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Zoomed up cat closed eyes

Is your cat getting weepy or is there a problem with his eye? Cats do not produce tears for emotional reasons, so the problem with cat eye watering and squinting is physical. Cat’s eyes tear up for a variety of reasons, some harmless, while others need veterinarian care. This article will help you determine when to see the vet for eye discharge in cats or if you can just wait and see what happens. With good care, your pet will be feeling better in no time.

Eye Discharge in Cats

Sleeping cat on couch

Healthy cats will sometimes have watery eyes. The cat’s eye produces a tear film that is responsible for removing debris from the eye and keeping it moist. When the health of the eye is challenged by bacteria, viruses, foreign bodies, or an injury, the eye will produce tears to fight the problem and keep the eye healthy.

Most of the time, watery eyes will clear up quickly on their own. But it’s always a good idea to investigate the cause of your cat’s watery eyes, especially if it doesn’t clear up quickly.

Causes of Eye Discharge

Grey grumpy cat with left eye issue

There are a number of things that can cause your cat’s eye to water. Tears can overflow due to inflammation, infection, or swelling that blocks the cat’s tear duct. Excessive cat eye watering can be caused by allergies, a foreign body in the eye, or even the shape of the cat’s face.

To evaluate the causes, ask yourself this series of questions:

Is the Eye Red and Inflamed?

If one or both cat eyes are red around the edges or inflamed, your pet possibly has cat conjunctivitis, also known as cat pink eye. Cat conjunctivitis can be caused by an infection, allergy, or feline herpes virus. If the eye seems infected or your kitty is in pain, take her to the vet. Cat conjunctivitis is contagious, so check your other cats for symptoms whenever one has problems. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics or an antiviral drug for the problem.

Is the Discharge Yellow, Green, or Sticky?

A sticky, yellow, or green discharge is a sign of infection. You can get antibiotic eye drops or ointment to clear it up. Clear mucus is usually caused by a virus and may clear up on its own.

Does Your Cat Have an Allergy?

If the watery eyes tend to show up at the same time each year or after using a new product, you might suspect an allergy. Cats are allergic to the same environmental contaminants that might irritate your own eyes and nose:

  • Pollen
  • Mold and mildew
  • Dust
  • Flea-control products
  • Cleaning products
  • Medicines
  • Perfumes

If you suspect that your cat has an allergy, consult your vet. Your veterinarian will verify whether your cat has an allergy and recommend the best treatments.

How Quickly do the Tears Clear Up?

If the watery eyes don’t clear up quickly, ask your vet for a thorough exam. Watery eyes could be the sign of serious problems. A fast diagnosis will get your pet back to their healthy self.

Is the Eye Cloudy? Does She Bat at Her Eyes or Rub Her Head?

Cloudy eyes and irritation are signs of a cat eye infection or ulcer. If your pet is exhibiting these signs, you need to see your vet right away. A scratched eye, chemicals in the eye, a blow to the head, or an untreated infection can cause an ulcer and loss of vision for your pet.

Other Causes of Watery Eyes in Cats

  • Cat eye diseases
  • Feline upper respiratory infections
  • Feline infectious peritonitis
  • A problem with the cornea
  • Blocked tear ducts or overproduction of tears
  • Dry eye
  • Inflammation of the internal eye
  • Something lodged in the eye
  • Third eyelid problems

Are Some Cat Breeds More Likely to Have Watery Eyes?

Grumpy looking cat

Yes, some cat breeds are more susceptible to watery eyes due to the shape of their faces. A short face with a rounded skull predisposes them to cat eye problems and watery eyes.

If you notice tear stains on their face and irritated or inflamed skin, your cat has excessive tearing. There are products on the market that treat the stains and inflammation, talk to your vet about what is safe for your pet.  

When to See a Vet

Female vet checking cat's eye condition

If this is the first time your cat has watery eyes and the tearing is excessive, check in with your veterinarian to get it diagnosed. Other symptoms that require a vet visit include squinting or blinking, pawing or rubbing the eye, red or inflamed eyes, a cloudy eye, thick mucus, or a yellow- or green-colored discharge.

Your veterinarian will check your pet’s eyes for damage inside and out, measure the pressure inside the eye, and determine whether the flow of tears is normal. They will look for the underlying cause and work with you to relieve your cat’s discomfort.

Paws a moment.

Peace of mind starts here.

Cat Eye Infection Treatments for Watery Eyes

Cat having a eye drop for treatment

If your cat is diagnosed with an infection or damage to the eye, you may be given some eye drops or ointment to put in the eyes. Your vet will show you how to use the medicine, but these tips will help you deal with this stressful treatment for your pet.

Keep your cat calm and work in a quiet environment. Place the cat on a table and reward him/her during the treatment. Speak calmly as you put the drops or ointment in the eye. Try not to touch the surface of the eye with the tip of the applicator.

Are you looking for a holistic way to treat your cat’s anxiety or other therapeutic issues? Check out this article on Using CBD Oil for Cats. If the problem is motion sickness or car sickness, these Tips for Treating Car Sickness might help. If you just feel that you and your cat need some quiet time to destress, check out these Top 10 Cat Movies.

Tips to Keep Your Cats Eyes Healthy

Blue eyed cat closeup

Keeping up with your regular vet visits and vaccinations will go a long way toward keeping your cat healthy. Because it’s best to diagnose cat eye problems early, before damage is done, make a habit of checking your cat’s eyes for redness, cloudiness, discharge, changes in shape or color, or sensitivity to light.

Remove cat eye discharge with a cotton ball dipped in water. Wipe away the discharge, starting in the corner of the eye and wiping outward. Use a fresh cotton ball for each wipe to avoid cross contamination.

Avoid cat eye discharge home remedies and over-the-counter drops or other products unless your vet recommends them. The correct treatment is critical to your cat’s health, so check with your vet whenever you are in doubt.

How to Avoid Unexpected Vet Bills

Having a pet is a big responsibility and you want the very best for your pet. But veterinarian bills can come at the worst possible times in your financial life. Prudent Pet has worked out affordable insurance plans that allow you the peace of mind knowing that your beloved pet will always be taken care of.

What is Pet Insurance? Learn more about pet insurance quotes, claims, and how Prudent Pet compares to other providers. Pet insurance plans cover preventative care as well as illnesses, accidents, and unexpected problems. Check out how affordable these plans can be.

Paws a moment.

Peace of mind starts here.

About the author

Diane loves all animals and has parented dogs, cats, pigs, goats, chickens, sheep, and four children over the years. She is currently owned by Lucy, a senior Chow who always wants to stay close to her people. Lucy is a retired guide dog who is happiest when a child is nearby.

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