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Conjunctivitis in Cats

Conjunctivitis in Cats

Redness in the affected eye, frequent squinting, eye discharge, increased sensitivity to light, etc., are some of the common symptoms of conjunctivitis in cats. This write-up provides information on this feline condition.
Smita Pandit
Feline conjunctivitis, which refers to conjunctivitis in cats, is an eye condition that is characterized by the inflammation of the conjunctiva. Conjunctiva is the membrane that lines the eyelids and serves as a protective barrier by trapping debris. This membrane can become inflamed due to infections or allergies. The inflammation can give rise to swelling, redness, and eye discharge. The cat's eyes may not open fully.

Contributing Factors and Symptoms

Generally, viral, bacterial and fungal infections are the most common causes of pink eye in cats. This eye condition could occur due to exposure to pathogens such as feline herpes virus and Chlamydophila felis. Inflammation could also occur due to trauma to the eyes or due to exposure to irritants and allergens.

It is not very difficult to detect cat pink eye, the reason being the prominent and visible symptoms. An inflamed conjunctiva can be easily detected due to swelling, redness, and eye discharge. As far as the quality of the eye discharge is concerned, it could be watery or thick, depending on the underlying cause. The cat might squint, blink, or paw its eyes frequently. While the discharge is thick and yellowish/greenish in color in case of infections, it is clear in case of allergies. In case of an infection, the cat's eyelids might stick together due to the discharge.


Generally, a conjunctival swab is taken from the infected eye to diagnose the underlying cause. The veterinarian might also check for corneal ulceration by using the fluorescein staining test. The treatment will depend on the cause. If this condition has been caused due to some irritant falling in the cat's eye, taking out the foreign object will solve the problem to a great extent. Bacterial infections can be treated with the help of antibiotic drops and ointments. If pink eye is caused due to an allergy, antihistamines and anti-inflammatory medications might be required to treat the inflammation. In mild cases, flushing the eyes with warmed saline, eye irrigation, and warm soaks may help to a great extent. You must clean the discharge and use cotton balls soaked in warm water to loosen the crusted eyelids. You can also use artificial tears to wash away irritants. Generally, most pet owners wonder if this condition is contagious to humans. Conjunctivitis is not an air-borne disease, so you wouldn't be affected if the cat sneezes in your presence. However, it would be better if you take certain precautions. You must use a dropper to put the medicated drops into your cat's affected eye. After administering any medication to your cat, you must wash your hands with an antibacterial soap.

If you observe the aforementioned symptoms in your cat, consult a veterinarian soon. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can help alleviate the symptoms and ensure a speedy recovery.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.