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Caring for an Albino Cat

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: May 15, 2018
Caring for an Albino Cat

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It is important to understand that an albino cat requires special care. You may choose to adopt a cat with albinism because you like their physical appearance, but due to the characteristics associated with this condition, the albino cat may experience problems such as deafness, blindness, cancer or eye redness.

Albino cats are rare, and they have several unusual peculiarities, just like many other albino animals. Albinism is a genetic alteration that not only marks the cat's fur and eye color, but also important characteristics in their organism. You will have to give your albino cat a care and attention that other cats would not require.

Stay with us at AnimalWised and learn all about caring for an albino cat.

You may also be interested in: Caring For a White Cat - Not Albino

Differences between albino cats and white cats

Not all white cats are albino, but all albino cats are white. Besides that, what are the differences between white cats and albinos?

Albino cats have an absolutely white coat. However, you can also recognize albinism in cats in their eyes, which are usually pale blue or show heterochromia, that is, each eye is a different color. An albino cat will have a pinkish dermis, noticeable under their coat and on their nose, eyelids, lips, ears and paw pads.

If a cat has a white coat but its epidermis is grayish or white and its nose it means that the cat is not albino, despite being white.

Caring for an Albino Cat - Differences between albino cats and white cats

Deafness in albino cats

Albino cats tend to suffer from partial or total deafness, which is caused by the alteration of the autosomal gene W resulting in an irreversible malformation of the inner ear. Many other albino animals have this same deficiency. In the past it was believed that albino animals suffered from mental disorders, which is not true. Being deaf causes difficulties in the cat's understanding, but it does not affect their intelligence.

Deafness can be detected when the cat is a kitten because they do not come to you when you call their name. You will have to learn to communicate effectively with them. If you think your cat is suffering from deafness, it is important to learn how to care for deaf cats to help them communicate and live without this sense. Ask your vet for advice.

Just like deaf people, it is possible for deaf albino cats to be able to communicate. This communication is done using gestures which the cat learns to distinguish with a little training. It also includes the gestures of your face.

Albino deaf cats are sensitive to vibrations, which is why they know when a door closes, or when you are approaching because of your footsteps. However, it is very dangerous for deaf cats to be out alone on the street, as there is a very high risk of being run over.

Caring for an Albino Cat - Deafness in albino cats

The epidermis of albino cats

The epidermis of albino cats is very sensitive to the action of sun rays. This means that you must protect them from direct sun exposure, especially between midday and 5 pm. It is vital that the vet prescribe a non-toxic cream or sunblock to apply on the cat's nose.

Their dermis can suffer from severe burns, and they are more likely to develop skin cancer than other cats.

Caring for an Albino Cat - The epidermis of albino cats

Blindness in albino cats

In some cases of albinism, the whites of the cat's eyes are pink or even red. These cats are even better at seeing at nighttime than others. However, albino cats cannot handle intense light well.

If you suspect your cat may be suffering from blindness, it is very important to go to the vet as soon as possible and they will give you the most appropriate advice for your case.

Caring for an Albino Cat - Blindness in albino cats

As you can see, caring for an albino cat requires more time and attention. Have you ever had an albino cat as a pet? If so, please share your experience in the comments section.

If you want to read similar articles to Caring for an Albino Cat, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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Breanna
I had a stray baby kitten come up to my house one night. We took her in and decided to keep her. She is pure white and has a pale blue eye and a greenish colored eye. She also has a pink nose and pink paws... I noticed that everytime I tried calling her at first she would just stare at me or act like she wasn't paying me any attention. Then one day I noticed that while she was sleeping, she didn't even hear me walk up through the door...which was very unusual because my other cats would jump up immediately. I've noticed that in order to get her to come to me, I have to stomp my foot on the ground to get her attention then motion for her to come. I am so glad that i ran across this website so i know what is going on. I suspected she was deaf but after reading this I know for sure. Thank you! :)
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Breanna,

We are very glad we could be of use to you. We also recommend your take the kitten to the veterinarian for a proper examination and to start their vaccination and deworming schedules. Good luck and than you for being such a kind ally to cats.
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Jenna
Just wondering - I have a 3 week old kitten born white - but he's getting color on his ears, tail & paws (like a Siamese) but his pupils are pink (& light seems to bother him - he squints in the light). Is it possible he is albino - or does he need to be completely white?
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Lisa D Borsch
I am sure my rescued foster Yuki is a partial albino. He's got a pink tint under his all white undercoat, his ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and paw pads. He squints his eyes so I have no clue what color they are. How do I help him with the light sensitivity? How do I tell if he's going blind? How do I keep his coat clean?
Rating:
rue
Hi, I've two black cats and they have baby now, but baby is pure white, his paws and mouth pink, and his eyes are close now so I don't know the eye color but I guess he is albino but I am still not sure, how can I understand he is or he is not? Thank you
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Rue,

