The moist outer layer of your cat's eye protects the organ by washing away dirt and debris. If your kitty's eyes have started to water excessively, or they are squinting, it could be an early sign that there is a more serious issue. Here our Renton vets explain a few reasons why cats' eyes water.
Reasons Why Your Cat's Eyes Might Water
If your cat has watery eyes it likely means that the eye is attempting to fight off some form of health threat such as a virus or a foreign body. In many cases, the cause is minor and will clear up without veterinary care. That said, there are a host of more serious reasons that your cat's eyes could be watering. To find the cause of your cat's eye issue it's necessary to look for other symptoms.
Symptoms of Eye Issues in Cats
Watery, Glassy-Looking Eyes
Cats are affected by allergies surprisingly often, and irritated, watery eyes are a common symptom. Common allergies that could affect your cat's eyes include pollen, mold and mildew dust, household cleaning products, perfumes, and some medications. Keeping your cat away from the allergen could help to clear up the issue. However, if you are unable to pinpoint what is causing your cat's watery eyes a trip to the vet is in order. Your vet can eliminate more serious causes for your cat's watery eyes and be able to recommend ways to help make your cat's eyes feel more comfortable.
Blinking, Squinting & Pawing At Eyes
If your cat has watery eyes and is squinting, blinking excessively, or pawing at their eyes you should take them to the vet right away. Your cat could have a foreign body trapped and irritating the eye, or a blocked nasolacrimal duct (tear duct). Although nasolacrimal obstructions aren't as common in cats as they are in dogs they can result in tears overflowing and running out of the eye.
Red, Inflamed Eyes
If your cat's eyes appear red and irritated, there is a good chance that your feline friend has conjunctivitis (a.k.a. pinkeye). Other signs of conjunctivitis include swollen eyes and increased sensitivity to light. This common eye condition in cats can be caused by anything from an infection or allergy to feline herpes virus, and while conjunctivitis can be easy to clear up, without treatment it could lead to more serious complications. For that reason, it is always best to see your vet if your cat's eyes have become red and watery. Depending on the severity of your cat's eye irritation treatment may include eye drops or ointment prescribed by your vet.
Sticky, Yellow, or Green Discharge
As with humans, sticky discharge emitting from the eye is a typical sign of infection. A clear discharge often indicates a viral infection whereas a green or yellow discharge suggests that your cat has a bacterial infection. When dealing with eye infections early diagnosis and treatment can help to avoid more serious complications down the road. If your cat has a bacterial eye infection treatment may include ophthalmic antibiotic drops, gels or ointments. In most cases, oral medications are not used unless your cat's eye problem is a result of a systemic infection.
Pain or Swelling
If your cat is displaying obvious signs of pain, the affected eye is bulging or there is notable swelling around your cat's eye, it's time to get your cat to the vet to have them checked for glaucoma. Symptoms of glaucoma in cats indicate that emergency veterinary care is required. This painful condition can appear suddenly and develop very rapidly. Unfortunately, in most cases, by the time symptoms become evident much of the cat's eyesight will be irreparably lost.
Runny Nose And Sneezing
If your cat is displaying typical human cold symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing and a runny nose, your feline friend is likely suffering from a cat cold or feline upper respiratory infection. Many cat colds will clear up within a week without the need for veterinary care, however, if your cat's symptoms become worse or fail to improve within a couple of days make an appointment to see your vet.
When To Head To The Vet
If your cat's eyes are watering for more than couple of days or if they are displaying signs of pain or infection, it's time to visit your veterinarian's office. Your vet will be able to examine your cat's eyes and recommend suitable treatments to help relieve any discomfort your cat may be experiencing.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.