How Rare Is A Black Cat With Green Eyes?


Black cats are felines with fur that is entirely black. The black fur is the result of a genetic variant called melanism, which causes a higher amount of black pigment (eumelanin) in the fur [1]. Green eyes in cats are caused by a reduced amount of pigment in the iris, allowing more light to reflect and produce a green color. The combination of having both black fur and green eyes is quite rare and unique in cats, which makes black cats with green eyes highly sought after. There is an allure and mystique around black cats with green eyes that captures peoples’ interest.

Genetics Behind Black Coats

The gene responsible for producing black fur in cats is known as the B or black gene. This gene codes for the production of eumelanin, the pigment that results in black fur. The B gene is dominant over other coat color genes like b and b’, meaning that a cat only needs one copy of the B gene to exhibit black fur (PetMD, 2023).

The black coat gene is very common among domestic cats. Researchers estimate that about 65% of cats carry at least one copy of the B gene. Since the gene is dominant, this means the majority of cats expressing the black coat phenotype have the BB or Bb genotype (Catster, 2023). Having two copies of the gene (BB) results in a pure black coat while one copy (Bb) can produce black fur or fur with some white spotting.

In summary, the prevalence of the dominant black coat gene explains why solid black fur is one of the most common coat colors seen in domestic cats.

Genetics Behind Green Eyes

Green eye color in cats is caused by a rare gene mutation that reduces the amount of pigment in the iris. Unlike blue eyes, which are caused by a lack of melanin, green eyes have some melanin but less than full pigmentation. The specific gene responsible is called the green-eyed white gene (W).

For a cat to have green eyes, it must inherit two copies of the recessive W gene, one from each parent. Because it is recessive, even cats carrying a single copy of W will not have green eyes unless bred with another carrier. As a result, the green-eyed gene is quite rare in the overall cat population. One study estimated green-eyed cats comprise only about 5% of the total domestic cat population 1.

Certain purebred cat breeds are more likely to have the green-eyed gene, including Turkish Angora, Japanese Bobtail, and Siamese cats. But even within these breeds, the frequency is low compared to other eye colors. The rarest and most prized eye color for breeds like Turkish Angoras is considered to be true vivid emerald green.

Black Cat Population

While black is a very common coat color for domestic cats, the exact global population of black cats is unknown. However, some regional statistics provide insight. In the United States, approximately 24-46% of shelter cats have predominantly black coats. This suggests black is likely one of the most common colors for domestic cats in the U.S. population. One large study of over 23,000 cats at 415 shelters across the U.S. found 35% had black coats. Other research indicates black cats make up about 12% of the owned cat population in the U.S.

Globally, a study of over 10,000 cats across Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Russia found 33% had black coats. This again points to black being a very common feline coat color worldwide. However, misconceptions about black cats may lead to lower adoption rates in some regions. More data is needed to determine the total global population of black domestic cats.

Green Eyed Cat Population

Green eyes are quite rare in the global feline population. According to, only about 2% of cats worldwide have green eyes. This trait is even less common in certain regions. For example, in the United States, green eyes only occur in approximately 9% of domestic cats.

Some cat breeds are more likely to have green eyes than others. The Turkish Angora and Russian Blue breeds regularly produce kittens with vivid green eyes. However, even in breeds where the trait is more common, green-eyed cats make up a relatively small percentage of the total population. Purebred cats with the green eye gene also frequently produce kittens with blue, yellow, or odd-eyed (one blue, one green) eyes depending on the other genes they inherit.

Overall, green is one of the rarest feline eye colors globally. But in certain pedigreed breeds and localized populations, green-eyed cats occur more frequently while still representing a minority compared to other eye colors.

Likelihood of Both Together

The likelihood of a cat having both a solid black coat and green eyes comes down to genetics. The gene for black coat color is dominant, so a cat only needs one copy of the black gene to exhibit a black coat. However, the gene for green eyes is recessive, so a cat needs two copies of the recessive allele to have green eyes.

Estimates suggest around 35% of the domestic cat population has a black coat. However, only about 10% of black cats have green eyes. Taking the recessive genetics into account, the likelihood of a random cat having both traits is around 3.5% (35% black x 10% green eyes).