It's maybe a little too early to tell at this stage if their eyes are not open. However, once they are able to, you should take them to the vet for a checkup as there are associated health problems which can affect albino cats which need to be addressed.
Susan
I'm pretty sure my cat is albino but apparently most have pink eyes while mine has blue and yellow. He has white fur and pink skin and I'm unsure of his breed because although his mother is white the father is unknown. He has a white sister who lives with my mum and a tabby brother who stayed with the breeder.
He is deaf in both ears while his sister is not. He also has a heart murmur which luckily isn't so bad that he needs medication, as he has tummy issues which make him vomit almost every meal no matter the quantity. I was wondering if this could be linked to albinism or if it's just one of those things that happen. He's been like it since birth so we didn't make a big deal of it. He has been checked a few times regarding his tummy problems and it is determined he has softer than average organs. So yeah, could it be linked to albinism or maybe not?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Susan,

Albinism in cats is linked to many issues such as deafness, blindness as well as immune system disorders. However, some white cats will also be predisposed to these problems. True albinism is very rare in cats (less than 2%) and it results in a lack of pigmentation in fur, skin and eyes. If your cat has color in their eyes, they are not true albino.
Nick
Our maincoon had her first batch of kittens, 2 black brindle, 2 orange striped, and one pure white pink skinned kitten, has grey eyes but they are also red ND his pupils are red. We lost one orange one at birth and a black one on day 2.
They're only 2 weeks old so we'll see.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Nick, what an amazing litter. Cat genetics are incredible in the unexpected color (or lack of color in regards to the white one) they can produce in their offspring. Thank you for sharing and feel free to send more when they're a little older.
Lb
Is it normal for albino cats shed more
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Lb
There is no proven fact that albino cats shed more than other cats, however, it is known that these cats are known to suffer more from skin diseases than other cats which might explain why an albino cat might shed more. If the shedding is excessive and/or abnormal we suggest taking your cat to the vet and having a check up, just in case. Regards, AnimalWised.
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Crystal
Are albino cat usually smaller than most cats? Plus, his breath smells super bad and I brush his teeth 2's daily. No mouth infection. Any advice
Alice Tapiol Breeze (AnimalWised editor)
Hi! Bad breath can be due to what they eat. Does your cat commonly have wet food? This can be the cause. If their breath is really bad, it could be die to a gastrointestinal issue. About their teeth, even if you clean them they can accumulate bacteria if they are unwell already. How old is your cat? Size has nothing to do with the cat being albino.
Best wishes!
Wendy
(In the link I posted previously, take a look at the top row of three albino cats. The one in the middle looks a lot like my Cat. Further down the page a bit, the next top white cat named Lacy has a pink nose and ears, has blue eyes and is a dominant white. She IS deaf. Like I said, it’s kind of a techie article, but it helped me so much. This is my NOT deaf albino Lily. She actually has a white nose, as many albino cats do.)
Lesa Miller
We just took in a white kitten. He has blue eyes, very pink skin especially around the eyes. He is completely deaf and we feel he is albino. He is the most lovable cat we have ever had. Thank you for the information. I want to make sure we give him the proper care.
Alice Tapiol Breeze (AnimalWised editor)
Hi there Lesa,

Yes, most white cats are deaf and we're glad to hear you're taking proper care of it.
You may find further information that may be useful to you on this article:
https://www.animalwised.com/how-to-tell-if-a-cat-is-deaf-1307.html

Hope this helps!
Wendy
I don’t want to be devil’s advocate, but actually albino cats are not usually deaf. They are called recessive whites and I read a good article that breaks down the genes (not sure if I can post links here.) http://messybeast.com/whitecat.htm
From the article: “Albinism is *not* linked to deafness in cats ("dominant white" (W) is the gene linked to deafness). Albino cats are not dominant white. I have an albino. She is not deaf and her eyes glow pink/red in the dark.
Amy McCready (AnimalWised editor)
Thanks Wendy. You are indeed correct and we apologise for this incorrect information. This is a very old article and we are working on updating it at the moment. Please bear with us :)
Wendy
I felt like such a jerk posting the link. lol. I just have done a lot of research on it because I couldn’t understand why Lily wasn’t deaf. (People always asked me.) And I was pretty sure she didn’t have any oriental breed mix because of her face shape. The blue-pink glow made me suspicious. Albinos account for about 2% of cats. I love my girl. She has survived lymphoma (with chemo) and has been healthy for almost four years after her diagnosis. She is now 16. I kept her inside because of her delicate skin, but I still worry about the time she spent in sunny windows. (Always with eyes closed because the light hurt her eyes.) She has a small brown spot on her nose I am keeping an eye on.

Thanks for keeping an open mind and letting me babble about my Cat. :)

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