There are many ways to describe your cat’s eyes—adorable, striking, purrrr-fect. But if lately, your cat’s eyes can be described as watery, gooey, or swollen, they’re likely in the throes of an eye infection. While a trip to the veterinarian is definitely in order, you may have to wait a few days before you can be seen.
Fortunately, you don’t need to start furiously Googling, How can I treat my cat’s eye infection at home. You’ve already come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll discuss cat eye infection home remedies that can provide some relief to your furry friend before their vet appointment. By clearing out the eye and adjusting your cat’s environment, you can help soothe their symptoms and prevent further irritation.
How to Clear Your Cat’s Eyes at Home
If you suspect your cat may have an eye infection, you’ll likely notice the following symptoms:
- Watery eyes or gooey eyes
- Excessive blinking
- Swelling around the eyes
- Itching or rubbing against furniture and other objects
- Eye discharge near the tear duct
If the only symptom you notice is your cat’s eyes are watering, they could just be trying to expel a piece of dust or dirt from their eyes. But, if one or both of their eyes have been watering for a few consecutive days, or if the discharge is thick, opaque, or discolored, they’re probably experiencing an infection.
If this is the case, you should contact your vet, who can determine the cause of your cat’s eye infection and recommend the best course of treatment. In the meantime, you can try clearing your cat’s eye (or eyes) to provide them with some relief.
A sting-free, antimicrobial formula, like Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Eye Wash, can effectively clean eyes suffering from conjunctivitis and flush out dirt and debris that may be causing (or exacerbating) your cat’s eye infection. Our eye wash not only provides instant relief, but it also helps keep eyes healthy and reduce chances of future eye problems. (Incidentally, this eye drop can also be used for dogs.)
For the most effective treatment, gently flush the affected eye 3 to 4 times a day. Because our eye wash is non-toxic and free of alcohol, steroids, and antibiotics, there’s no rinsing necessary.
What Will Happen At the Vet?
Once you’re able to take your cat to the vet, they’ll be able to determine the culprit behind your cat’s eye infection. Two of the most common causes of cat eye problems are:
- Cat Conjunctivitis
- Congenital allergies
Feline conjunctivitis is very common, and many cats will experience at least a mild infection at some point in their lives. During a conjunctivitis infection, the conjunctiva, or the thin membrane that coats your cat’s eyeballs and the insides of their eyelids, becomes irritated due to a bacterial or viral infection.1
You may recognize conjunctivitis by its more common name: pink eye. Humans can get it, too and, while your cat’s conjunctivitis can’t infect you, the symptoms are very similar. So if you were wondering, “Why are my cat’s eyes red?” Conjunctivitis is one of the probable causes. However, if you notice other symptoms along with cat conjunctivitis, they might indicate another condition, such as feline upper respiratory infection (AKA cat flu). The other signs for this condition include eye discharge, nasal discharge, mouth ulcers, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
“But what if my cat’s eye is swollen?” If you see this symptom, it’s a possible sign of congenital allergies. Congenital allergies, on the other hand, simply refer to allergies that your cat is born with. Like some humans, some cats are hypersensitive to pollen, fragrances, or ingredients in their food, and exposure to these allergens can cause watery or swollen eyes.2
Vet-Prescribed Treatments for Cat Eye Infections
After a visit to your vet, you’ll likely be sent home with prescription eye drops to soothe your cat’s eye infection and resolve their eye irritation. If your cat’s eye infection is caused by a bacterial infection, your vet will also prescribe an antibiotic.
However, if your cat’s eye infection is a result of environmental allergies, your vet may also recommend the following additional remedies:
- Adding an air purifier to your home to filter out pollen that can cause seasonal allergies
- Switching to a different laundry detergent or air freshener
- Changing your cat’s food
If your cat’s allergies are also causing them to excessively scratch or rub at their skin, you can treat resulting wounds with Vetericyn Plus Feline Antimicrobial Hydrogel—a soothing formula that will heal broken skin and protect it from infection.
After an eye infection, you should also consider adding a preventative treatment to your feline companion’s skincare regimen, like Vetericyn Plus Feline Antimicrobial Facial Therapy. This non-toxic, antimicrobial formula helps manage and prevent common issues in cats’ eyes, nose, mouth, and ears, resulting in fewer vet visits and a healthier cat.
Vetericyn’s Feline Eye Care Products
Don’t take any eye problems lightly. While any suspicions that your cat has an eye infection should be confirmed by your vet, there are steps you can take to treat your cat’s eye infection at home and remedies you can use in conjunction with vet-prescribed treatments to speed up recovery times and prevent future infections. And under no circumstances should you treat your pet human eye drops. The risk with this is it would cause further eye injury. The most you can do is gently wipe any tears or discharge with a cotton ball while waiting for appropriate eye medication.
At Vetericyn, we want your cat (and all of your other furry friends) to live a comfortable, happy, and healthy life. That’s why our pet care formulas are designed to treat current conditions at home—like eye infections—as well as prevent future flare-ups.
- Cornell Feline Health Center. Conjunctivitis. https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/conjunctivitis
- MSD Veterinary Manual. Allergies of Cats. https://www.msdvetmanual.com/cat-owners/skin-disorders-of-cats/allergies-of-cats