Cat Pink Eye Symptoms

Cat pink eye or feline conjunctivitis is an eye infection or irritation that causes inflammation of the tissue that lines the eyelid. Cat pink eye irritation can occur as the result of exposure to irritants like pollen, or as a result of fungal, bacterial or viral infection. Feline conjunctivitis is not usually life-threatening, but it can cause permanent damage to the eye and even blindness. Let's learn more about this common cat eye infection.

Causes of Cat Conjunctivitis

Feline conjunctivitis, or cat pink eye, occurs when the lining of the eyelid becomes irritated or infected. Allergies and irritants such as pollen, dust, mold, or plant matter can cause the inflammation, swelling and discharge of feline conjunctivitis. Foreign objects may also fall into the eye, causing irritation and swelling.

Bacteria, viruses and fungi can also cause cat pink eye. Sometimes, feline conjunctivitis is the result of a serious infection, such as feline herpes virus (FIV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FeLV). Some eye infections can be very contagious to other cats.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis in Cats

Your cat's pink eye symptoms may vary, depending on their cause. Irritations caused by allergies or exposure to irritants and foreign objects cause pinkness and inflammation of the tissues around the eye. The eyelid and the tissues around the eye may swell. Your cat may have trouble closing his eye and a watery discharge may emanate from the eye. 

If your cat's pink eye is the result of bacterial, viral or fungal infection, swelling and inflammation are generally accompanied by a thick discharge that is green or yellow in color. This discharge may gum up the eyelids and make them stick together. 

Cats with pink eye almost always squint the affected eye or eyes, regardless of the cause of their condition. Pink eye can cause your cat some discomfort, and he may rub the affected eye with his paw, or against soft objects such as upholstered furniture and carpet.

Treating Conjunctivitis in Cats

If your cat's pink eye is the result of allergies or irritants rather than infection, treating may simply involve washing the eye regularly with an irrigating solution. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed. 

If your cat's pink eye is the result of infection, your cat will need antibiotics, anti-fungals, or anti-virals to treat it. Eye drops or eye ointments may be prescribed. These must often be administered every few hours. If infection is severe, oral medications may be administered in addition to topical ones. 

Cats usually recover from pink eye in one or two weeks. Your vet will probably recommend that you continue administering medication for a short time, even after your cat's symptoms have cleared up and his infected eye looks normal. 

If your cat is suffering from pink eye symptoms, it's important that you seek treatment right away. Pink eye in cats can be a sign of serious illness. Even if you don't suspect infection, feline conjunctivitis can lead to permanent vision problems, and even vision loss.