Find the answer to this and many other Ragdoll eye questions.
The Complete Guide to Ragdoll Eyes
Every feature of a Ragdoll cat is breathtaking. They have silky coats, fluffy tails, and super-friendly natures! One feature is perhaps more striking than any others – those engaging Ragdoll eyes!
Do Ragdolls always have blue eyes?
Though traditional pointed Ragdolls have blue eyes of varying intensity, other coat patterns in this breed can have non-blue eyes. Ragdoll kittens are always born with blue eyes and these will develop their final color, blue or otherwise, by about 3 months of age.
Ragdoll eye color vs coat pattern
Traditional pointed Ragdoll cats
The pointed pattern is the one where the extremities of the Ragdoll are darker than everywhere else. Traditional pointed Ragdolls always have blue eyes which vary from piercing pale blue to dark navy.
The mink Ragdoll comes from an early Ragdoll bloodline and has nothing to do with the coloring of the cat’s coat. Their coats are generally lusher and silkier than those of the traditional variety. On the Mink Ragdoll, you will see blue eyes and also varying shades of blue-green through to deep aqua.
The Sepia Ragdoll has a lush coat that darkens as it ages. Cats with this coat color have the most varying eye colors of all the Ragdoll cats. You will have to wait until a Sepia Ragdoll is 3 months old to see if its eyes will turn a shade of blue, green, aqua, gold, hazel or brown.
Parts of a Ragdoll cat’s eyes
Ragdolls have large oval eyes that often look almost round. In this article we mention various parts of a Ragdoll’s eyes so first, here’s a quick definition of each:
This is the colored part of the eye. Though cats have white surrounding their eyes just like us, in cat you barely see this as the Iris fills the whole of the eye opening.
Our pupils are circular whereas Ragdolls have pupils described as vertical slits. Each of a cat’s pupils is able to dilate until it virtually fills the whole visible eye space and each iris shrinks so you can barely see its color. This happens for several reasons: to let in more light, when a cat is excited or scared, or when a cat is angry.
Vertical slit pupils are common in nocturnal animals. They provide the sharpest way to gauge their distance from their prey
This is the transparent part of the eye that covers and protects the pupil and iris.
This is positioned behind the iris and the pupil, and expands and contracts to allow a Ragdoll to focus images on its retina.
This is at the back of the Ragdolls eye and is a bit like a cinema screen where images are formed.
Ragdoll cats and eye-color changes
Ragdoll kittens are born with blue eyes. By 3 months of age, they should have changed to their permanent adult eye color. If after this you notice other eye-color changes, be safe and ask a vet to take a look.
Ragdolls and heterochromia (odd-colored eyes)
Ragdolls can occasionally have odd eyes where one is light blue and the other eye is a darker blue (or any of the previously mentioned colors if the cat is Mink or Sepia.) This is not indicative of any problem and is officially known as heterochromia.
It’s basically a genetic anomaly that prevents melanin from being sent to one eye to give it color. It’s caused by the same gene that’s responsible for white fur – therefore it can only afflict white cats or those with some white fur in their coats.
Ragdoll Eye Shape
A Ragdoll’s eyes are large and oval-shaped. They are wide-set and are positioned at a slightly oblique angle leading upward towards the outer base of each ear. When a Ragdoll stares intently, its eyes become almost circular.
Ragdoll Eye Conditions
Symptoms of eye problems in Ragdolls include discharge, watery eyes, squinting, excessive blinking, squinting, or pawing at the eye.
Like all cats, Ragdolls have an extra eyelid at the inner corner of their eyes referred to as the third eyelid or nictitating membrane. This membrane may become more noticeable if a cat has an eye infection.
1. Eye infection
Bacteria and viruses can cause infections in a Ragdoll cat’s eyes and these can be contracted from other cats. Common examples of bacterial infection are Chlamydia and Mycoplasma. Feline herpesvirus and calicivirus are common viral infections.
- The whites of the eyes become red and inflamed
- A sticky clear or yellow discharge occurs
- The third eyelid protrudes and looks inflamed
Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics in the form of ointment or drops.
Viral eye infections usually have to just run their course but are sometimes treated in the same way as bacterial infections if a vet recommends this. Severe viral infections may require anti-viral medications.
Cats can suffer eye trauma injuries. These can occur for various reasons such as fighting or being struck in the eye by an object.
In worse cases, you may notice a laceration of the cornea. This or a scratch on the surface of the eye will cause repetitive blinking and watery eyes.
After assessing the damage, a vet may prescribe an antibiotic and a surgical collar to prevent the cat from pawing at its wounded eye.
