Reasons Why Cat Eyes Water
If you notice that one of your cat’s eyes is watering, this generally indicates that their eye is attempting to fight off some kind of threat to their health. This can range from a virus to a foreign object.
In many cases, if one or both of your cat’s eyes are watering, the cause will be minor and should clear up on its own without veterinary intervention. That being said, there are a number of more serious causes and symptoms associated with your cat’s eyes watering that could require more intensive care.
Diagnosis Of Ocular Discharge In Cats
Certain diagnostic tests are essential to determine the precise cause for the ocular discharge, including:
Additional diagnostic tests are required to diagnose some causes of ocular discharge. These may include:
What Causes Eye Discharge In Older Cats
Youve noticed a clear or colored discharge around your cats eyes. Eye discharge in cats is usually yellow or brown but can be black or green. You may even notice other symptoms, such as swelling and redness.
Elderly cats have eye discharge due to viral infections such as feline herpesvirus 1 and bacterial infections such as feline infectious anemia . Other common causes of leaky, watery eyes in cats include allergies, injuries, parasites, and fungal diseases.
A leaky discharge or eye boogers are common among older cats with weaker immune systems. Youll need to determine why your cats eyes are leaking discharge, the symptoms, and the treatments available.
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Conjunctivitis In Cats Faqs
Will conjunctivitis in cats go away by itself?
No. True conjunctivitis has an underlying cause that must be treated.
Can conjunctivitis in cats cause blindness?
Yes. If left untreated, conjunctivitis in cats can progress and lead to necrosis of the cornea and blindness.
Is conjunctivitis painful for cats?
Absolutely! This condition is quite painful, which is why you may notice your cat squinting.
How can I treat my cats conjunctivitis at home?
You cannotand should notattempt to treat this condition with anything other than what your veterinarian has prescribed.
How long does it take for conjunctivitis to clear up in cats?
Many simple cases of conjunctivitis resolve in seven to 14 days with veterinary-prescribed treatment, but chronic cases require prolonged treatment . Cat pink eye will not clear up on its own.
Is conjunctivitis in cats contagious?
The most common causes of conjunctivitis in cats are highly contagious to other cats. However, viruses such as FHV-1 and calicivirus are not contagious to humans and other animals.
Keep Your Cats Eyes Clean
While your cat is in recovery, you can help keep its eyes clean. You can dab a fresh cotton pad on its eyes every hour to remove the discharge.
Wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly afterward. Though most systemic diseases cannot spread between cats and humans, the parasite toxoplasmosis is zoonotic.
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How To Treat Eye Discharge In Cats
Most epiphora, or watery discharge, in the corners of your cats eyes can simply be wiped away with a soft cloth or tissue. If the drainage seems excessive or smells, seek veterinary care.
If the tear duct is blocked, your vet may sedate the cat and insert an instrument into the nasolacrimal duct to flush out the blockage so that it can drain more easily.
Clear ocular discharge with a brownish tint can be a permanent condition, but there are some ways to lessen the staining. There are over-the-counter wipes that help, but avoid any products that contain hydrogen peroxide since they can cause severe damage when used near the eyes.
What Is Epiphora In Cats
Epiphora is a term used to describe excessive tear production, a symptom that is associated with multiple conditions or diseases. It commonly manifests as dampness on your cats face, as well as cat tear stains that look like reddish-brown streaks. Epiphora is most often associated with insufficient tear drainage.
This type of cat eye discharge is usually nothing more than a cosmetic nuisance, but might be a sign of serious health problems.
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When Should I Worry About My Cats Eye Discharge
You should be worried about cat eye discharge if it is excessive, abnormal, or accompanied by other signs and symptoms. In such cases, the eye discharge is secondary and indicates a more severe underlying issue.
Worrisome eye discharge is abundant, discolored, and accompanied by sneezing, pawing at the eyes, loss of appetite, lethargy,fever, etc.
Diagnosis Of Eye Discharge In Cats
Since eye discharge is a symptom shared by a number of underlying diseases and conditions, diagnosis of your cats medical issue will require some investigation. Your veterinarian will attempt to rule out the most common causes of the condition until he or she finds an underlying cause that most accurately fits the entirety of your cats symptoms. This type of diagnosis will require cat owners to provide as much detail as possible regarding the cats condition at the initial veterinary visit. You should inform your veterinarian of when the symptoms first began, whether there has been any worsening or improvement, and whether there are additional symptoms besides eye discharge that may help your veterinarian narrow down the specific underlying cause.
During your initial visit, your vet will perform a thorough physical exam. Your vet may check your cats temperature, check them over for any sore or tender areas and also request a standard blood panel. All of these procedures will help your vet determine whether your cat is suffering from an underlying system-wide infection, or perhaps is having an allergic reaction or suffering from seasonal allergies.
