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Cat Eye Discharge and Its Treatment

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hglick has been rescuing and placing stray cats for over 20 years and has personally fostered more than 10 rescues .


When Should I Worry About Cat Eye Discharge?

Cat Eye Discharge is the name given by cat owners to the discoloration of the whites of the eyes. It is usually caused by an infection of the tear duct, or by a discharge of the eye itself. This discharge can be due to a loose tear duct, inflammation of the eyelid, or something else entirely.

Once the discharge is present, this usually means that the tear duct is damaged and needs to be treated. If serious upper respiratory symptoms like swelling of the upper eyelid, coughing, running nose and sneezing exist in addition to the discharge, you should be more concerned and see a vet immediately.

Is It Normal For a Cat To Have Eye Discharge?

Have you noticed your cat's eyes are a little watery lately? That is because, according to the Humane Society of the United States, up to 40 percent of domestic cats suffer from eye discharge. This medical condition is normal, even for cats with no visible eye infection. Some people mistakenly believe that this eye discharge is a sign of an eye infection, and cat owners who see discharge in their cats may worry that something is seriously wrong.

However, the causes of eye discharge can be quite varied, and only rarely something to worry about. We will look at some of the possible causes of cat eye discharge and its treatment.

Eye discharge is a Common uncomfortable condition in cats, which fortunately is usually not a sign of a more serious problem

6 Most Common Causes of Cat Eye Discharge in Cats

Eye discharges can be very disturbing for your feline friend, transforming them into entirely different cats blinking excessively, pawing, and squinting. You must know the common causes of cat eye discharges in order to keep your pet healthy and happy.

1. Conjunctivitis in Cats

Conjunctiva is a pink lining around the cat eye, called conjunctivitis or pink eye when it becomes inflamed. As the name indicates, the eyes seem to be inflamed, either one or both, they become sensitive to light, and the eye discharge, in this case, is thick, clear, and teary. Conjunctivitis in cats can become fatal when accompanied by fever and other symptoms like diarrhea and difficult breathing, as in infectious peritonitis.

2. Infections of the upper respiratory system of cats

Some viral infections of cats that affect the upper respiratory system include feline calicivirus and pneumonitis caused by herpesvirus. Some other possible causes of eye discharge are bacterial infections and protozoal respiratory infections. All the conditions above are frequently involved in the eye discharges of cats. Sometimes the symptoms become severe, and one of the symptoms can be a discharge of sticky and pus-like consistency.

3. Disorders involving cornea

The cornea is a structure of a cat's eye present on the eye surface. It can become ulcerated, injured, or inflamed, resulting in excessive production of tears, cloudiness, inflammation, and increased blinking.

4. Epiphora

Epiphora is a term that describes tearing, watery eyes. This happens when the tear ducts are blocked, which leads to excessive tear production, allergies, conjunctivitis due to viral infection, and many other possible reasons behind the excessive tear formation.

5. Keratoconjunctivitis (dry eye)

In keratoconjunctivitis, the eyes are dried up, causing lack of tear formation leading to inflammation of cornea, redness, and blindness if did not treat on time. Lack of water formation from the eyes results in discharge that is thick, yellow, and gooey.

6. Allergies

Cat allergies are much more common. Your cat may be allergic to something in the environment or any medicine. Your veterinarian may perform a complete examination of your pet and suggest to you the cause of the allergy. Most cats are allergic to:

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  • Dust
  • Anti-Flea products
  • Perfumes
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Medicine
  • Washing products

Other Possible Causes Of Feline Eye Discharge

Some other possible causes of eye discharges in felines are;

  • Problems of the third eyelid
  • Lodged eyes with something

As a rule of thumb, if you see a clear mucus discharge from the eyes, it indicates a viral infection. In that case, wait for two to three weeks to see if it clears up automatically or not.

If the discharge from your furry fellow's eyes is greenish or yellow, your vet can suspect a bacterial infection. The vet will prescribe you some antibiotic eye drops as a treatment or an ointment for bacterial infections.

Signs and symptoms

  • Squinting, winking, itching, Rubbing
  • Crusting
  • Herpes-like lesions
  • Lethargy
  • Third eyelid inflammation
  • Brown, yellow, green, or clear eye discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Cherry mucous membranes
  • Inappetence
  • Weight loss
  • Pus in tear ducts
  • Dry eyes
  • Fever
  • Eye eruption

How Do I Clear My Cats Eye Discharge At Home?

If your cat has excessive eye discharge, there are steps that you can take at home before you reach out to the vet.

- Distilled water rinse

At your home, grab a cotton ball bag, and follow these steps;

  • Using a fresh cotton ball, dip it into water.
  • Starting from the corner of the eyes outward, wipe all the discharge away. Make sure you do it gently.
  • Avoid using any washes or over-the-counter drops unless prescribed by the veterinarian.
  • Repeat the process daily two to three times at least.
  • Observe for any other signs of disease in your cat.

- Homemade cleaning solution

  • Take a cup of lukewarm and mix half a tablespoon of salt in it.
  • Take a piece of gauze and soak it in the solution. Squeeze 2-3 drops of solution in the cat's eye by using the gauze.
  • Remove the crusts and wipe the edges of the eyelids.
  • Wiping the edges will reduce the chance of tear canal blockage.

- Compression

  • Take compresses soaked in hot water.
  • Place them on your cat's eyes for few minutes 3-4 times a day.
  • This helps by reducing inflammation and heals tear canal blockage.
  • By applying this method, the cat will feel at ease.

- Honey

  • Take two tablespoons of honey and mix it in two tablespoons of sterile or distilled water.
  • Thoroughly mix the solution.
  • Add 2-3 drops twice or thrice in the infected eye.
  • Honey helps to lessen irritation and swelling.

- Oregon grapes

  • Take 2-3 drops of Oregon grapes tincture and add it in half an ounce of sterile or distilled water.
  • Mix them thoroughly.
  • Add 2-3 drops of this solution two times a day.

Treating A Cat Eye Infection at Home

The Outcome of Home Treatment and Other Options

Cat-eye discharge can be hazardous if left untreated. It can develop into a severe eye infection, and if the condition worsens can cause loss of an eye. Home remedies can prove very beneficial if there is a mild eye problem. The home treatments described above can help reduce swelling, inflammation, redness, pain, and dryness. Oregon grapes also have anti-bacterial properties.

Besides all their effects, home remedies have only limited use. If above mentioned all treatments fall to provide relief to the cat, then consult with a veterinarian for proper treatment. A veterinarian may suggest some OTC drugs for the treatment of eye discharge. Moreover, use the OTC medicines available in the home with the recommendation of the vet. Remember, the wrong treatment can cause more harm than good.

When Should I See a Vet For Cat Eye Discharge?


Cat-eye discharge can cause some underlying problems. It could be any viral or bacterial infection. It could be an allergen, third eyelid problem, or trauma. Assessing the condition of your cat or pet should be very important to you. Moreover, selecting the home treatment is also very much important. If the condition of your kitty's eyes does not improve, you should definitely consult with a vet for a true understanding of her condition and better treatment options.

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