So while it’s relatively common to find black cats, finding one with vivid green eyes is more rare and special. The combination of these two recessive genetic traits together makes black cats with green eyes quite unique.

Notable Examples

While black cats with green eyes are rare, there are a few famous felines that have this distinctive combination of traits. One of the most well-known is Binx from the 1993 film Hocus Pocus. Binx is a black cat who is turned into an immortal familiar after trying to save his sister from three witches. With his striking black coat and emerald green eyes, Binx makes for a memorable on-screen feline.

Another famous black cat with green peepers is Salem from the 1960s TV series Bewitched. Salem is a sassy centuries-old witch who was turned into a cat as punishment for his misuse of magic. With pitch black fur and vivid green eyes, he stands out when on screen with the show’s main characters. Salem’s sarcastic personality and witty dialogue quickly made him a fan favorite.

Outside of the entertainment world, social media has introduced us to many real-life black cats with green eyes. Two that have gained online fame are Loki, the “Vampurr” cat, and Zero Chan. With their dark fur, bright eyes, and photogenic good looks, these felines have charmed legions of fans across platforms like Instagram.

While not exactly commonplace, black cats with green eyes do occasionally turn up in pop culture and real life. Their striking appearance and air of mystery helps explain why these kitties tend to capture the public’s imagination whenever they come on the scene.

Cultural Significance

Black cats with green eyes have long been associated with myths, legends, and supernatural meaning in many cultures around the world. In Western superstition, black cats have often been viewed as omens of bad luck, witchcraft, or even demonic spirits. However, in other cultures, black cats with green eyes are seen as positive mystical figures that offer spiritual protection.

In Celtic mythology, it was believed that black cats with green eyes were reincarnated beings with magical abilities. They were thought to be the helpers of witches and warlocks that could commune with the spirit world. Spotting a black cat with green eyes was considered a sign of coming fortune and blessings.

Some Native American tribes considered black cats with green eyes to represent the supernatural forces of nature. They were seen as spirit animals that provided intuitive guidance. Dreaming of these cats or having one cross your path was thought to be an omen to connect more deeply with your inner wisdom.

In pop culture today, black cats with green eyes are often depicted as mysterious, magical, and associated with the occult. They frequently appear in connection with witches, wizards, and Halloween motifs. However, these cultural representations have helped renew more positive mystical associations in modern times.

Pop Culture References

Black cats with green eyes have become iconic figures in popular culture due to their mysterious and magical associations. Here are some notable examples of these rare felines in movies, TV, books, and more:

In the Harry Potter series, Professor Minerva McGonagall is able to transform into a black cat with distinctive square markings around its eyes. These markings resemble the glasses worn by McGonagall in her human form.

In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Black Cat,” the narrator is haunted by a black cat with large, wild green eyes. The ominous cat contributes to the brooding, gothic atmosphere of the psychological horror story.

In the 1963 comedy movie The Incredible Mr. Limpet, the character Henry Limpet turns into an animated black fish with green eyes after falling into the ocean. His green eyes connect his identity between his human and fish forms.

The black cat Binx with glowing green eyes in the 1990s Halloween classic Hocus Pocus helps the main characters undo the Sanderson sisters’ black magic curses.

Salem, the magical talking black cat from the TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch, has piercing yellow eyes. This unnatural eye color hints at his secret supernatural powers.


In summary, the genetics behind black coats and green eyes in cats are quite complex, but both are relatively uncommon traits on their own. When combined together in one cat, the probability becomes exceedingly low. While estimates vary, some experts suggest the likelihood of a black cat having green eyes falls around 0.05% to 0.08%. That makes these mesmerizing kitties a genuinely rare find.

Throughout history and popular culture, black cats with green eyes have maintained an aura of mystique and fascination. Their distinctive appearance captures our imagination. When one comes across our path, it’s hard not to feel like we’ve encountered something special.

So if you’re fortunate enough to meet a black cat with vivid green eyes, appreciate how extraordinary it is. Their genetic uniqueness is part of what makes these cats so captivating.

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