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Treating Conjunctivitis in Cats

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HGlick has rescued and placed stray cats for over 20 years and has personally fostered more than ten during that time

Conjunctivitus is an inflammation of the membrane that covers a cat's inner eyelids and the surface of the eyeball.

Conjunctivitus is an inflammation of the membrane that covers a cat's inner eyelids and the surface of the eyeball.

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis in cats, is inflammation of the membrane that covers the inner layer of the eye and the inner layer of the eyelid. Many forms of pink eye in cats are caused by allergens or irritants, such as dust and dirt. It's important to understand the different types of pink eye. Some can be treated at home, but most can not.

How Serious Is Conjunctivitis in Cats?

By itself, conjunctivitis in cats is not a deadly disease; however, rare forms of it over time can cause blindness. If conjunctivitis occurs in kittens it is usually an offshoot of some form of upper respiratory condition, which can be lethal, especially if it is spread through the litter.

Viral Conjunctivitis in Cats

Mild Conjunctivitis

When a cat suffers from mild conjunctivitis, this membrane looks pink and somewhat swollen. There will be clear, watery discharge. Sometimes conjunctivitis is a reaction to an irritant, such as wind, cold weather, dust, or allergens. This type can also be the first sign of feline viral respiratory disease.

Mild forms of conjunctivitis can be treated at home. The eye should be cleansed with a diluted solution of boric acid for ophthalmic use. This can be purchased at drugstores or pharmacies and used as directed. You should see definite improvement within 24 hours. If not, have your cat examined by a veterinarian.

Severe Pink Eye

More severe pink eye is called purulent conjunctivitis. This type involves a secondary bacterial infection. In this case, the cat's eye will secrete thick discharge or pus which will dry and crust over the lid. When this type of conjunctivitis involves both eyes, the cat may be suffering from a viral respiratory illness.

Two types of bacteria cause purulent conjunctivitis: chlamydia and mycoplasma (although mycoplasmas have a disputed role in the infection). They can be detected on samples from the conjunctival membrane and observed under a microscope. Specific antibiotics are required to treat this condition, applied several times a day, so a veterinarian's exam and prescription are required.

Follicular Conjunctivitis

Follicular conjunctivitis occurs when the cat's nictitating membrane, or "third eyelid," becomes inflamed. This can happen when simple irritants get under the membrane. The eye will produce more tears in order to clear the area. Occasionally the inflammation may be due to a foreign object in the eye. For this reason, it is important to have a vet look at the eye to determine whether the eye will be able to clear the irritant out itself or not.

Complex eye infections like these can be hard to treat. In these cases, the tear ducts themselves may become infected. Bring your cat in for an exam, if you are concerned that the infection is more complex.

Is it Safe to Use Humans Eye Drops on a Cat?

Pink eye often clears up after specifically formulated feline eye drops are administered.

A commonly asked question is: "Can I give my cat eye drops that were made for humans?" While some eye drops can be used on both humans and cats, it is possible to deliver the wrong dose or use drops with preservatives that damage a cat's eyes. The concentration and dosage of the medication may be different. Before administering, always take your bottle of eye drops to a veterinarian and ask them if the drops would be suitable for your cat.

Cat Pink Eye Solution

How Do You Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats At Home?

Conjunctivitis in cats could be expensive when taking them to the veterinarian. There could be different causes. It could be due to an infection or allergic reaction to food that your cat eats.

To treat your conjunctivitis in cats at home, first, try to alleviate the discomfort that your kitty's eyes are causing. They should be clear and bright. You can try to put a little dark alcohol on a cotton ball and rub it over the eye. This can help with the discomfort that her eyes are causing. There is also a product called Kneaded Comfort. This is a special eye liniment for cats.

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You should see an eye doctor if your cat's eye is causing excessive tearing. You can try to get a prescription from the vet that contains the medication that you can give to your cat. The veterinarian may give you medication for your cat's eye problem and a guide to home use if it is for conjunctivitis. You can give your cat a shot of antibiotics to get rid of the infection or you can treat the eye inflammation with eye liniments and possibly cortisone eye drops. If this doesn't work, the vet may suggest a topical ointment to use on her eye.

A lot of people are afraid that their cat will not like eye ointment or medicine and will be afraid of their own eyes. In this case, you should take your cat to the vet once a month and have her eyes examined. This way, you can be sure that it is not hurting their eyes.

You have to keep in mind that there are some cats that can have a very high temperature. The vet is a good person to check if your cat's temperature is over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. If your cat gets medicine to help her eye problem and it doesn't help, it's always better to take your cat to the vet. If your cat has a respiratory infection, the vet will take a couple of readings and prescribe medicine.