Ragdolls can suffer from allergic reactions that irritate their eyes in the same way hayfever irritates us. Allergens that can affect cats include:
- Topical flea-control products
- Cleaning products
A cat with an allergy might have watery eyes, eye discharge, or redness in the cornea. It may also sneeze or wheeze.
A vet can determine the cause of any allergy and provide an antihistamine topical treatment.
4. Iris discoloration in Ragdoll cats
This should never be ignored. Discoloration of the iris is known as iris melanosis and is a darkening caused by a rapid increase of cells that produce melanin. Iris melanosis is benign, but it can become malignant and should be monitored closely by your vet.
Small dark spots appear on the iris and gradually spread.
Consult a vet as early as possible as this condition can lead to glaucoma, retinal detachment or malignant cancer that can spread to other organs.
Your vet will recommend the best course of treatment.
Feline glaucoma is a condition where the watery fluid just behind the lens, stops draining away as it should normally. This results in an accumulation of fluid putting pressure on the optic nerve.
Glaucoma causes a gradual cloudy appearance over the iris, stops pupils from reacting to light as they should, leads to squinting and an increase in the size of the eyes.
Glaucoma is untreatable but symptoms can be relieved with prescription eye drops.
6. Corneal Ulcer
A corneal ulcer, also known as Ulcerative Keratitis, occurs when the deeper layers of the cornea are lost.
- Eye trauma
- Foreign body
- Tear deficiency
- Chemical burn
Corneal ulcers cause red, watery eyes. A cat may squint more due to light sensitivity or keep its affected eye closed. There may be a discharge or a noticeable film over the eye. The cat might rub its eye with its paws.
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause and surgery is sometimes necessary. A vet will assess the cat’s eye before deciding on the best course of action. A surgical collar will be necessary to stop the cat from touching its eye.
Cataracts are caused by a thickening of the lens. Feline cataracts can develop after eye trauma, viral infection, or other infection. Poor nutrition as a kitten can also be responsible.
A cat with cataracts will develop a whitish-gray area in the center of its eye.
If cataracts are caught early enough, a vet may be able to establish and treat the underlying cause. Sometimes surgery is recommended.
Annual eye exams are the best way to monitor a cat’s eye health and hopefully prevent cataracts from developing.
8. Detached Retina
If a Ragdoll suffers a detached retina, its eyesight will be lost in that eye. One or both eyes can be affected. Causes include trauma, high blood pressure, glaucoma, hemorrhage, age-related degeneration, and tumors.
Though you may not know the cause, you may notice your cat is barely moving, is bumping into things, and falling or missing jumps. Its pupils will not be reacting to light.
Once a vet has determined the cause, detached retinas are usually repaired where possible with surgery.
Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the thin membrane on the inside of the eyelids and white part of the eye. It is caused by bacteria or a virus.
Conjunctivitis causes discomfort so you will probably spot your cat pawing at the affected eye, blinking and squinting.
A vet will prescribe eye drops to cure a bout of conjunctivitis. Keeping your Ragdoll’s vaccinations up-to-date can prevent many of the causes.
Ragdolls do not have eyelashes. Their third eyelid provides the protection that eyelashes would.
Ragdolls do not have eyebrows but they do have whisker-like hairs above their eyes. These are known as vibrissae or tactile hairs and allow cats to sense their surroundings in a similar way to their whiskers.
Ragdoll Eye Markings
Ragdoll can look like they are wearing black eyeliner which creates quite a stunning effect against pale blue eyes.
Ragdolls and Night Vision
Like all cats, Ragdolls can see quite well in the dark. This is because their retinas have many rod cells, which are good at collecting dim light.
The Language of Eyes
A Ragdoll cat’s eyes are extremely expressive. They can tell you quite a lot about their mood.
If a Ragdoll holds your gaze, it is being confrontational but if it slowly blinks at you this is a sign of trust and affection.
Big eyes define a few things: your cat is scared, playful, in a naughty mood or angry. It may also have spotted something to pray on.
Do Ragdolls Always Have Blue Eyes? – Conclusion
Some Ragdoll cats have blue eyes but not all do. Only one Ragdoll type definitely has blue eyes which can vary in shade. Other patterns can have various colors. You will only truly know the eye color a Ragdoll will have once it reaches 3 months of age.
Keep an eye on your Ragdoll cat’s eye health! If you spot any changes go to your vets. Eyes are indicative of good health. Another thing that worries cat owners is excessive drooling but this isn’t usually anything to worry about.