Last updated: October 6, 2016
I adopted one of our cats from the street right outside our apartment building. It was a 2-month old orange tabby kitten roaming the dusty and dangerous streets on its own. I named her Ginger. Ginger quickly adapted to our home life and instantly caught the attention of our white Persian cat, Zany.
Ginger was such a precious tiny kitten then and we were so afraid and nervous every single time something happened to her. This included that one time that she had an eye infection. One of my younger sisters noticed how one of Ginger’s eyes was squinting and was flowing with tears. The nervous wrecks that we were, we tried opening up her eye gently and saw that her sclera or the white part of her eyes, turned pinkish red. Needless to say, my sisters and I rushed Ginger to the vet and quickly got a diagnosis.
Cat Eye Infection
Humans are no strangers to the regular eye infection or the occasional sore eyes, but when it comes to cats, kittens are usually the ones who contract “conjunctivitis”. Conjunctivitis is the infection of the conjunctiva which is the pink connective tissue attached to the eyelids and the sclera of the eyes of cats. Conjunctivitis is commonly contracted by newborn kittens from their birth or even from an unclean environment.
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
There are many tell-tale signs that cat owners can look out for in order to determine whether a cat’s eyes are infected. One of the most obvious symptoms of conjunctivitis is the redness of the whites of the eyes. A cat owner would instantly notice that there’s something wrong with their cat’s eyes, especially when their upper and lower eyelids are sticking together because of a watery discharge that has dried and crusted up.
Taking a closer look at the cat’s eyes will also reveal other symptoms such as the eyelids sticking to the front of the cat’s eyes. A pus-like discharge is also another distinct sign of a cat eye infection. This can be a clear liquid running down from the cat’s eyes as well. There can also be cases of an ulcerated cornea, which means that sores have developed on the surface of the eyeball. Other symptoms include a bulging or collapsed eyeball.
Causes of Conjunctivitis
There’s a plausible reason why kittens are usually the ones that contract cat eye infections. This is because the infection is commonly passed from a cat mother who might have had a vaginal infection during their pregnancy. Cat eye infections can also be caused by an environment that is unclean for newborn kittens. The dust and dirt can easily penetrate a kitten’s eyes and infect them.
There are also cases when young adult cats or adult cats also contract this common cat eye infection. In this case, they could have gotten it from another cat that they are frequently in contact with. Conjunctivitis is an infection and is easily passed on from one cat to another by simply being in the same room.
Risks of Conjunctivitis
Although, most cat owners consider a cat eye infection to be a light ailment and are often not bothered too much about it, if left untreated a cat eye infection can lead to other serious cat eye disorders. A cat eye infection can quickly spread and damage other parts of the eyes that will ultimately lead to permanent vision impairment for cats.
A cat eye infection may actually be a red flag for some other severe disease that would need immediate attention and treatment. Cat eyes, just like human eyes are one of the most important senses for a feline. Without it, a cat is more likely to be in danger from other pets or animals and they are more likely to be vulnerable to everyday situations. A blind cat is essentially an endangered cat.
The veterinarian would usually slowly open a cat’s eye, gently separating the upper and lower eyelids. They would then moisten it with eyedrops and wash away any foreign objects or infected cellular matters inside the cat’s eyes. After which, a warm compress is applied to them to prevent the upper and lower eyelid sticking back together again. The veterinarian would then prescribe an antibiotic ointment to be applied to the cat’s eyes in certain intervals.
Back at home, the veterinarian would ask for cat owners to continue to treat the cat’s eyes with a warm compress so that the eyelids would stay apart. Of course, the antibiotic medication must be continuously administered at home as well. If there are other cats in the household, the veterinarian would usually recommend isolating a cat with an eye infection away from those that do not, as they can be infected with the condition as well.
However, for unforeseen circumstances such as an emergency situation or the veterinarian being unavailable for an immediate consultation, cat owners could always try their own trusted home remedies for the meantime. Although, it should be understood that once an infection is in place, a check-up with the veterinarian would be the best solution to treat cat eye infections. Home remedies are temporary fixes that can also bring comfort to a cat’s eyes from time to time.
The use of cotton wool is advisable to wipe away watery discharges running down from the cat’s eyes. This can be added with a saline solution for better relief, applying a moist warm tea bag held against the cat’s eyes is also a good home remedy. The tea bag’s tannin contents have inflammatory properties that will surely help with the agitation from the eye infection.
The advances in medicine have made it possible for both humans and animals alike to equip themselves with the necessary vaccinations for the prevention of contracting common infections and diseases. The same goes for cats. Initially, a kitten would need a total of 3 vaccinations starting from the age of six weeks. This will help them fight off most cat infections including cat eye infections. After which, a booster must also be given every year so that their immune system is always at the ready.
Other people think that they are better off with having cats, because they perceive them to be more independent than other pets such as dogs, when in fact, any loving and caring cat owner would know that having a cat for a pet is more than just having a cute companion to show off pictures of in social media.
Cats are just like any other pet or animal out there. They also need constant love and attention. When cat owners take the time to look after their cats so very carefully and provide for their every need, then they will have a healthy and happy cat with them.