Eye discharge coupled with unusual blinking and rubbing may be a sign of eye infection in cats. Although eye infections are relatively less common in cats than dogs, they can still occur when cats get exposed to infectious agents (bacteria and viruses). Some cases of eye infections are harmless and will go away on their own, but others may be serious, especially those involving a traumatic injury. Learn a few of the more common causes along with the top cat eye infection home remedies that you can try at home. Most importantly, you will learn when to see a vet over cat eye infections.
Cat Eye Infection Causes and Symptoms
Cat eyes are naturally bright and clear but infections and other irritations can bring about several changes. If you have been googling “what causes cat eye infection”, worried that your cat could be in serious danger, here are some of the possible causes of the problem that you need to know. Note that these causes are not mutually exclusive and can thus occur simultaneously:
- Infectious agents: Viruses and bacteria are the most common causes of eye infection in cats, but a fungus such as Cryptococcus can as well be involved. Infections occur when these agents enter the eye. Pets in high-stress crowded environments e.g. shelters are particularly vulnerable. Younger cats have less developed immune system which also makes them at higher risk. Bacterial infections are often secondary to viral infections e.g. Feline herpesvirus type 1.
- Eye injuries: scratches to the cornea are a common cause of cat eye infection. This creates an entry point for bacteria and viruses.
- Foreign objects: When present in the eye, foreign objects such as grass seeds, splints, etc. can cause consistent rubbing that breaks open the surface of the eye, often culminating in infections.
- An underlying medical condition: In older cats, eye infection are often secondary to another medical problem. According to Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM, a veterinary consultant based in San Diego, an infection may be indicative of an autoimmune disease, cancer, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), or systemic viral infections the likes of feline leukemia.
Signs and symptoms of cat eye infection may be seen in one or both eyes. They include:
- Squinting: Your cat’s eyelids will usually get stuck together, with the third eyelid partially covering the eyeball.
- Yellow or greenish eye discharge
- Pawing or rubbing the eyes against objects such as carpet, furniture etc.
- Unusual blinking
- Redness: This is typically caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva or conjunctivitis.
- Crusting around the eyes
Cat Eye Infection Home Remedies
Outdoor cats are as much susceptible to eye infections as dogs. If follows that keeping your cat indoors is your best bet in as far as prevention of cat eye infections is concerned. According to Dr. Karen Becker, a veterinarian and animal advocate based in Cedar Falls, Iowa, you can reduce the risk of cat eye infection by as much as 80 percent by keeping your feline friend indoors.
If it is too late however and the problem has already occurred, you can make use of the following cat eye infection home remedies:
A saline solution is one of the best home remedies for cat eye infection. It is especially helpful for cases of eye infections caused by foreign objects such as grass seeds, more so if the infection is spotted early enough. Washing the affected eye with a saline solution not only helps to clean eye discharge, but is often enough to flush out the object lodged in the eye and fasten the healing process.
There are many over-the-counter mild saline solutions in the eye care section of most drugstores. On the downside, however, these come in different concentrations. The product you get may not be the best for your cat. To work around this, prepare and use your own saline solution at home as follows:
- Boil a cup of water.
- Add ¼ teaspoon of salt to the water and stir to dissolve it in.
- Allow the water to attain lukewarm temperature, then use it to rinse your cat’s eyes.
- Discard the remaining solution and prepare a new one every time you repeat this home treatment for cat eye infection. 2-3 times per day will do.
Wiping eye discharge with a warm soft wash cloth also help to open the eyes and encourage healing of cat eye infections. Simply soak a wash cloth in warm water and then squeeze out the excess water before wiping your cats’ eyes gently. Repeat at intervals of 1-2 hours.
To avoid re-infection, discard the washcloth after use and use a new one for the next session. A sterile gauze can also serve the purpose, so can a baby wipe.
Apple Cider Vinegar
According to thecatproblems.com, applying apple cider vinegar to a cat’s neck (yes, I mean neck, not eye) helps to offer relief for eye infections. This has got to be one of the most surprising if not weird cat eye infection home remedies that I have come across, but some people will swear it works.
I can imagine the startled look on your face right now, but go ahead and try this natural remedy on your cat. There is no telling it works or not unless you try it.
Herbal and Homeopathic Treatments for Cat Eye Infection
Giving certain herbal and/or homeopathic supplements can as well help to relieve the symptoms of eye infection in cats including inflammation (swelling), redness, and itching. Examples of these natural treatments include aconite, euphrasia, sanicula, chamomile, calendula, and eyebright.
There are as well numerous natural preparations formulated to treat cat eye infections naturally. The Cat Health Guide website recommends looking into Pet Alive Eye-Heal.
Ask for these natural treatment options at your local pet stores and health food stores.
More Tips for Natural Cat Eye Infection Treatment
In addition to the above cat eye infection home remedies, you will also want to consider the following tips:
- Give your cat a balanced diet: A balanced diet that is rich in vitamins A and C will help your cat by boosting her immune system and promoting eye health. Adding vegetables such as spinach, kale, and carrots is a good starting point.
- Keep the infected cat away from other pets, including dogs.
Cat Eye Infection Pictures
These images shows cats with eye infections:
When to See a Vet for Cat Eye Infections
These cat eye infection home remedies can help your feline companion get relief from the symptoms. It is, however, important to get the attention of your veterinarian if cat eye infection doesn’t show any improvement after 24 hours of treatment with these home remedies.
Eye infections and related problems can cause serious consequences ranging from major ocular damage (whose treatment necessitates surgery) to blindness. Your veterinarian will rule out each of the possible underlying causes and treat your cat accordingly.
- Cat-World.com.au: Cat Eye Infection – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
- Mercola: When Does an Eye ‘Problem’ Become a Crisis?
- WebMD: Eye Discharge in Cats
- PetEducation.com: Eye Infections (Conjunctivitis)
- PetFinder.com: Cat Eye Infections: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment
- The Cat Health Guide: Signs and Treatment of Cat Eye Infection