khao Manee cats may have odd eyes, which means each eye is a different color. However, not all Khao Manee cats have this feature.
Why are white cats so special?
In various cultures and beliefs, white cats are often associated with positive symbolism and are believed to bring good luck, prosperity, and happiness. In ancient Egypt, white cats were considered sacred and were often depicted in art and mythology. They were associated with the goddess Bastet and were believed to bring good fortune and protection. In Japan, white cats are called "maneki-neko" and are believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Statues of white cats with raised paws are often placed in shops and restaurants to attract customers and bring in money. In some Native American cultures, white cats are believed to have spiritual powers and are associated with healing and protection. In some Christian traditions, white cats are associated with purity and innocence and are sometimes used as symbols of the Virgin Mary. Overall, while the symbolism associated with white cats may vary depending on the culture or belief system, they are generally seen as positive and special creatures.
Is My cat albino or white?
Determining whether your cat is albino or white can be difficult, but there are a few physical characteristics that can help you distinguish between the two. Albino cats lack melanin, which gives color to the skin and fur. Without melanin, their skin appears pink because of the reflection of the blood flow underneath the skin. This is because without melanin, the skin lacks pigment to absorb and reflect light, and the underlying blood vessels are more visible. Their lack of melanin also makes them more sensitive to light and more prone to sunburn. White cats, on the other hand, may have a genetic mutation that causes them to have white fur, but their skin and eyes are not pink or blue. Some white cats may have blue, green, or yellow eyes. If you're unsure whether your cat is albino or white, a veterinarian or a geneticist may be able to help you determine your cat's color and genetic makeup through DNA testing.
More on Cat Breeds
Where Cat Breeds Come From - Infographic
The History of Cats
Wild Cat Breeds for Adventurous Cat Parents