When was the last time you saw a completely white cat? If you’re struggling to answer, that’s normal. Just like blue eyes, all-white fur is rare in cats. The genetics behind the patterns and colors of a cat’s fur is very complicated — and for a cat to appear as pure white, its genetics need to effectively reject all of the potential color and pattern combinations printed in its DNA. Whiteness appears when a cat is missing the gene that provides pigmentation to its fur, and that only occurs in roughly five percent of the overall cat population.
Cats that have this genetic defect, blue eyes appear at rates of up to 40%. Due to this genetic aberration, a white cat breed with blue eyes is unfortunately far more likely to be deaf. Just because cats are pure white doesn’t mean that they’re healthy or at a higher risk for health conditions, and some breeds are more likely to produce all-white kittens than others. Here are the eight most common white cat breeds along with white cat names to get your imagination turning.
#8: Norwegian Forest Cat — Sleepy Giants Built For Cold
The first thing most people notice about the Norwegian forest cat — affectionately known as the wegie — is its size. The average wegie weighs 14 pounds and is nearly a foot in length, and they’re sometimes mistaken for Maine Coons as a result. But wegies are a very different breed that can be distinguished easily by their triangular faces and the fact that their fluffy coats are less naturally messy. Their personalities are also quite different — with Maine Coons being more affectionate and wegies being more independent. Even in instances where they don’t have a pure white coat, a majority of wegie patterns involve a prominent white base combined with a secondary color.
Suggested White Cat Name: Snowball
Some white cat names stick around because they’re a classic — and Snowball continues to be a popular choice. Given that wegies are adapted to survive harsh Norwegian winters, Snowball is an especially appropriate choice.
#7: Foreign White — Specifically Bred For Whiteness
When geneticist Patricia Turner discover an overexposed photo of a seemingly white Siamese, she was struck by an urge to breed an all-white cat that possessed the blue eyes of a Siamese along without the higher risk of deafness that’s apparent in many other blue-eyed cats. Created by breeding together Siamese and British shorthairs, the result looks remarkably like the former and has inherited the Siamese’s keen intelligence and loving personalities as well. Despite their fur appearing completely white, they actually bear the typical points and markings of the Siamese in their undercoat. Foreign whites are recognized as an independent breed in the United Kingdom but are treated as a variation of the Oriental breed in America.
Suggested White Cat Name: Opal
It can take six million years for the beautiful white gemstone known as the opal to develop — and while the foreign white didn’t take nearly so long, it was still a concentrated effort to create a singularly beautiful thing. Cherish that process with the name Opal.
#6: Russian White — Russian by Way of Australia
The Russian White earns its name not from where it was bred but instead by its lineage. Australian breeders began breeding a non-pedigree white Siberian cat with a Russian Blue. As such a recent breed and one with such a narrow lineage, the Russian White is still in the process of gaining recognition from many countries, though Russian Whites were made eligible for championship status in 2010. In terms of personality, this all-white cat breed is functionally identical to the Russian blue. Like their progenitors, these cats are sweet and shy to easily trust, but they become warm companions once they break out of their shells.
Suggested White Cat Name: Anastasia
The story of Russia’s lost princess is a tragic one, but there’s a sense of hope in the fact that her name means resurrection — a concept that’s also closely tied to the idea of purity and the color white. Take Russian inspiration for your Russian white, and give it a suitably royal name.
#5: Cornish Rex — Clever Enough to Be Trouble
White is one of the seven solid colors recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association Cornish Rex breed standards, though there’s also a large segment of the population that’s white with minimal markings in other colors. Regardless of the color of its fur, the coat of a Cornish Rex is undeniably unusual. Its short hair is wavy in a way no other breeds are and is believed to come from a spontaneous mutation rather than through intentional breeding. Cornish Rexes also have big personalities to match their unusually sharp and wild features. Their mischievous and playful natures make them exceptional pets for families with children and other pets, but they’re also prone to getting into trouble. Their sharp minds often lead them to explore, and they’re always happy to loudly vocalize how they’re feeling.
Suggested White Cat Name: Blizzard
Few cat breeds possess the wild chaotic energy of the Cornish Rex, so it’s only natural to name yours after a natural disaster. It’s a name that can transform your special feline into the cutest natural disaster you’ve ever seen.
#4: Himalayan — Affectionate Balls of Fluff
The Himalayan is a big and fluffy cat that’s easy to identify by its unique points and masking, except in the case of those that are genetically all white. Himalayans are just a type of Persian cat that has been bred with a Siamese and possesses that breed’s points and fluffy hair. Himalayans are an incredibly popular breed both as a house pet and a show cat. Their fluffy coats have a part to play in that popularity, but they’re also highly praised for their calm but affectionate personalities and the ease with which they adapt to new situations. All-white Himalayans can compete in shows as part of the solid white Persian division.
Suggested White Cat Breed: Marshmallow
Both marshmallows and Himalayans are big, round, and fluffy — and they’re often both white. There’s no more perfectly whimsical choice for these cuddly lumps of fur.
#3: American Curl — Flamboyant and Fantastic Felines
No matter what color an American Curl is, you’ll probably notice its ears before you ever comment on its coat. Their uniquely curled ears make them look like no other breed out there, but it’s a rare genetic mutation that was selected through human breeding rather than a mechanism that helps them in the wild. They’re also known for having fabulous tails that curl outward wildly and being one of the most expensive cat breeds. These cats have big personalities to match their loud aesthetics. Perpetually kittenish, the typical American Curl will wake up its caregiver in the morning eager to start the day and takes an active interest in the activities of human and animal family members. They require a lot of attention, but you can count on them to give back with affection and love.
Suggested White Cat Name: Ghost
If you count an American Curl as a member of your family, chances are that you’ll find yourself hearing a lot of bumps in the night and discovering that things strangely go missing. But these cats are some of the loudest — and friendliest — phantoms you’ll meet.
#2: Turkish Van — Bred by Mother Nature
Most cat breeds are the result of methodical and painstaking care on the part of human breeders, but the Turkish Van managed to develop all on its own. This cat hails from Turkey, and the van in its name is a reference to the unique matching patterns of coloration on its head and tail. While many breeders have worked diligently to breed all-white versions of various breeds, pure white Turkish vans occur naturally. These cats are actively bred to not be completely white and to instead retain their patterns. Powerfully built and highly intelligent, this breed is often compared to dogs and can be trained to play fetch and walk on leashes with relative ease. Further cementing their reputation as having dog-like personalities is their strong propensity for swimming.
Suggested White Cat Name: Duchess
The white female cat that starred in Disney’s animated film The Aristocats is Turkish angora, but her regal bearing and strong motherhood instincts make her a great model for white members of this other Turkish breed.
#1: Khao Manee —The Diamond Eye Cat
Thailand’s rare Khao Manee is the only cat in the world that exclusively sports a white coat — and it’s a particularly brilliant one at that. Their snow-white fur is made even more startling when it’s contrasted by the bright eyes of the breed. Eyes can be green, blue, or gold — and heterochromia is common in the species. That short fur also emphasizes the lean and powerful musculature of this breed. Once a favored pet of Thai royalty, this cat is believed to be a harbinger of good luck. Though exceedingly rare, the Khao Manee is a healthy and robust breed that’s also very friendly with strangers, human companions, and other pets.
Suggested White Cat Name: Coconut
Coconut is a staple in a great deal of Thai cooking — and the interior of these meaty fruits are the same color as a Khao Manee. It might not be the most serious name for this rare breed, but it’s unlikely your Khao Manee will take offense.
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