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Are Your Cat's Eyes Goopy? What It Means and When to Go to the Vet | Hastings Veterinary Hospital

Are Your Cat’s Eyes Goopy? What It Means and When to Go to the Vet

As a cat owner, you’re probably already aware of how clear, bright, and beautiful your cat’s eyes normally are. That’s why if you start noticing unusual discharge or ‘goop’ coming from one or both of your cat’s eyes it can be so disconcerting at first.

If you’ve noticed excessive eye-watering, frequent blinking or squinting, any brown, green, or yellow discharge coming from their eyes, or if you notice your cat constantly pawing at their eyes or rubbing them on furniture, there’s likely something wrong.

What causes a cat to have goopy eyes?

There are many factors that can lead to irritation and discharge in your cat’s eyes. And if you notice any signs of infection, you should always take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. With that said, the more common causes of eye irritation in cats are:

  • Upper respiratory infections are a very common cause of eye irritation and discharge. There are many infections and illnesses that can affect your cat’s respiratory system, and in turn, create problems in the eye. These can include feline calicivirus, herpesvirus, bacterial infections, and more.
  • Pink eye is something you’re probably familiar with in humans, but did you know that cats can get it as well? Also known as conjunctivitis, feline pink eye leads to inflammation in the eye, and can often lead to clear or mucusy discharge coming from the eye.
  • Inflammation or injury to the cornea can easily cause excess discharge coming from your cat’s eye. The cornea is the curved surface of the eye, and it can sometimes be affected by scratches or ulcers.
  • Dry eye refers to a cat’s inability to properly produce tears, which are essential for keeping the eyes in good health. This can lead to serious eye-health issues, and is often identified by a thick yellow goop being discharged from the eyes.
  • Allergies are not just for humans! Many cats have allergic reactions as well, and these can sometimes lead to unusual discharge and goopiness in your cat’s eyes.
  • Foreign objects in the eye can lead to irritation and infection, which will, in turn, produce discharge.

Symptoms to look out for

Your cat depends on their vision in order to go about their day to day life, so being on the lookout for problems developing around their eyes is vital to ensure they’re as healthy as can be. The biggest symptoms to watch for regarding their eyes are:

  • Constant squinting, as if they can’t open their eyes all the way
  • Excessively frequent blinking
  • Constant touching of their own face, or rubbing their face against furniture, etc.
  • Build up around the eyes and tear ducts (usually gooey or crusty after it dries)

Treating eye discharge issues in cats

Because eye problems can be caused by so many different things, treatment can vary drastically from issue to issue. That’s why taking your cat to see your veterinarian as soon as you notice discharge or inflammation is so important. Left untreated, eye problems creating discharge can have serious consequences for your cat, including necessary surgeries or even blindness in one or both eyes. 

The biggest thing to remember is that eye discharge is often a sign of a more serious issue, and should be considered quite urgent when it comes to getting your cat the help they need.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Hastings Veterinary Hospital and a clickable link back to this page.

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