Treating a Cat With a Swollen Eye

For a cat, swollen eyes can mean immense pain and discomfort. There are many reasons for a cat's eye to become swollen, sometimes until it cannot be opened. In most cases, if your cat's eye has become swollen, you should visit the veterinarian as soon as possible. There are also home remedies that can be applied to ease the swelling and pain.

Causes of Swollen Cat Eyes

There are several possibilities that may lead to a swollen eye in a cat::

  • Conjunctivitis: The conjunctiva of the eye is a mucous membrane that surrounds the eyeball, and sometimes becomes infected. When this happens, we call it conjunctivitis, or pink eye. This is a very painful disease for a kitty that can be caused by a number of different things. With conjunctivitis, the swollen eye is often accompanied by discharge from the eye that is either clear, or purulent.
  • Scratches: Cats may accidentally have their eyes scratched during play or a fight with other cats. When this happens, the eye itself is damaged and may have become infected, leading either to pink eye or an ulcer.
  • Foreign Item: A cat with a swollen eye may have also been poked, possibly while crawling around in brush. If an item were to become lodged in the eye, it is possible for an infection to form.

Remedies for a Swollen Cat Eye

If your cat has a swollen eye, depending on the cause there are a number of things you may do:

  • A warm compress: Sometimes a warm compress held gently on the eye will reduce swelling and discomfort. Only do this if there is no foreign object lodged in the eye.
  • Ointments and eye drops: If the cause of the swollen eye is Conjunctivitis, you may be able to treat it with ointments or eye drops. Eye Easy is an ointment highly recommended for cats with pink eye.
  • Antibiotics: If the swelling is due to a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be necessary to treat it.

Warnings for Cat Care

Always try to examine the eye before attempting any remedies. Sometimes an object may be lodged in the eye. If this is the case, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Take your cat to your vet.

Do not medicate a cat's swollen eye with antibiotic cream or eye drops that are not for cats. There are specific medications for cats, and using human eye drops may damage the cat's eye further. Additionally, some topical ointments can cause further discomfort to a cat.

Be aware that cat eye infections may not respond to antibiotics.

Dangers of an Untreated Swollen Eye

A swollen eye in a cat that goes untreated may easily develop into a more serious problem. When there is swelling, there is a good chance that the eye is already infected, and medical attention should be sought. Failure to do so may result in permanent vision problems or even blindness in the afflicted eye. Some cats have even gotten quite ill after being exposed to a bacteria or virus while having an open wound.

For a cat, a swollen eye can be a painful and unpleasant ordeal. Even after a vet visit and a possible prescription, other treatment may sometimes be an option to help reduce your cat's suffering and aid in the healing process.