When cat owners notice gray whiskers in their fluffy friends, the first thought that comes to their mind is that their cat is ill or is getting older. But in fact, gray hair in cats is not only with because of these two reasons. Gray hair in cats does not mean advanced age at all.

8 reasons why your cat goes gray

It is important to understand the reasons behind this change in fur color to ensure that your cat remains healthy and happy. In this text, we will discuss main reasons why a cat’s fur turns gray, and what you can do to support your feline friend through this process.

Reason#1: Diseases

Cat owners can notice pieces of gray hair in their cat after diseases or surgery in the past. A cat can also go gray because the animal suffers from an allergy.

Reason#2: Diet

A diet that is low in amino acids, copper and macro elements can be the reason why your cat goes gray. These chemical elements are responsible for the production of melanin, and a lack of it can result in not only gray hair in cats, but it is also very important for the general condition of the fur and its colour.

Reason #3: Stress

Like humans, cats go gray because of strong emotions or grief. Relocation or separation from their owner can be a reason why a cat goes gray.

Reason #4: Kitty’s age

Over time, the colour of fur in cats changes.  However, it is difficult to identify the exact timing, as heredity also plays a role. Some cats go gray when they are only 3-5 years old, while others can be proud of the amazing colour of their fur until their last days. Statistically, data says that a cat owner should not worry if their cat goes gray at the age of 8-12 years old.

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Contrary to popular belief gray hair in cats does not mean a serious illness or changes in behaviour. Most likely, a hereditary predisposition is the reason why the colour of their fur has changed. However, if you have also noticed other changes e.g. in eating habits, behaviour, or your kitty looks unhealthy, then you should contact your vet to discuss your concerns.

Reason#5: Environmental factors

Exposure to certain chemicals or pollutants in the environment can also cause a cat’s fur to turn gray. Additionally, cats that live in areas with high levels of stress or that experience a lot of changes in their environment may also be more likely to go gray.

Reason #6: Genetics

Silvery hair in your kitty can be a side effect of heredity or age. For example, black cats go gray in their early youth. If a black cat is related to gray or smoky coloured cats, then an animal could experience one-, two- or even three colour changes. Black kittens get their colour only when they are almost one-year-old. Until then their colour might vary from brown to ashen.

Reason#7: Change in seasons or temperature

A cat can go gray because of the change in seasons or temperature. For example, the fur of a Burmese, Siamese or Himalayan cat darkens during cold seasons, while during summer  the fur of these breeds gets another shade as it fades in the sun. However, in this situation we cannot say that a cat goes gray, as the colour of their fur changes back over time. 

Reason#8: Change in the pattern of the fur

Some cat owners confuse gray hair in their cat with a change in the pattern of the fur. A certain set of genes is responsible for that, and can be activated in adult cats. Hairs that have turned white might look like gray ones, but in fact they are not, as pigment is found in them.

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Dr. Uri Burstyn (Helpful Vancouver Vet) about most common mistakes of cat owners and how to choose a good vet


Why does my black cat have white hairs

All cats age, and it’s common for their fur to turn white, just like with people and their hair. Some 4-legged friends may develop white hair due to health-related issues such as hormonal changes, genetics, or underlying medical conditions. If you are concerned about your cat’s health, it’s best to consult your vet.

Why is my 12 year old cat getting gray hair

In cats, gray hair is a normal part of their aging and is most commonly caused by a decrease in melanin production. As cats get older, their fur may start to turn gray or white, especially around their face and paws.
Some breeds such as Russian Blues are also more prone to graying fur. If you are concerned about your kitty’s health or their premature gray hair, it’s best to see your vet.

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