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What Causes Runny Eyes In Cats
These conditions can cause cats eyes to produce a watery discharge:
- Viral diseases, such as feline herpesvirus 1 or feline calicivirus
- Systemic bacterial diseases, such as feline infectious anemia
- Systemic fungal diseases, such as feline blastomycosis
- A localized fungal or bacterial infection inside the eye
- Dust, dirt, or cat hair aggravating the eye
- Tear duct problems
- Parasites, such as toxoplasmosis
If your cat has conjunctivitis, epiphora, or keratitis, at least one of the above causes will be behind the issue.
Corneal Ulcers In Cats
Corneal ulcers are injuries to the clear surface of a cats eye, more commonly known as scratches on the cornea. Cats with ulcers will often squint, seem uncomfortable when the lighting is too bright, and have a red/inflamed eye, and they will sometimes have drainage from their eye.
Corneal ulcers can become severe quickly if they become infected, so have your cat examined quickly if you suspect they have a corneal ulcer.
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What Is Conjunctivitis In Cats
Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the eyes conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the mucous membrane that lines a cats upper and lower eyelids, their third eyelid, and the globe of their eye .
Conjunctivitis in cats often occurs acutely and is considered painful. It is one of the most common eye diseases affecting cats.
Eye Discharge Continues For Many Days
If you notice some discharge on your cats eyes for a few days, its probably no big deal.
However, if it looks like its not going away after three or four days, you may think about bringing your cat to the vet.
This is because many minor causes of discharge, such as an acute dry eye reaction or a minor scratch, heal themselves naturally in just a few days.
Longer healing times indicate something more impactful is wrong. This is why its important to spend time with your cat and check on them daily. That way, you can spot problems before they get difficult to treat.
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Iris Melanoma In Cats
Iris melanoma is a rare but severe condition in cats where the iris develops a growth. Often, it begins with pigment changes that may not be noticed, but over time, it gets larger and more aggressive.
These masses can potentially spread from the cats eye by travelling down the nerve that leads to the eye, causing issues in other areas of the body, such as the brain.
Take your cat to the vet immediately if you see any swelling or color changes in the iris.
What You Can Do
- If your cat allows it, you can try to wipe the eyes clean of the discharge with a moistened cotton ball using a fresh cotton ball for each eye.
- Avoid using over the counter eye drops on your cat unless a veterinarian specifically instructs you to do so.
- Observe your cat for other symptoms of illness.
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Cat Eye Watering & Squinting
Your cat’s eyes have a moist outer layer that protects them by washing away debris like dirt. If you notice that your cat’s eyes have begun to water more than usual recently, or if you notice them squinting, it may be time to take them to the vet to ensure they don’t develop a health issue. Here, the specialists at our Cordova hospital explain a couple of reasons why your cat’s eyes are watering.
Signs Of Eye Problems In Cats
Watery & Glassy Looking Eyes
Allergies are common in cats and can certainly lead your kitty’s eyes to become irritated and watery. Common allergies that could affect your cat’s eyes include pollen, mold and mildew dust, household cleaning products, perfumes, and some medications. Keeping your cat away from the allergen could help to clear up the issue. However, if you are unable to pinpoint what is causing your cat’s watery eyes a trip to the vet is in order. Your vet will be able to rule out more serious causes for your cat’s watery eyes and be able to recommend ways to help make your cat’s eyes feel more comfortable.
Blinking, Squinting & Pawing at Eyes
If your cat has watery eyes and is blinking excessively, squinting or pawing at their eyes it’s time for a trip to the vet. Your cat could have a foreign body trapped and irritating the eye, or a blocked nasolacrimal duct . Although nasolacrimal obstructions aren’t as common in cats as they are in dogs they can result in tears overflowing and running out of the eye.
Red & Inflamed Eyes
Yellow or Green Sticky Discharge
Pain & Swelling
Sneezing & Runny Nose
Cold symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing and a runny nose mean that your cat is likely suffering from a cat cold or feline upper respiratory infection. Many cat colds will clear up within a week without the need for veterinary care, however, if your cat’s symptoms become worse or fail to improve within a couple of days make an appointment to see your vet.
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Treatment Of Eye Discharge
- In minor cases of infection and inflammation, the treatment may be as simple as an antibiotic ointment put into the eye or an oral antibiotic. In the more serious cases, surgical intervention may be needed.
- If your cat’s eye is swollen and painful, the following may be used: warm compresses applied over the eye, pain medications, and/or an eye medication that dilates the pupil.
- It is important to remember that you must follow the treatment course prescribed by the veterinarian. Problems in the eye can rapidly decline, causing pain for the cat and eye damage that cannot be repaired.
