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Why Are My Cat's Eyes Watering?

Why Are My Cat's Eyes Watering?

The moist outer layer of your cat's eye washes away dirt and debris. If you've noticed your cat's eyes have begun to water or tear excessively, it may be a symptom of an eye condition. Today, our Vancouver vets list potential reasons your cat's eyes may be watering.

Reasons for Watery Eyes in Cats

Have your cat's eyes been watering lately? This likely means the eye is trying to fight off some kind of threat to their health, such as a virus or a foreign body. 

In many cases, the issue is minor and will correct itself without veterinary care. However, your cat's eyes may water for many more serious reasons. To pinpoint the cause of your cat's eye issue, you and your veterinary ophthalmologist will need to look for other symptoms. 

Signs of Eye Conditions in Cats

Eye conditions in cats often cause symptoms that may look concerning. These symptoms can include:

Watery & Glassy Looking Eyes 

We sometimes receive calls from cat owners asking, "Why is my cat's eye watering?" or, "My cat's eye is watering. What do I do?"

Cats often experience allergies, and these can certainly cause your kitty's eyes to become watery and irritated. Common allergies that may affect your cat's eyes include dust, household cleaning products, mold and mildew, pollen, perfumes, and some medications. 

Preventing your cat from being exposed to the allergen triggering their watery or glassy eyes may help to resolve the problem. However, if you are unable to identify the precise cause of your cat's watery eyes, your vet may be able to recommend ways to correct the issue, so you'll see clear peepers peering back at you when you look into your feline companion's eyes. 

Red & Inflamed Eyes 

If your cat's eyes are red and inflamed, the culprit may be conjunctivitis (also referred to as pink eye). Other symptoms of conjunctivitis include swollen eyes and increased sensitivity to light. You may also notice that only of your cat's eyes is watering if this condition is present. 

This eye condition is common in cats and can be triggered by anything from an allergy to infection or feline herpes virus. Though conjunctivitis can be easy to treat, it may lead to more serious complications if left untreated. 

That's why it's always best to visit your vet if your cat's eyes appear red and watery. Depending on the severity of your cat's eye problem, treatment may include eye drops or prescription ointment. 

Blinking, Squinting & Pawing at Eyes 

Perhaps you've noticed that not only are your cat's eyes watering, but your four-legged companion has also been squinting or pawing at their eyes, in addition to having watery eyes. This may indicate a foreign body has become trapped in the eye and is causing irritation. The problem may also be a blocked tear duct. Though obstructed tear ducts aren't as common in cats as they are in dogs, they may cause tears to overflow and run out of the eye. 

Yellow, Green or Sticky Discharge 

Sticky or goopy discharge usually indicates infection. If your cat's eye is watering and you've noticed clear discharge, a viral infection may to be lame. Conversely, a bacterial infection typically results in green or yellow discharge. 

Early diagnosis and treatment are key to successfully treating eye infections in cats, and to avoiding more serious complications in the future. If your cat has a bacterial eye infection, your veterinary ophthalmologist may recommend ophthalmic antibiotic drops, ointments, or gels. 

Oral medications are unnecessary in most cases unless your cat's eye issue is caused by a systemic infection. 

Pain or Swelling

If your cat is displaying obvious signs of pain, the eyeball is bulging or there is notable swelling around your cat's eye it's time to get your cat to the vet to check for glaucoma. Symptoms of glaucoma in cats indicate that emergency veterinary care is required. 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. 

Sneezing & Runny Nose

Cold symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing and a runny nose mean that your cat 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 or a veterinary ophthalmologist. 

When To Take Your Cat to the Vet for an Eye Examination

If your cat's eyes continue to water for more than a day or two, or if your cat is showing signs of pain or symptoms of infection, contact Columbia River Veterinary Specialists to schedule an appointment with our board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist for eye care

Our veterinary ophthalmologist specializes in treating eye disorders and diseases in cats and dogs. We are fully equipped with advanced diagnostic testing at our in-house veterinary diagnostics lab, and can conduct eye examinations and eye surgery for pets. 

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.

Are your cat's eyes watering, or do they appear to be infected? Contact our Vancouver vets to book an eye examination for your feline friend.

We Welcome New Patients

Columbia River Veterinary Specialists is accepting new patients by referral and for emergency services. Our experienced emergency vets  and specialists are passionate about the health of Vancouver companion animals. Ask your vet today about a referral.

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