A rare “Diamond-eyed cat” has gone viral on TikTok, seen with one eye that reflects the light, looking gold or blue. The light orange tabby appeared climbing on a tree in Thailand, and you can see, one of his eyes capturing the light and sparkling while the other is normal. Comments suggest this is an extremely rare lucky cat, but what’s really happening?
The viral TikTok even captured the attention of Yahoo news, which reported the cat was “a rare Thai Khao Manee cat,” which prompted some people to pick lottery numbers.
The rare Khao Manee (pronounced “cow man-ee“) cats from Thailand are known for two gorgeous jewel-like eyes of different colors and pure white fur. The eyes can be blue, green, gold, or ‘odd’ (two eyes of different colors), according to the Spruce Pets. However, they generally have normal vision.
As you can see, the cat from the viral TikToks does have one smaller slightly irregular eye. This smaller metallic eye could be due to something affecting the kitten’s health, not genetics. Yahoo suggested glaucoma, while others suggested a cataract, but we can’t be sure from the video.
While the TikTok cat is a light ginger tabby, Khao Manee cats are described as all white.
“The cat’s name translates to ‘white gem.’ However, despite the beauty of the cat’s eye, recent research has shown the distinct eye is a result of glaucoma,” Yahoo reported.
We’re not sure where the connection between glaucoma and Khao Manee cats was made. So, what’s happening here?
Images and media via Tik Tok/user3026088746242
While we can’t be certain why this pretty cat’s eye is sparkling like a diamond, we can take an educated guess.
One possibility is the kitten has Hyphaema or Hyphema, an injury to the eye causing blood to collect in the back of the eye. There are many causes, including parasites, and can be related to glaucoma.
The eye can look irregular and metallic in cats with a Hyphema, while cataracts tend to appear very cloudy. This cat’s eyes don’t look cloudy, but we suspect the smaller metallic left eye has some impaired vision.
Below, you can see a young cat with cataracts and how cloudy the eyes appear.
Video by Animal Planet:
Uveitis and Diamond-Eyed Cats
Another possibility is Uveitis, inflammation in the eye that can be related to viral infection, FeLV, lens damage, and associated with low pressure in the eye. (the opposite of glaucoma)
On the other hand, as you can see in the video, this “diamond-eyed” cat doesn’t appear to be in pain or scratching at the eye, which would tend to happen with such eye inflammation.
Since it’s a young cat, the possibility of an eye injury or infection is probably higher than developing glaucoma or a cataract, which tends to cause cloudy and bulging eyes in older cats. Cataracts are rare in cats, even those with diabetes, but could develop if the kitten experiences poor nutrition in early life.
Khao Manee Cats and Heterochromia Iridis
Khao Manee cats tend to have two gorgeous differently-colored eyes due to hereditary Heterochromia Iridis. The harmless anomaly is more common in white or bi-colored cats and doesn’t tend to affect vision aside from sensitivity to light. Other cat breeds that can be affected are Turkish Van, Japanese Bobtail, and Turkish Angora.
While cats with hereditary Heterochromia are desirable to many people, the condition can also be acquired by illness too. Sometimes, a cat can acquire the condition due to Uveitis (inflammation). As noted, there are many causes for Uveitis, such as trauma, diabetes, feline herpes, infections, cancer, or high blood pressure.
Sidenote: Did you know David Bowie’s famously different colored eyes were due to an eye injury from a childhood school fight, not Heterochromia?
In cats, there is potential for Uveitis to be contagious if caused by an infectious agent ( FeLV, FIV, FIP). Also, if caused by toxoplasmosis (parasites), this could concern the cat’s humans.
If left untreated, Uveitis tends to get painful and cause blindness. To conclude, we can’t be sure what’s happening to this pretty cat, but hopefully, a veterinarian has examined him by now. They can determine the cause and then prescribe the proper treatment if necessary. We’re glad the diamond eyed cat appears to be happy.
One last note: Khao Manee cats tend to be very expensive through breeders. We’re talking many thousands of dollars, and we always strongly discourage getting cats from a breeder. Many wonderful cats are looking for homes in shelters, including cats with Heterochromia. Sadly, millions will perish every year. As always, “Adopt, don’t shop.”