Cat eye infections are a common concern for pet owners, often causing discomfort and distress in felines. These infections can range from mild irritations to severe conditions, potentially leading to more serious health issues if left untreated. Understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatments of various eye infections in cats is crucial for their well-being. This article will explore the different types of eye infections in cats, focusing on their symptoms, diagnosis, and effective treatment methods.

Stop Googling - Ask a Real Vet


  1. Symptoms of Eye Infections in Cats
  2. What Causes Eye Infections in Cats
  3. Kitten Eye Infection Home Remedies
  4. How to Treat Eye Infections in Cats
  5. FAQs
  6. Conclusion

Symptoms of Eye Infections in Cats

Eye infections in cats can manifest in various ways. It's important to observe your cat for any signs of discomfort or abnormal behavior. Monitoring your cat with tools like the Petcube Pet Camera can help in the early detection and treatment of eye issues. According to The Veterinary Journal research, key symptoms to look out for include:

  • Swollen or Red Eyes (Conjunctivitis): Inflammation of the eye, known as conjunctivitis, is a common sign. The eyes may appear reddened and swollen.
  • Discharge: You may notice a clear, yellow, or green discharge. Newborns may experience yellow discharge due to an infection.
  • Bulging or Sunken Eyes: In severe cases, like with certain infections or glaucoma, the eyes may appear bulging or sunken.
  • Visible Sores or Ulcers on the Eye: Particularly with herpesvirus, corneal ulcers or sores can develop.
  • Excessive Blinking or Squinting: Indicative of discomfort or pain in the eye.
  • Cloudiness or Change in Eye Color: This could signal a deeper infection or other eye issues.
  • Behavioral Changes: Increased scratching at the eye, irritability, or a change in activity level can be signs of an eye infection.

What Causes Eye Infections in Cats

Eye infections in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from viruses and bacteria to environmental irritants. Understanding these causes is essential for prevention and effective treatment. Keeping an eye on your cat's health can be simplified with devices like the Petcube Pet Camera, which helps you monitor your cat for any signs of eye infection or unusual behavior. Here are some common causes of eye infections in cats:

Viral Infections

  • Feline Herpesvirus 1 (Feline Rhinotracheitis): This is a major cause of eye infections in cats. The virus leads to symptoms like conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, and even respiratory issues.
  • Feline Calicivirus: Often affects the respiratory system but can also cause conjunctivitis and other eye problems.

Bacterial Infections

  • Chlamydia Felis: A bacterial agent that specifically causes chlamydial conjunctivitis, leading to swollen, reddened eyes and discharge.
  • Bordetella and Mycoplasma: These bacteria can also contribute to eye infections, often secondary to viral infections.

Parasitic Infections

  • Eyeworms (Thelazia californiensis and Thelazia callipaeda): These parasites can infest a cat’s eyes, causing irritation, excessive tearing, and inflammation.

Other Causes of Feline Eye Issues

  • Allergies: Environmental allergens like pollen, dust, or certain chemicals can cause allergic reactions leading to eye irritation, inflammation, and secondary infections.
  • Injury or Trauma: A physical injury to the eye can lead to infections if not treated promptly.
  • Foreign Bodies: Objects like dirt or grass getting into the eye can cause irritation and lead to infection.
  • Underlying Diseases: Certain systemic diseases, like feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline leukemia virus (FeLV), can predispose cats to eye infections.

Monitoring your cat's health and behavior is crucial for the early detection and treatment of eye infections. The Petcube Pet Camera allows you to observe your cat’s eyes for any signs of redness, discharge, or discomfort, even when you’re not at home. This can be especially useful if your cat is prone to eye issues or if you are treating them for an ongoing problem.

Kitten Eye Infection Home Remedies

When it comes to treating kitten eye infections at home, several remedies can help alleviate symptoms and promote healing. However, it's crucial to remember that these home remedies should not replace professional veterinary care, especially in severe cases or if the condition doesn't improve. Here are some home treatment options for kitten eye infections:

Sterile Eye Rinses

  • Sterile Saline Solution: A gentle rinse with a sterile saline solution can help cleanse the eye and remove debris or discharge. Make sure the solution is preservative-free and intended for ocular use.

Cold Compresses

  • Comfrey Compresses: Cold compresses made with comfrey can reduce inflammation and soothe the eye. Soak a clean cloth in a cooled comfort infusion and gently apply it to the kitten's eye.