When To Seek Veterinary Care
If the ocular discharge is cloudy, bloody or foul smelling, you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. Ocular problems can worsen within hours.
Also, seek veterinary care if your cat seems sensitive to light, if there is swelling of the conjunctiva or the eyeball itself, or the cornea appears abnormal.
***Some ocular diseases in cats can be transmissible to humans, so you should wash your hands after handling any cat with an ocular discharge and carefully avoid touching your face.***
Page published on Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Page updated on Thursday, August 25, 2022
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When To See A Vet
Your catâs eyes are as delicate as they are beautiful. Small problems can quickly turn into serious conditions. If your catâs eye discharge symptoms donât clear up within 24 hours or if your cat is squinting, talk to your veterinarian right away.
If you have medications left over from a previous eye problem, donât use them on your catâs eyes. Different eye issues call for different medications, and you can end up causing serious injury by using the wrong one.
What Is The Prognosis For Epiphora
Unless an underlying cause can be found and treated, most patients with epiphora will experience intermittent episodes throughout their life. If your cat’s facial anatomy prevents adequate drainage of the tear film, it is likely that some degree of epiphora will persist despite all treatment efforts. In many cases, no significant problems may arise, and the tear staining may be cosmetic. Your veterinarian will discuss the particulars of your cat’s condition and will determine the specific treatment options and prognosis for your cat.
|Contributors: Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM Ernest Ward, DVM|
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Goopy Eyes/discharge In Cats
A small amount of cat eye discharge in the corner closest to your cats nose is normal as long as it is a minimal amount. Its usually brown in color, and only slightly moist or dried.
Often, this is confused with dried blood. However, there may be a problem if there is a larger amount of discharge in your cats eyes and it is thick, creamy, or coming from areas other than the corner. This is particularly true if there are other signs of eye disease, such as squinting, inflammation, or pain.
Cat eye discharge should be examined within a day or two by a vetsooner if it comes with any additional symptoms.
Its Important To Keep Your Cats Eye Area Clean
Use a soft, wet cloth to gently wipe away any discharge. There are also a variety of veterinary products available to help clean around the eyes, Dr. Kimmitt says. Just be sure to find one that is labeled as safe to be used around the eyes, and avoid any product that contains alcohol.
Tell us: Have you ever dealt with cat eye boogers or watery cat eyes? What are your tips and tricks for handling cat eye discharge? Let us know!
This piece was originally published in 2017.
Thumbnail: Photography by Warapatr_s/Thinkstock.com.
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Keep Your Cats Eyes Clear
Tear production and some occasional discharge can occasionally be normal, but they can also be indicative of a health problem. If your cat has leaking or gunky eyes, monitor them closely for other symptoms and note any changes. You can wipe away your cats eye boogers using a damp washcloth or towelbut be sure to wash these in between uses and wash your hands! Consistently wiping away eye gunk can make it easier for your cat to see and stay comfortable.
If their eye discharge doesnt clear up within a day or two, you should probably contact your vet for an examination and treatment. Depending on the underlying problem, your vet may recommend an antibacterial or anti-fungal treatment, eye drops or saline washes or more invasive treatments like surgery to correct injuries or corneal issues.
It isnt always possible to prevent eye conditions from causing your cat grief, but you can do simple things like bolstering your cats immune system and preventing cat fights to help minimize their risk of infections and injuries, keeping their eyes healthy and clear!
Is It Normal For A Cat To Have Eye Discharge
Yes, cat eye discharge is normal when it is clear, minimal, and present at certain times of the day for example, after waking up. So, clear discharge and even a small amount of crusty discharge at the corner of the eye are normal.
When the cat blinks, tears roll through the tear ducts and coat the surface of the eye. This keeps them hydrated. Normal cat eye discharge has another purpose getting rid of foreign bodies. For example, if a dust particle of a grain of sand gets into the eye, the excessive tearing will flush the foreign body away.
Finally, cat eye discharge is more common in certain cat breeds. Namely, watery eyes are common in Persians.
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What Are The Signs Of Epiphora
The most common clinical signs associated with epiphora are dampness or wetness beneath the eyes, reddish-brown staining of the fur beneath the eyes, odor, skin irritation, and skin infection. Many owners report that their cat’s face is constantly damp, and they may even see tears rolling off their pet’s face.
How To Care For Your Cat When Hes Suffering From Eye Discharge
Pet owners are the compassionate type, so you probably want to get down to business and talk about how you can make your furry friend feel better!
The truth is, theres usually no quick and easy fix if your cat has something wrong with his eye. The most important step you can take is calling your vet to set up an appointment. If you think you know the cause of the discharge, for example, from allergens or irritants, take away the source of the allergens or irritants immediately. Here are some other steps you can take:
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