The Difference Between an Albino Cat and a White Cat
Just like human beings, there are also albino cats. Some people have confusion when it comes to distinguishing an albino cat from a white cat. The difference between albino cats and white cats can be found in their skin and eyes. For albino cats, the skin color looks pink because of the reflection of the blood flow. In a real sense, the skin color isn’t pink. Since they lack melanin, there is a reflection of light in the eyes, making the color light blue or reddish-pink. On the other hand, white cats have pink skin and different colors for the eyes.
Another difference between an albino cat and a white cat is that white cats are susceptible to hearing problems compared to albino cats. Studies show that most white cats are deaf. Albino cats are always stigmatized for being deaf by those that don’t know the difference between the two cats.
What Are The Health Risks Associated With an Albino Cat?
Albino cats need a lot of care since there are health risks they face. Here are some of the health facts you need to consider about albino cats:
- Albino cats are sensitive to light: Since they lack melanin, they are at risk for sun damage. They are even at risk of contracting skin cancer. Ensure they do not spend a lot of time in direct sun.
- Sunlight damages their eyes. They are likely to get blindness because of Ultra Violet rays from the sun since their eyes have no melanin.
- They are prone to other health conditions: Albino kittens are born with a lack of pigmentation. This makes them susceptible to some developing health issues that may affect them more than they affect white cats.
- Albino cats can be gawky. The lack of melanin makes the albino cats bump into things occasionally.
- They may suffer from immune system issues. The immune system in cats and human beings is kept healthy by melanin. So, the lack of melanin in albino cats makes their immune system weak hence prone to diseases.
Which Genetics Cause a Cat to Become an Albino?
Albino cats have an alteration in their genes that makes them different from other cats. Albinism comes from a gene called the TYR. The TYR gene determines the presence of tyrosinase, which is an enzyme that is needed by the body to produce melanin.
Melanin is a pigment that determines the color of a cat’s skin, eyes, and fur. An albino cat is born without a TYR gene or born with a damaged TYR. It is this genetic abnormality and the lack of melanin that makes a cat an albino one.
Interesting Facts About Albino Cats
Here are fascinating facts about albino cats that you need to know:
Albino cats are rare
Albino cats are very few compared to other cats. This is because the albino gene that prevents the making of pigment is rare as well. The albino gene is recessive, meaning that a kitten will only inherit it from its parents to be albino.
A cat can either have complete albinism or incomplete albinism. Incomplete albinism is more complex and also more common. The most exciting part about cats with incomplete albinism is that they are sensitive to temperature!
Two genes are responsible for the pigment in cat hair to vary with the skin’s surface color; the Burmese color concentration gene and the Siamese color concentration gene. These genes are also types of albinism since they also control the production of tyrosinase. As the skin’s surface temperature increases, there is inhibition of the tyrosinase production; hence, no pigment is formed. When the temperature cools in places like the nose, tail, paws, and ears, the pigment is made.
Albino cat health
The health of an albino cat will vary depending on the breed to which it belongs. For instance, an albino Persian cat is at risk of contracting kidney disease and brachycephalic syndrome. On the other hand, an albino Siamese cat is more prone to cardiac and respiratory illnesses compared to other cats.
Albino cat temperament
An albino cat’s temperament depends on its breed. Its socialization and upbringing also contribute to its personality. There are some physical consequences of being albino. For example, albino cats tend to be photogenic. The absence of melanin in their eyes makes them uncomfortable in bright light.
Some albino cats have reduced hearing
Such cats will be frightened when they see someone appear whom they didn’t hear approaching.
An actual albino cat is very rare. If you have one, make sure they get the special care they deserve since they are very delicate.