Non-Surgical Treatment of Cataracts in Cats

Non-surgical treatment for cataracts is ideal for cats that cannot undergo anesthesia. These treatment options can also benefit pet owners that don't want the risks of surgery or the expensive cost.

Cataracts in Cats

When a cat has cataracts, the lens of the affected eye appears cloudy. As a result, light doesn't reach the retina efficiently and the cat can't see as well.

Signs that a cat may have cataracts include a change in how the eye looks. Since the cat can’t see as well, he may run into objects or look clumsy. He may also be hesitant to go up and down stairs, and will avoid jumping up or down from objects.

Non-Surgical Treatment of Cataracts in Cats

Treating cataracts with non-surgical means can help prevent glaucoma, retinal detachments and infections of the eye. One of the first things a veterinarian will do when a cat is diagnosed with cataracts is figure out what caused them. Treating the underlying cause first will help make sure the ocular condition does not get worse.

Usually non-surgical treatment involves the use of special prescription eye drops. Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drugs may be prescribed if there is inflammation or an infection of the eye. Reducing the inflammation in a cat's eye can stop or slow down the progression of cataracts. When used over a period of 6 months, eye drops with the ingredient N-acetylcarnosine (NAC) can help improve a cat’s vision if he has cataracts.

Some vets will also recommend supplementing a cat's diet with antioxidant vitamins E, A and C to help slow down the development of cataracts. Zinc, a mineral, is found naturally in the tissue of a cat's eye. A zinc supplement can help protect the eye from further inflammation and damage, when used appropriately.

Another natural home remedy some cat owners try is flaxseed oil and a separate mixture of pure MSM and saline. Flaxseed oil is well known for its benefits to the health of the eye when ingested. Some cat owners have placed a couple of drops of flaxseed oil in the affected eye. A solution of 1 teaspoon of pure MSM and 1 ounce of a soothing saline safe for the eyes is made in advance, and a couple of drops of the mixture are placed in a cat's eye 10 minutes after administering the flaxseed drops. The MSM solution may sting for a couple of seconds; this is normal. After a few days of placing the drops in a cat’s eye several times throughout the day, white material can be seen in the corner of the cat’s eye. This is part of the cataract that’s being eliminated from the cat’s body. This routine continues until the cataract is gone.

Consult a veterinarian that is familiar with alternative medicines before administering any natural remedy in a cat’s eye or body. If a cat has developed cataracts, but isn’t a good surgical candidate, non-surgical treatments may be a good option to help clear up the condition.