A cat has one of the most prominent eyes in all of the animals around the world. They are bright and clear accompanied by some of the clearest looking pupils. However, you might notice that your cat is pawing or rubbing her face more often than normal. That should be the first sign that there is something wrong with your cat. But what could it be?

There are numerous reasons as to why your cat may be producing discharge on their eyes. This ranges from anything such as a simple cold to more severe illness such as corneal disorders. Everything you need to know on how to deal with this phenomenon could help your cat in the long run.

Possible Causes

As was previously mentioned, your cat should generally have clear and bright eyes. That is their common disposition. However, various eye problems could cause your cat to scratch consistently and have some vision impairment ranging from over blinking to total blindness.

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It is important to seek out the counsel of your veterinarian should you find your cat discharging from their eyes. Remember those eye problems could easily escalate into something worse when left untreated. Some of the common causes of your cat’s eye discharge are the following:

  • Conjunctivitis – Pink Eye
    • This is a common sickness that most human children can experience due to them scratching near their eyes to satiate an itch without first cleaning their hands. However, cats can easily acquire a disease similar to that of conjunctivitis.
    • The disease will cause inflammation on your cat’s light pink lining near their eye. Thus, your cat will suffer from a swollen red eye that is greatly sensitive to light and produce a great thick or teary eye discharge.
    • Do be aware that conjunctivitis that is accompanied by fever, diarrhea, and difficulty to breathe can have a significantly high risk of developing into a potentially fatal feline infectious peritonitis.
  • Feline Upper Respiratory Infections
    • Respiratory infections and diseases can commonly cause significant amounts of side effects including eye discharge.
    • Viruses such as feline calicivirus, pneumonitis/rhinotracheitis (herpesvirus), protozoa, and bacteria are all common respiratory issues that can cause your cat to discharge fluid from their eyes.
    • Most symptoms are mild but could easily progress to serious levels wherein your cat’s discharge will become sticky and pus-like.
  • Corneal Disease
    • The dome-shaped surface that covers the entire eye of the cat is called the corneas. These corneas can easily be irritated, inflamed, injured, or ulcerated.
    • That would result in your cat’s eyes being cloudy coupled with excessive blinking, inflammation, and increased tearing.
  • Epiphora (Watery & Teary Eyes)
    • Discharge is commonly found on those cats that have either a blocked tear duct or overproduction of tears.
    • Other forms of epiphora are from viral conjunctivitis and abnormal tearing can affect your cat’s eye discharge
  • Uveitis
    • This form of disease happens when the internal structure of your cat is suffering from inflammation.
    • It is commonly caused by an underlying medical condition such as cancer, immune problems, or infections inside the eye.
    • Commonly causes severe pain for the cat.
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (Dry Eye)
    • Eye discharge happens due to the cat’s eyes lacking the ability to produce tears due to an inflamed and red cornea.
    • Has a dangerously high chance of mutating towards blindness
    • A yellow goo-like discharge will take place of the tears due to the lack of ability to produce actual tears.
  • Foreign substances/ Outside sources
    • Some of the common effects that could cause eye discharge that is not a medical condition per se would be allergies, third eyelid issues, or a foreign object being lodged in the eye of the cat.

Options for Treatments

There is an abundance of plausible reasons as to what is causing your cat’s eyes to produce discharge. Unfortunately, that would mean that you should be prepared for different kinds of treatments to cure those underlying causes. It would be best to consult your veterinarian for possible options you can choose from when thinking of a solution to cure your cat’s eye discharge.

The most common forms of treatment for eye discharge would depend on the illness or cause of the disease. Some of the common treatment methods for those common causes would be:

  • Conjunctivitis
    • The common cause of this disease flaring up is often linked to an allergic reaction to certain substances including pollen, dust, or weeds.
    • A steroid ointment or antibiotic ointment may be used to cure the illness.
  • Feline Upper Respiratory Infection
    • Your veterinarian must first determine the severity of the disease in question.
    • Medications can range from eye medications, antibiotics, decongestants, and/or fluids.
  • Corneal Disease
    • Antibiotic eye drops or eye ointments could be prescribed as long as it heals the eyes.
    • More severe treatments could include removing the loose corneal tissue, cauterization, or full-blown surgery.
  • Epiphora (Watery & Teary Eyes)
    • Your cat will most likely be subjected to some general anesthesia for your veterinarian to use plain or saline solution to flush out your cat’s blocked tear duct.
    • An antibiotic eye ointment drop may be used if there is an infection in the eye.
  • Uveitis
    • This specific form of sickness is difficult to diagnose completely as the cause of the discharge can be from other factors.
    • Common treatments and relief options would be eye ointment or eye drops to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Feline Calicivirus
    • It is vital that you contact a veterinarian as soon as possible should you think that your pet is suffering from this medical condition.
    • Your pet can easily attract secondary bacterial infections such as pneumonia that can easily cause more severe problems for your cat.
    • Some of the common treatments would be to subject your cat to symptom control, antibiotics for the secondary bacterial infections, and supportive care to relieve your cat.
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (Dry Eye)
    • This is a common disease that has multiple layers in which it can be treated properly.
    • The disease can range from immune-mediated disease to distemper.
    • Eye drops or ointments alongside immune-suppressing drugs, antibiotics, or artificial tears may be supplied.

Signs When You Should Contact Your Veterinarian

A cat’s eye is one of the most beautiful things you can ever see in your entire life. However, they are known to be extremely delicate and fragile. This emphasizes the fact that you should always keep a close eye on your cat should they behave differently and start to scratch their eyes more commonly than before.

Small feline medical issues typically go away on their own but have the capacity to quickly grow into something worse when left alone for long periods of time. One important factor is to check whether your cat’s condition improves after 24 hours, if not, then you should consider bringing your cat to a veterinarian for a check-up.

Never use medications that you have from a previous cat or human-related eye infection on your cat’s new eye problem as they could cause more issues than before. Different medical conditions would require different solutions. Do not ever attempt to try self-medicating without the approval of a professional veterinarian.


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