If you've ever looked into the captivating eyes of your feline friend and noticed they're a little watery, you're not alone. Many cat owners encounter this perplexing issue and are left wondering what it means. Is it a cause for concern or just a fleeting irritation?

In this article, we'll explore the various reasons based on expert veterinary sources for why your cat's eyes might be watering and what each symptom could indicate. From red or green discharge to excessive tearing, let's delve into the mysterious world of feline ocular health.

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  1. Red or Green Discharge in a Cats Eye
  2. Clear Cat Eye Discharge
  3. Dark And Brown Eye Discharge in Cats
  4. Mucus in a Cats Eye
  5. How Can Watery Eyes in Cats Be Treated
  6. Conclusion

Red or Green Discharge in a Cats Eye

When it comes to cat eye discharge, the color matters. A green or yellow discharge is often a red flag indicating a bacterial infection in the eye. This can be a secondary symptom of respiratory issues like feline pneumonitis or rhinotracheitis, all of which are part of the family of feline herpesviruses, or FHV. Studies show that feline calicivirus is often overlooked as a cause of lesions on the surface of feline cats' eyes. Another serious cause could be feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), leading to pus-like gunk accumulating in your cat's eyes.

If you notice red tear stains around your cat's eyes, this could signify epiphora or excessive tearing. This condition can result from a plethora of health issues, including blocked tear ducts, allergies, and even a poor diet. Research shows this is particularly common in brachycephalic breeds like Persians or Himalayas, which may suffer from eyelid abnormalities, third eyelid protrusions, or poor tear drainage.

Redness around the eyes could also point to inflammation, likely due to conditions like conjunctivitis, uveitis, blepharitis, corneal ulcers, or even physical injury to the eye. Signs to watch for include:

  • your cat is pawing at their eyes;
  • rubbing eyes on surfaces;
  • excessive blinking;
  • squinting;
  • or crustiness and boogers around the eyes.

If you're concerned about your cat's eye symptoms, especially if they persist, a Petcube Pet Camera can be invaluable. This device allows you to monitor your pet's condition remotely, helping you to determine if a vet visit is necessary or if the symptoms are subsiding on their own. Keep an eye out—quite literally—for your pet's well-being.

Clear Cat Eye Discharge

When your cat's eyes produce a clear discharge, it's usually a sign of watery eyes, also known as epiphora. Vettime research show this condition can be triggered by a variety of factors, including allergies—whether they're seasonal, environmental, or food-related. Runny eyes in cats are often associated with allergies.

Issues with tear ducts, such as blockages or overactivity, can also lead to clear, watery discharge. Problems with the eyelids or eyelashes irritating the eyes can contribute as well.

In some cases, clear discharge may arise from viral conjunctivitis or irritants like smoke, foreign bodies in the eyes, or even underlying health issues that compromise your cat's immune system, leading to secondary eye infections. It's worth noting that excessive tearing can produce red-brown tear stains near the eyes due to porphyrins, iron-containing molecules in tears. These stains can sometimes be mistaken for red eye discharge.

Dark And Brown Eye Discharge in Cats

If you've noticed a dark, reddish-brown discharge accumulating under your cat's eyes, it's time to pay attention. This often indicates that the condition of watery eyes, or epiphora, has been persistent and possibly untreated for a while. The porphyrins in tears can cause this unsightly and potentially harmful buildup. Left unchecked, this moist environment can become a breeding ground for bacterial infections, leading to skin irritation and even a foul odor.

Typically, dark eye discharge signifies that your cat's tears aren't draining correctly. This could be because the tear ducts are blocked or simply because the cat is producing an excessive amount of tears. In brachycephalic cats, or cats with short noses, the anatomical structure of the skull may inhibit normal tear drainage. However, more common issues like dirt or even hair around the eyes can also obstruct the tears from draining down the nasolacrimal ducts located at the corners of the eyes.

Mucus in a Cats Eye

When you spot mucus around your cat's eye, it's often a telltale sign of conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye. This condition is characterized by inflammation around the eye, often accompanied by a pinkish lining. The discharge associated with conjunctivitis tends to be clear and watery but may contain a mucus-like or viscous substance. This isn't just an unsightly issue; it's often a symptom of a more significant underlying condition.

Pink eye in cats can be triggered by a range of viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, but research also points to allergic conjunctivitis. Quite frequently, it serves as a red flag for another underlying virus, such as feline herpes. Because eye issues can be indicators of more severe health problems, it's crucial to take any changes in your cat's eye discharge seriously.

How Can Watery Eyes in Cats Be Treated

If your feline friend is experiencing watery eyes, you may be wondering how to treat your cat's watery eyes effectively. While a veterinary consultation is the most reliable course of action, there are also some cat eye discharge home remedies you can try in the interim. However, it's crucial to note that home remedies should never replace professional veterinary care, especially for persistent or severe symptoms.

For a more benign condition, you might consider kitten eye discharge home remedies, like saline solutions, to gently clean the area around the eye. Saline can help flush out irritants and relieve minor symptoms. However, if your cat's eye discharge continues or worsens, it's vital to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan.

If your cat's symptoms persist or worsen, it becomes imperative to seek qualified veterinary advice. For peace of mind and immediate access to qualified vets, consider subscribing to the Petcube Emergency Fund. For just $1 a day, this plan offers 24/7 access to online veterinary consultations and covers emergency bills up to $3000.

It's especially convenient if you have multiple pets, as the fund covers up to six pets per subscription—perfect for situations where a contagious issue might spread among your feline family. As a special offer, blog readers can avail of a 27% discount on this emergency fund here.


Watery eyes in cats can be more than just a minor nuisance, they can signal a range of underlying issues, from allergies to infections. While home remedies may provide temporary relief, nothing replaces the expertise of a qualified veterinarian. The Petcube Emergency Fund is an excellent resource that provides immediate access to vet care, potentially saving you significant emergency fees while ensuring your feline friend gets the best possible treatment.

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