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How do I Treat Cat Eye Infections?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 21, 2024
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There are a variety of ways you can treat cat eye infections, although the best course of action may be determined by the type of infection you are dealing with. A number of viruses, allergens, and bacteria may lead to feline conjunctivitis, a type of infection. Antibiotics, homeopathic remedies, and topical medications are all options you should consider when treating your cat.

If you suspect your cat or kitten has an eye infection, you should consult a vet to be sure. This is important even if you intend to treat the infection using natural remedies, because in some cases another ailment may be to blame for symptoms. Signs of infection can include a runny discharge from the eye, inflammation, squinting, redness, cloudiness, and a dull color to the iris. In some cases, sneezing and additional symptoms of a more widespread infection may also occur.

The most common way to treat cat eye infections is by using topical antibiotics. In order to choose the right type of medication, your vet will need to test the fluid within the eye to determine the type of pathogen causing the infection. Some infections may not respond well to antibiotics since they only kill bacteria, but have no impact on viruses or allergens.

Holistic or homeopathic remedies may also help treat cat eye infections. These can include tonics made from rosemary, burdock, and other natural ingredients. Sometimes additional immune-boosting supplements may also be given to allow your cat’s body to fight off infection naturally. These are sometimes applied directly to the eye, while in other cases they are ingested orally for whole body wellness.

If you suspect that something may have gotten in your cat’s eye, it is a good idea to check with your veterinarian. Infections that do not respond well to treatment should also be investigated further. If additional symptoms are present, such as sneezing or wheezing, you cat may have another health condition.

Sometimes you may not need to treat cat eye infections at all. In many cases they clear up on their own, although they may recur occasionally. Eye infections are fairly common in felines because many of them are caused by a pathogen which naturally occurs on a cat’s skin. If your cat seems to be suffering from additional symptoms, medication may be needed to treat the underlying condition as well as the infected eye.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of an eye infection in cats?

Signs of an eye infection in cats include redness, swelling, discharge that may be clear or colored, squinting, or excessive blinking. Cats may also exhibit sensitivity to light, paw at their eyes, or have a third eyelid that appears more prominent. Early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent complications.

Can I treat my cat's eye infection at home?

While mild eye irritations can sometimes be managed at home with gentle cleaning, true infections require veterinary attention. Over-the-counter remedies are not recommended without a vet's guidance, as improper treatment can lead to worsening conditions or complications. Always consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

What will a vet do for a cat's eye infection?

A veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination, which may include tests to identify the cause of the infection, such as bacterial, viral, or fungal. Treatment typically involves prescription eye drops or ointments with antibiotics or antivirals. In severe cases, oral medications or even surgery may be necessary, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

How can I prevent eye infections in my cat?

Preventing eye infections in cats involves maintaining good hygiene, regular check-ups, and keeping up with vaccinations. Protecting your cat from irritants, injury, and stress can also reduce the risk. Additionally, promptly addressing any signs of illness or eye discomfort can prevent infections from developing or worsening.

Are cat eye infections contagious to other pets or humans?

Some cat eye infections, particularly those caused by viruses like feline herpesvirus, can be contagious to other cats. However, most cat-specific pathogens do not typically infect humans. Still, it's important to practice good hygiene when handling infected pets to prevent the spread of any zoonotic diseases, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How long does it take for a cat eye infection to heal?

The healing time for a cat eye infection depends on the severity and cause. With proper veterinary treatment, many infections start to improve within 48-72 hours, but complete recovery may take several weeks. It's essential to follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your vet to ensure a full recovery.

AllThingsNature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Animandel — On Feb 27, 2014
When eye infections in cats develop, it is often enough to just keep the eye clean by wiping the discharge from the eye with a warm cloth. Keeping the eye clean helps a lot, and as the article said, many of these infections will go away without medical treatment.
By Sporkasia — On Feb 26, 2014
Our cats seldom have eye infections, so we are fortunate, considering that eye infections can be common in cats. I think feeding cats healthy diets makes a big difference. In the couple of instances when our cats had eye infections, we used chamomile to treat them and the infections cleared up well, and quickly.
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