Why are my cat's eyes watering?

The outer layer of your cat's eyes protects them by remaining moist and washing away debris like dirt. If your cat's eyes are abnormally watering and they are squinting, it may be a sign that they are experiencing an ocular health issue. Here, our Apple Valley vets explain a few reasons why your cat's eyes may water. 

Reasons Why Your Cat's Eyes Might Water

If your cat has watery eyes, it generally means that their eye is attempting to fight off some kind of health threat like a virus or foreign body. In many instances, the cause of this change is minor and will clear up without dedicated veterinary care. That being 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

Water and Glassy Looking Eyes

Allergies are a very common issue for cats. They can cause your cat's eyes to become irritated and watery, just like human allergies do. Common allergies that may affect your cat include mold, pollen, household cleaning product, some medications, perfumes and mildew dust. 

Keeping your cat away from the allergen could help to clearup 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 will be able to rule out 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 and Pawing at Eyes

If your cat has watery eyes and is blinking excessively, squinting or pawing at their eyes a visit to your vet is required. 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 and Inflamed Eyes

If your cat's eyes look inflamed and red, there is a pretty good chance that your four-legged friend has contracted conjunctivitis (also known as pinkeye). Some other signs of conjunctivitis include sensitivity ot light and swollen eyes. This common condition can be caused by a number of different issues, from infections and allergies to feline herpes virus. 

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

Just like in people, sticky or goopy discharge coming from your cat's eyes are generally signs of infection. Clear discharge general indicates a viral infection, while a green or yellow discharge indicates a bacterial cause.  

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 unnecessary unless your cat's eye problem is as a result of a systemic infection.

Obvious Pain or Swelling

If your cat is showing obvious signs of pain, their eyeball is bulging, or there is notable swelling around their eye, make sure to bring your cat into your vet to get checked for glaucoma. The symptoms of glaucoma generally indicate a veterinary emergency requiring immediate and urgent care. 

This painful condition can appear suddenly and develop very rapidly. In most cases, by the time symptoms become evident much of the cat's eyesight will be irreparably lost. 

Nasal Discharge 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 Take Your Cat to the Vet for an Eye Examination

If your cat's eyes don't stop watering for more than a day or two or if they are showing symptoms of infection, it's time to head to your vet. They will be able to examine your cat's eyes and recommend appropriate 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.

Is your cat experience pain, discomfort, or excessive eye-watering? Bring them into Bear Valley Animal Hospital for an appointment with our expert veterinarians. We can help get your feline friend's vision back to normal. Contact us today!