Clear, bright, and sharp — cat lovers would agree that there are only a few things as mesmerizing as a cat’s eyes. A cat eye infection, however, not only takes the shine away from those gorgeous peepers but may also pose serious harm to your feline friend’s health.
If you notice your cat’s eye/s looking sore, if she constantly paws at her eyes or rubs her face against the rug, or she always has a gooey eye discharge, she may have an eye infection, or cat conjunctivitis. Fortunately, you can easily manage this with some home remedies.
Causes and Symptoms of Cat Eye Infection
Bright and clear eyes are a sign of good eye health. A feline’s eyes play a key role in its quick reflexes and remarkable hunting skills. So even just a mild eye problem can significantly impact your cat’s quality of life and health.
Your cat’s eyes have a thin membrane — the conjunctiva — lining the inside of the eyelids. When the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, the condition is called conjunctivitis or pink eye. Conjunctivitis may be caused by a foreign irritant that gets in the eye, such as dirt; oftentimes, it is caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal eye infection, in which case the condition becomes contagious.
Excessive tearing or watering of one or both eyes; a cloudy, yellow, or greenish discharge; constant blinking and squinting; constant pawing of her eyes or rubbing of her face against the couch, rug, or her bed; sore or inflamed eye membranes; photophobia or sensitivity to light; and a swollen conjunctival tissue that may be partially or fully covering the eye are common symptoms of cat conjunctivitis.
The feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), or feline herpes virus, is the most common cause of cat conjunctivitis. Chlamydophila is another common culprit; it is a bacterial eye infection that also affects the upper respiratory tract, so symptoms may also include a runny nose, sniffles, and sneezes.
Other causes of eye irritation in cats include allergies; corneal disorders, when the cornea becomes inflamed, injured, or ulcerated; uveitis, a painful inflammation of the eye’s internal structures which may be associated with trauma to the eye, cancer, an immune problem, or an infection; dry eye, which is characterized by a chronic lack of tear production can result in red eyes, corneal inflammation, gooey discharge, and blindness.
If your cat experiences eye problems, it’s important that you have her checked by a vet to prevent complications. If left untreated, and especially if there’s an underlying condition, what started out as a simple eye irritation may result in a more serious eye problem, including blindness.
Home Remedy for Cat Eye Infection
The usual vet-recommended course of treatment for a cat eye infection may include eye drops, antiviral medications, and/or antibiotic eye ointments or pills. Improvement usually occurs after a few days of treatment, but it’s important to finish the prescribed treatment duration even if there are no more observable symptoms to prevent recurrence of the infection.
Making sure that your pet is up-to-date with her vaccinations, particularly for cat flu and the feline herpes virus, is also an important preventive measure against conjunctivitis.
You can help bolster your feline’s immune system to keep it strong enough to fight off infections by managing her stress. Stress is known to weaken the immune system and, therefore, makes your cat more susceptible to attacks by harmful invaders. Aside from minimizing her exposure to her known stressors, you can also try giving her CBD cat treats or mixing CBD oil into her food or directly adding drops to her favorite snack. CBD has potent calmative properties that will effectively give your pet much-needed stress relief.
It’s also important that you keep your cat’s eyes clean. If she has eye discharge, you can safely remove it by gently wiping it off with a cotton ball dipped in clean water. Start at the corner of the eye and wipe outward. Use a new cotton ball to clean the other eye. Use a soft tissue to dry her eyes; again, use a fresh tissue for each eye. Make sure not to touch your cat’s eyeballs as this will be painful and your pet will refuse to have her eyes cleaned again. Do not use over-the-counter eye solutions unless one is recommended by your vet.
If you notice your cat having eye problems, and especially if she has other symptoms, take her to the vet for a proper checkup. A cat’s eyes are as delicate as they are sharp; you have to take extreme care when treating them and to make sure that your pet receives the proper treatment.