Does my cat have an eye infection?
A cat eye infection can affect various parts of the eye area and may appear in one or both eyes. Here are some of the signs that your cat is suffering from an eye infection:
- Redness and swelling around the outer lids, conjunctiva, and the third eyelid
- Discharge from the eyeball
- Squinting, blinking, or holding the eye closed for an extended period of time
- Light sensitivity
- Pawing at the eye
- Crustiness around the eye
What causes eye infection in cats and what are the different types of cat eye infections?
Just as eye infection can produce varying symptoms, there are numerous causes of eye infection. Your cat’s infection could be bacterial, viral, or fungal. Their symptoms may also be caused by an irritant, not an infection. It can be difficult to identify the cause of your cat’s eye infection unless you get them tested.
Here are a few of the most common reasons your cat may be suffering from an eye infection:
Your cat may have contracted a herpesvirus, a chronic viral infection that can cause recurring outbreaks throughout your cat’s life. Herpesvirus affects the cat’s nose, eyes, throat, and mouth. This infection of the upper respiratory system is one cause of eye infection.
Along with herpesvirus, calicivirus is the most common cause of flu-like symptoms in cats.
If herpesvirus or calicivirus is the cause of your cat’s eye infection, you’ll likely notice other flu or cold symptoms in conjunction with the eye irritation. Also, both eyes will typically be affected.
Kittens, with their weak immune systems, are particularly vulnerable to eye infections. They can be affected at birth if their mother had an infection or the surroundings were unclean.
Your cat may also have a stye – a bacterial infection of the sebaceous gland. A stye appears on the edge of your cat’s eyelid and might look like a pimple.
Natural Remedies for Cat Eye Infection
If your cat has an eye infection caused by a herpesvirus, lysine can help.
Lysine is an essential amino acid that can inhibit the reproduction of a feline herpesvirus. How does that work? Herpesvirus needs another amino acid, arginine, to reproduce. When your cat takes lysine, the virus will use it instead of arginine. Saturated with lysine, the virus can’t replicate. To avoid the preservatives and fillers that appear in many lysine supplements, we recommend using a natural lysine treatment for cats.
Boric acid for cat eye infection
Boric acid is a mild water-soluble acid that appears in many human eye treatments. Occurring naturally, this acid is natural and gentle enough to use for your cat’s eye infection. It works as an antifungal and antiseptic. Combine a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of boric acid powder. A few drops of this solution, when dropped into your cat’s eye, can help to alleviate the infection.
Tea bags to soothe your cat’s eye infection
Warm tea bags are a classic folk remedy for eye infections. The damp bag can help to clear out the gunk that may have accumulated on your cat’s eye. If your cat’s symptoms are caused by a foreign object stuck in the eye, this eyewash can help to move it out of your cat’s eye. Brew a tea bag, let it cool for 15-20 minutes, and then gently press it on your cat’s eye. You can do this a couple of times each day for as long as your cat will tolerate it.
In keeping with the above tea bag treatment, any warm compress can help your cat with their eye infection. A warm, moist rag held over your cat’s eye can help to alleviate itching, burning, and crustiness. It can also help to eliminate the swelling associated with a stye.
Eye infection in cats home treatment
While your cat is suffering from an eye infection, there are some things you can do to help manage the situation. If your cat has been scratching or pawing at their eye a great deal, an Elizabethan collar can help keep the eye safe.
While your cat is showing symptoms of an eye infection, keep a close eye on them and record your observations. Depending on the cause of the infection, your cat’s symptoms could continue for a varying length of time.
Natural prevention of cat eye infection
Cats who go outdoors and roughhouse in dirty environments face the possibility that something could get in their eyes and cause an irritation or infection. Keeping your cat’s environment clean is important, especially when they’re kittens. Immunocompromised cats, in particular, are highly susceptible to eye infections and require a sanitary environment.
If your cat is carrying a feline herpesvirus, stress can cause the disease to resurface, so managing stress can help to minimize the likelihood of an eye infection.