  • L-Lysine Supplements: Lysine, an amino acid, helps fight certain viruses, including the feline herpes virus. Supplements can boost the cat’s immune system and may help manage symptoms.

Herbal Tinctures

  • Oregon Grape Tincture: For cases of conjunctivitis (pink eye), a diluted solution of Oregon grape tincture in distilled or sterile water can be used. Always dilute the tincture well, as it can be irritating in its concentrated form.

Over-the-Counter Eye Washes

  • Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Eye Wash: Approved, alcohol-free eye washes like Vetericyn can help soothe and clean infected eyes. These are generally safe and can be used to flush out irritants.

Important Considerations

  • Consult a Veterinarian First: Always check with a vet before starting any home treatment, especially for severe infections or if the kitten has other health issues.
  • Cleanliness: Ensure your hands and all materials used (compresses, droppers, etc.) are clean to avoid further infection.
  • Gentleness: Be gentle when applying any remedy. Kittens' eyes are delicate and can be easily damaged.
  • Monitor for Worsening Symptoms: If the infection worsens or doesn't improve within a couple of days, seek veterinary care immediately.
  • Avoid Human Medications: Never use medications intended for humans, as these can be harmful to kittens.

Home remedies can be effective for mild eye infections, but they are not a substitute for professional veterinary care. If in doubt, it's always best to consult with your vet to ensure your kitten receives the appropriate treatment.

How to Treat Eye Infections in Cats

Treating eye infections in cats requires a combination of veterinary care and, in some cases, home management. The approach to treatment varies depending on the cause and severity of the infection. Here's a guide on how to effectively treat eye infections in felines:

Veterinary Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Professional Examination: A veterinarian should examine any cat showing signs of an eye infection. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend the best course of treatment.
  • Prescribed Medication: Treatment may include antibiotics for bacterial infections, antiviral drugs for viral infections, or anti-inflammatory medications for reducing swelling and discomfort.
  • Specific Treatments for Underlying Conditions: If the eye infection is a symptom of a broader health issue, treating the underlying condition is also crucial.

Home Care

  • Administering Medications: Follow the vet's instructions on administering any eye drops or ointments. Consistency and the correct dosage are key.
  • Keeping the Eye Clean: Gently clean away any discharge around the eye with a clean, damp cloth. Avoid touching the eye directly.
  • Monitoring Progress: Keep an eye on your cat's recovery, watching for any changes or improvements in symptoms.

Emergency Fund and Online Vet Support

In cases where the eye infection is severe or if you're unable to visit a vet immediately, having access to an emergency fund and online vet support can be invaluable. The Petcube Emergency Fund offers up to $3000 in coverage for emergency vet bills and 24/7 access to online veterinary assistance.

For blog readers, take advantage of a special offer: Get a 27% discount on the Petcube Emergency Fund by using this special link for blog readers.

Preventive Measures

  • Regular Check-Ups: Routine veterinary visits can help catch and prevent eye issues before they become severe.
  • Vaccinations: Ensure your cat is up-to-date on vaccinations, especially for diseases that can cause eye infections.

Remember, while some home remedies can provide comfort and support in treating mild eye infections, they should not replace professional veterinary care. Always consult with a veterinarian to ensure the best treatment for your cat's specific condition.


How to treat eye infections in kittens?

Treating an eye infection in kittens typically involves gently cleaning the eye area to remove any discharge, using prescribed medication from a veterinarian (such as eye drops or ointments), and ensuring the kitten is in a clean, stress-free environment. It's important to handle kittens gently and follow the vet's instructions carefully. For severe cases or if the kitten is very young, immediate veterinary attention is crucial.

How do you treat a newborn kitten eye infection?

For newborn kittens with eye infections, immediate veterinary care is essential. The vet may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments. At home, you can help by keeping the eyes clean and free of discharge with a soft, damp cloth. Avoid using over-the-counter medications without veterinary advice, as newborns are particularly sensitive.

Can you get an eye infection from a cat?

Yes, it is possible to get an eye infection from a cat, though it is relatively rare. Infections such as conjunctivitis can be transmitted from cats to humans, especially if proper hygiene is not practiced. It's important to wash your hands thoroughly after handling a cat with an eye infection and avoid touching your eyes.


Eye infections in cats, ranging from mild irritations to severe conditions, require attentive care and timely treatment. Whether it's a kitten or an adult cat, understanding the signs of eye infections and seeking veterinary advice are crucial steps in ensuring the health and comfort of your feline friend.

Was this article helpful?

Help us make our articles even better

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback