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Albino Cat

There are five known alleles for albinism: blue-eyed albino ("ca"), pink-eyed albino ("c"), Burmese pattern ("cb"), Siamese pattern ("cs")and full colour (non-albino, "C"). Full colour is dominant to all of the other four alleles. Burmese pattern is incompletely dominant to Siamese pattern; cats that inherit one of each of those genes will be intermediate in pattern and is known as Tonkinese. A quirk of the Siamese form of albinism is that it is temperature dependent with warm areas of the body being paler than cooler areas. For this reason, it is often described as "colour restriction" rather than albinism.

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Albino Cat

  • Pink-eyed albino appears to be recessive to all of the other albino mutations. Albinism is not linked to deafness in cats ("dominant white" (W) is the gene linked to deafness). In 1927, judge Mrs Basnett reported on the Paris Cat Show held on 14th and 15th of January by the Cat Club de France and wrote "One lady brought for my inspection a Siamese Albino of about 4 months; I could not see a trace of any shading anywhere on the white coat, tail, legs, ears or mask; the eyes were a very beautiful blue, and their fiery centre seemed to be accentuated by the absence of all shading. In appearance it was a very typical Siamese with the long sleek body and whip tail, and a very beautiful wedge-shaped head and face." (this is the type we are breeding now.
  • More recently an Albino Siamese has been bred, though only time will tell if it will be perpetuated as a breed. It is a completely white Siamese-type cat with bluish-pink eyes (true "pink eyes" are uncommon due to the physical structure of a cats' eyes). The "European Albino" bred in Belgium is a European shorthair type white cat with ruby-red eyes which have pale translucent blue irises. The albino cats reported in Europe and the USA seem to be intermediate between pink-eyed albino and blue-eyed albino. A true pink-eyed albino was reported in 1931 and again in 1980s in the USA.
  • In the Ojos Azules cat, typified by blue eyes in combination with colours other than white or colourpoint, the homozygous form of the gene appears to cause dead albino kittens.

  • An albino kitten was born at Chelmsford Cats Protection League shelter in the 1990s and required handrearing. It was described as white furred and having very pale pink ears, nose leather and paw pads though I have no information on its long term survival. Albino kittens have turned up more recently in the Bengal breed, unsurprising since albinism is found in the Asian Leopard Cat (the wild parent of the Bengal).

Albino cats are very rare. They are different from many white cats. Albino cats are born lacking pigmentation of the skin, eyes or hair. The reason their eyes are pink is because without pigment, you can see blood vessels through the pupil of the eyes.

Albino Oriental Siamese

Albino cats are more commonly found in the Snow Bengal and the Oriental breed such as the Siamese. Even though Siamese kittens are born completely white, due to the environment and climate, their coat color starts to form. Generally Siamese cats that grow up in a warmer climate tend to have lighter coat than those that are raised in colder areas. A true albino cat will have pure white coat and pink eyes throughout his life time.

Albino Siamese

Albinism is a congenital condition which occurs due to mutation of the genes that control pigmentation in the body. Cats that are true albinos may be susceptible to sunlight and certain immune system related diseases. Also, some may be blind or deaf, thus albino cats should be strictly indoor cats. However, cats can still function normally even without the ability to hear or see. They are excellent at utilizing other senses to help them get around.

Despite all the potential disabilities, albino cats are considered exotic and often favored by many cat lovers. There are only 2% of albino cats in the entire feline population. Even big albino cats are extremely rare. They are mostly found in Bengal tigers. However, albinism is a genetic disease that can happen to many different species. It is no surprise that in such extreme rarity, you may still be able to spot an albino Serval, lion or even bobcat in a local zoo.