Pink Eye in Cats: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Pink Eye in Cats

Pink eye in cats (conjunctivitis) is the most frequently occurring condition among all the feline eye conditions. It happens when the conjunctiva, a thin membrane that covers the inner side of their eyelids and the eyeball’s outer surface, swells up and reddens. Most cats contract conjunctivitis at some point in their life. 

Pink eye causes a discharge of fluids and creates many irritating symptoms for the feline. Treatment and remedies depend on the underlying factors of the disorder.

Symptoms of Pink Eye in Cats

Several common signs indicate your cat might’ve contracted conjunctivitis, Those include:

  • Incessant squinting
  • Regular and continuous blinking
  • Reddening around the eye’s soft tissues
  • Colored fluid discharge at the corners, mostly cloudy or yellow, or thick and dark-colored (depends on the cause)
  • Excessive watering, and
  • Upper respiratory illness

Your cat may not show all of these above symptoms. If their eyes show a sign of them being irritated, it’s time to contact your veterinarian. Only they’ll be able to diagnose and find out if it is conjunctivitis or something else. Concerning upper respiratory illness, if your feline is sneezing, has watery and red eyes, take them to the vet immediately. 

Causes of Pink Eye in Cats

Infectious causes

The most common cause, in this case, is viral rhinotracheitis and calicivirus, or any of the following two bacteria- mycoplasma or chlamydophila. Also, immunocompromised cats affected by FIV, feline immunodeficiency, or FeLV, feline leukemia, are more like to experience this.

Non-infectious causes

On the other hand, the non-infectious type of conjunctivitis in cats is frequently brought about by allergens or foreign particles disturbing your pet’s eyes. Environmental factors like certain components in shampoos, smoke, or mold can cause discharge or redden the eyes. Airborne substances and dust can contribute to the cause. Exposure to certain outdoor plants can also trigger a condition known as allergic conjunctivitis. 

Frequent exposure to affected cats having viral infections certainly affects other cats. It makes them prone to contracting and developing the disease. Bacterial causes can also aggravate the airborne virus, commonly known as ‘dry eye.’

Treatment for Pink Eye in Cats

How can I treat my cat’s eye infection?

It takes time, patience, and a little bit of perseverance for these treatments to work. If a cat is diagnosed with an infection caused by a virus, veterinarians usually prescribe oral and external cat antibiotics. Vaccinations also help to prevent future infections. In extreme cases, surgery might be necessary to remove any foreign blockages that are found in their eye.

Ointments and drops

First, vets take a culture of their eye to find out the reason for the infection. If they find out allergies are the reason for their conjunctivitis, they will prescribe hydrocortisone drops.

(Don’t use hydrocortisone drops if your feline might be experiencing herpesvirus FHV-1)

Recommended by vets

Zoetis Antibiotic Ophthalmic Ointment

Set a timeline for applying the ointment. People who have purchased this have had successful results. 

  • Shows signs of improvement within 24 hours
  • It is cheap and available at your nearest drugstore and online

Call your vet to figure out how you should apply the ointment to your cat.

Check out this video on how to apply ointment to your cat’s eyes.

For pink eye caused by FHV-1 (herpesvirus)

Pink Eye in Cats
Once the cause has been identified, vets will recommend the following for these diseases. Kindly follow through the infographic above for the necessary information regarding your cat’s medication.

Conjunctivitis caused by this certain virus may not be gone entirely just because the eye shows signs of clearing up. It lays dormant for some time, only to come back stronger and resilient than before. Vets prescribe anti-viral medicines if it relapses.

All medications prescribed by professionals cannot completely cure the herpes virus. Instead, the medications try to remove the infection from the eyes and let the affected area heal.

It may take some manpower to hold your cat for you to administer the medicines properly. 

Experts have pointed out, in most cases, conjunctivitis clears up without any medication. However, pet owners must seek professional care if they notice apparent fluid discharge and discomfort to make sure their pet is not suffering from a more serious disease.

Home remedies

Experimental home remedies depend entirely on you. This video acts as a guide for home remedies applicable for cats with a pink eye.

You can also try three holistic remedies by Veterinary Secrets. Watch here

Preventing Pink Eye in Cats

If your feline contracts the non-infectious type of conjunctivitis, you need to think about what items they might’ve come in contact with that may have caused the allergic reaction. It could be pollen from the trees, or a new perfume, or a certain ingredient in the new shampoo. Using the process of elimination, try and find out until you go to see the vet.

If you’re a multi-cat household, keep your healthy cats far from the infected one. Isolation might be hard on the litter, but it’s necessary to keep the others safe and healthy. This way, you can make sure your cat won’t be patient zero for spreading pink eye to all the cats they meet.

But if the pink eye keeps recurring, there might be a serious problem behind this. Have the vet look into it and prescribe more assertive treatment.