You may wonder what you can do to treat eye irritation and inflammation. There is a product called DermCaps that you can put on your cat's eyes and eyes that are bothering them. This can help to reduce discomfort and inflammation.

How to apply eye drops or eye ointment to your cat

It is a well-known fact that cats are very clean animals, they lick their fur and they lick and lick their eyes. It is normal for your kitty's eye to itch. If it is constantly itching, it may mean that there is some inflammation that is causing her eye to itch. A good thing to try is to use the DermaForm eye gel or the DermaForm eye balm. These eye drops or gels can help to reduce irritation and inflammation. can be applied to the eye. The eye drops are safe and don't cause any side effects. The Eye balm is good for animals that are not used to eye drops. These eye drops are usually applied once or twice a day. It is very important that you keep the eye clean and free from dryness. It is very hard to clean the eye that is dirty and you may have to give it more derma-gel or eye balm. It can also irritate your cat's eye at first, but it will help to relieve some of the irritation and inflammation

If your cat is having some inflammation it is very probable that drops are not enough. You will need to use medicines also. The main purpose of using drops or medicine in your cat's eyes is to relieve irritation. Your cat's eyes can be irritated even if she can see clearly. The medicines are very helpful for treating most infections that affect your cat's eyes and they are easy to swallow. You have to keep in mind that after the medication is given to your cat it is important to clean the eyes thoroughly with a saline solution. The medicines will be only partially effective if they are not clean. You can also use the povidone-iodine ophthalmic ointment as well.

In summary, you should take your cat to the vet for an eye exam and testing, if you suspect a serious health problem like excessive tearing, weight loss, or an upper respiratory infection. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Treating a Kitten Eye Infection at Home

My Cat Phoebe hates this but it works great for relieving dust and watery eye irritations that she somehow gets at least once a week. I can not do without this eye ointment

Cat Eye Ointment

Cat Eye Drops

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


Self-Improvement from Pakistan on February 04, 2019:

Detail guidance with respect to treating conjunctivitis in cats, Good work! However, people who want to control their obesity please read this article.

Laura Curci on February 18, 2017:

I took my cat to the vet a month ago and I used ointment for 10 days and its back again. Luckily I previously scheduled a vet apt for Monday, but is it something in my house that may be triggering his eye to get infected again

Doogan on May 23, 2016:

I just read that cats with FHV which my kitty has and he also has FVR shouldn't use eye ointment with steroids in it for his conjunctivitis he has often. I'm wondering why that is when he has the FHV what that matters. It's actually a warning under the ointment on Pet Meds. My vet has given it to my cat since the beginning. Now I wonder as last time he definitely had pressure or pain of some sort as he didn't want to lay his head down and I have had a cat with ulcer in the eye which she ended up losing her eye. If I remember right the steroid makes the ulcer worse. But what does the herpes virus have to do with this. Also should I no longer give him the steroid ointment? Is there something else that would work for the conjunctivitis? He's also on prednisone for allergies I'm not so sure he has. He's also taken the viral med not at the moment though. I took him off everything for his eyes when he couldn't lay his head down. And he is better but the eye issues are pretty constant with him and not suet what to do on the next round which looks like it's coming now.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on July 24, 2015:

Poor kitty, my cat is quite healthy, when she is sick, she takes care of herself

hglick (author) from Riverhead,NY on September 21, 2014:

Yes You Can

See :

ally on September 20, 2014:

Can u use human eyes drops for a kitten with pink eye ?

hglick (author) from Riverhead,NY on May 19, 2014:

Yes you can. See:

brenda on May 16, 2014:

Can u get eye drops without a script for pink eye

hglick (author) from Riverhead,NY on April 26, 2014:

You need to give the meds some time to work. There also may be some other underlying problem going on

Poor and worried on April 26, 2014:

I have kittens each liter a month a part and I have one with it really bad and he's barely 2 months and I got two others with it. Myvet gave me some drops and meds for them but It don't seem like it's working very well.

hglick (author) from Riverhead,NY on April 08, 2014:

Just a dab of ointment will do fine. You should not need more than that.

Bella on April 04, 2014:

My kitten has pink eye. I got ointment from my vet, can I put to much In his eye?

hglick (author) from Riverhead,NY on April 09, 2011:

Janice, There is no medicine that can be put in a cat's food to heal eye problems. If you can't catch your cat try to lure her into a cat carrier or into the bathroom with tuna fish or catnip. When you have her you might try wrapping her in a towel so that you can give her the eye drops.

Janice Moon on April 07, 2011:

I can't catch my cat to put drops in her eyes for an infection. What can I put in her food to heal her eye problem. Her eyes are red.

amillar from Scotland, UK on January 03, 2010:

Good hub again. Well researched.

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