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Conjunctivitis in cats: signs, causes and treatment

Grey cat with yellow eyes advice

Conjunctivitis in cats is often caused by infectious agents like bacteria.

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Cats often have eye infections and they're not always serious, but don't assume it'll go away by itself. The best bet would be to make a trip to the vet.

By Dr. Laura Waring BVetMed MRCVS

Updated on the 11/08/2020, 13:25

Infections of the eye are reasonably common for cats. They are often mild and resolve well with treatment. You might suspect your cat has an eye infection if you notice any unusual discharge from the eye. Any problem that affects your cat's eye should be reviewed by a vet promptly to avoid the problem worsening.

Will cat conjunctivitis go away by itself?

If you suspect your cat has an eye infection, it is best to get it reviewed at the vets. Conjunctivitis can resolve by itself, however it is important that more serious eye disorders are ruled out. Eyes are delicate structures and there may be more going on than a simple infection. So never assume it will just go away by itself.

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What causes conjunctivitis in cats?

Conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses or fungi. Sometimes there may have been some trauma to the eye such as a scratch from another cat that introduces the infection. There can be other causes too, such as allergies or irritation from environmental causes, however these are less common.

How much does it cost to treat conjunctivitis in cats?

The cost of treating your cat's conjunctivitis will depend very much on the cause. Your cat will need to see the vet and therefore there will be a charge for the consultation and any required medication.

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How long does feline conjunctivitis last?

Conjunctivitis is often short lived when appropriate treatment is prescribed by your vet. You should notice an improvement in your cat's symptoms within a few days of starting the treatment. Sometimes only a short course of medication is needed, in other cases treatment might be needed for a couple of weeks.

What can I give my cat for conjunctivitis?

You should only ever use prescribed treatment for your cat. This is because using medications not intended for your pet could make the situation much worse. There might be other potentially more serious problems with the eye other than an infection. Therefore it is important to get the cat checked to ensure nothing is overlooked.

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How do I get rid of my cat's eye discharge?

If your cat has discharge from one or both of the eyes, it is best to seek advice from a vet. It is important that a diagnosis is made and appropriate treatment given. Without treatment the situation could worsen. However, if your cat has discharge from one or both eyes, it can be carefully cleaned in the meantime. It is best to simply use cooled boiled water and cotton wool. Wipe the eye gently in one direction to remove any debris. Throw the used cotton wool away and always use a new piece of cotton wool, if you need to clean the other eye.

Is it normal for a cat to have eye discharge?

Cats produce clear tears, but any other discharge from the eye is not normal. If you see green or yellow discharge from your pet's eye, it is important to get them checked at the vet as it is possible there is an underlying infection.

Can cat conjunctivitis spread to humans?

It is very, very unlikely that the infectious agents responsible for causing your cat's conjunctivitis will spread to you, the human owner. The viral agents that affect cats do not infect humans, but it is theoretically possible for bacteria to be transferred. It is always good practice to ensure that good hand hygiene is implemented when bathing your cat's eyes or applying treatment. It is more likely that infections are transmitted between cats in the same household. But once more, good hygiene and washing hands between handling your pets can reduce the risk of conjunctivitis spreading.

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Should I clean my cat's eye boogers?

If your cat has discharge from one or both eyes, it can be carefully cleaned. It is best to simply use cooled boiled water and cotton wool. Wipe the eye gently in one direction to remove any debris. Throw the used cotton wool away and always use a new piece of cotton wool if you need to clean the other eye. If your cat has persistent discharge from one or both eyes, it is best to seek advice from a vet.

What is the black stuff around my cat's eyes?

Black crusty material around a cat's eyes can occur if there is a low grade conjunctivitis or chronic irritation of the eye. It is also more common in elderly cats. It would be best to get your cat checked over at the vets to determine if any treatment is required. It might be that regular, simple cleaning of the eye is all that is required.

Can I use Neosporin on my cat's eyes?

Never apply anything to your cat's eyes that has not been prescribed for them. This is because it may not be appropriate and it could worsen the situation. Always get your pet checked by a vet, who will prescribe a suitable treatment if needed.

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Can I use artificial tears on my cat?

In some situations artificial tears can be useful to lubricate the cat's eyes. However don't apply anything to your cat's eyes that has not been prescribed for them or before an diagnosis is made if you suspect a problem. This is because it may not be suitable. Again, speak to a vet first to find out what's wrong and to get your pet the best treatment that it needs.

What kind of eye drops are safe for cats?

There are a wide range of suitable treatments that can be prescribed. However, not all eye drops can be used, depending on the underlying eye problem that needs to be treated. Therefore it is important that you seek advice from a vet should you think your cat requires treatment.

How can I treat my cat's eye infection?

If you suspect that your cat has an eye infection, it is important to get your pet checked at the vets. However, if there is a lot of discharge in your cat's eyes, you could carefully clean it with cooled boiled water and cotton wool. Just be sure to use a new piece of cotton wool for each eye and wipe in one direction.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk