9 Min Read
Kitten Eye Infections: What To Watch For
Why pet owners are switching to online vet care with Dutch
Prescriptions delivered free to you
Fast access to Licensed Vets over video
Unlimited video visits and follow-ups
Your cat’s eyes aren’t just pretty to look at. In fact, they can tell you a lot about your cat’s health. Your cat’s eyes can alert you when they’re not feeling well and can sometimes even show signs of more serious health issues. This is why it’s so important to be aware of the symptoms of eye infections in kittens. This way, you can catch infections as soon as they start.
A kitten eye infection can result from a variety of health conditions, including allergies, bacteria, feline herpes, and more. Understanding the common causes of kitten eye infections will help you get treatment as quickly as possible, and proper treatment depends on a vet’s diagnosis. Your vet will have the best idea of the primary cause of the infection and how to go about handling it.
In this blog post, we’ll explain the various symptoms of eye infections in kittens, potential causes of eye problems, treatment options, and more. If you’re curious about the symptoms, causes, and potential treatment for a kitten eye infection, continue reading. Otherwise, you can use the links below to navigate to any section of your choice.
- Symptoms of Eye Infections in Kittens
- Causes of Eye Problems in Kittens
- Treating Eye Infections in Kittens
- Kitten Eye Infection: Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Notes
Symptoms Of Eye Infections In Kittens
There are many different symptoms of eye infections in kittens, which depend on the cause of the issue. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Red or pink hue in the whites of the eyes
- Swollen eyes
- Weepy or teary eyes
- Crusty eyes
- Blinking or squinting
- Rubbing eyes
- Eating less food
- Acting lethargic
- Murky, cloudy eyeballs
- Pupils of uneven sizes
In order to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of eye infections, it’s a good idea to look at kitten eye infection pictures. This will help you have a better idea of what an infection looks like so that you can identify it as quickly as possible. The earlier you notice your kitten has an eye infection, the sooner you can get them the treatment they need to get better.
Causes of Eye Problems in Kittens
There are a host of health conditions that can cause your kitty to experience eye problems. We’ll get into more detail about the common causes of eye problems in kittens below:
Allergies in kittens are a common cause of eye infections. Likely culprits of kitten allergens include fleas, pollen, chemicals, and parasites. In addition to eye problems, other symptoms of cat skin allergies can include excessive scratching or licking, hair loss, and sores. A cat ear infection is another typical sign of allergies. If you notice your cat exhibiting any of these symptoms along with an eye infection, they’re likely suffering from allergies, and you should seek medical attention promptly. Allergies in cats can be treated with corticosteroids, decongestants, or antihistamines. It’s also crucial to reduce your cat’s exposure to the allergen itself.
Various bacterial infections, such as chlamydia and mycoplasma, can also lead to eye infections in kittens. In the event of a bacterial infection, the infection must first be addressed in order to resolve any eye problems. A bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by your vet.
Viral infections, such as herpesvirus and calicivirus, can also cause a kitten eye infection. A viral kitten eye infection will typically resolve on its own, but there are things you can do to help your kitty feel more comfortable. This includes using eye drops or ointment to ease symptoms. As always, make sure to consult with your vet before putting anything on or near your cat’s eyes.
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye as it’s otherwise known, is another common cause of eye infections in kittens. Conjunctivitis occurs when the thin mucous membrane that’s located on the outer surface of the eye becomes inflamed. In kittens, conjunctivitis can be caused by infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This illness is typically treated with eye drops, topical ointments, or oral antibiotics.
Feline herpes is prevalent in cats and can be the culprit of your kitty’s eye infection. A kitten with feline herpes will likely have upper respiratory problems, conjunctivitis, and possible corneal ulcerations. There is no cure for feline herpes, but it can be managed by reducing stress in your cat since stress can trigger symptoms.
Blepharitis is an inflammation and infection of a cat’s eyelids. It can be caused by allergies, tumors, eyelid trauma, and even diabetes. Symptoms of blepharitis include swelling of the eyelids, discharge, and scratching at the eyes. Blepharitis can be treated with topical ointments or eye drops if an infection is present. Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed to treat the underlying cause.
Keratitis, otherwise known as dry eyes, can also cause a kitten eye infection. Keratitis usually occurs in conjunction with other conditions, such as conjunctivitis or allergies. In addition to dry eyes, a kitten with keratitis may also experience excessive blinking, swollen eyes, and light sensitivity. A kitten with keratitis will likely be prescribed eye drops to stimulate tears or antibiotics if an infection is present.
Feline upper respiratory infections
Certain upper respiratory infections can cause eye problems in kittens. In this case, your cat will exhibit cold-like symptoms, such as nasal discharge and sneezing, in addition to an eye infection. Feline upper respiratory infections can usually be treated with oral antibiotics or antiviral medications.
Uveitis is an inflammation of the internal structure of a cat’s eyes and is typically caused by trauma, cancer, immune deficiencies, or infections. Uveitis is very painful for cats and can even lead to blindness if it goes untreated. Topical eye medications and anti-inflammatory drugs can be prescribed for treatment. If the uveitis is due to trauma, then treatment will involve repairing the injury.
Epiphora, also known as watery or teary eyes, can be caused by blocked tear ducts, allergies, viral conjunctivitis, or an overproduction of tears. In order to treat epiphora in cats, a special instrument will need to be inserted into the eye ducts to flush out the contents.
Treating Eye Infections in Kittens
If your cat is experiencing eye problems, it’s important to have them immediately seen by a veterinarian. Eye issues that are left alone can develop into vision problems, and in some cases, even blindness. Treating a kitten’s eye infection ultimately depends on what’s causing it, so you need to identify the primary cause.
There are various ways you can go about treating eye infections in kittens, such as:
Clean your kitten’s eyes
If your vet gives you the green light, you can clean your kitten’s eyes at home. This is an appropriate kitten eye infection home remedy that you can easily do with a cotton ball. Just dip the cotton ball into water and wipe away any discharge from your kitten’s eyes, starting from the corner to the outer portion of the eye. Just make sure to use a new cotton ball for each eye to avoid cross-contaminating.
Depending on what is causing your kitten’s eye infection, your vet may prescribe medication. This can include antibiotics, topical ointments, eye drops, or antiviral medication. For example, if your kitten’s eye infection is due to feline herpes, your vet may prescribe Lysine as treatment, which is an amino acid supplement that produces antibodies and enzymes that help support the immune system.
If your cat’s eye infection results from underlying conditions, your vet may prescribe oral antibiotics to help treat the primary issue, which may clear the eye infection. In any case, your vet will have the best idea about what medication will work for your kitten.
Kitten Eye Infection: Frequently Asked Questions
How do you treat a kitten's eye infection?
There are various ways to treat a kitten’s eye infection, but it ultimately depends on what’s causing it. Some of the most common kitten eye infection treatments include antibiotic ointment, eye drops, and oral antibiotics.
How can I treat my kitten's eye infection at home?
A great and effective way to treat your kitten’s eye infection right at home is by cleaning off their eye discharge with a wet cotton ball. This will keep their eyes clean and prevent discharge from accumulating and becoming uncomfortable. You can also apply a warm compress to their eyes to prevent the lids from sticking together.
How long does it take for a kitten eye infection to heal?
In most cases, a kitten eye infection will heal relatively quickly. Whether your cat was prescribed antibiotics or eye drops, it should not take longer than two weeks for their eye infection to heal. However, if their eye infection does not get better within two weeks, bring them to the vet ASAP. Eye infections that are left untreated can lead to blindness.
A kitten eye infection is not something to take lightly. Eye infection in kittens can lead to permanent blindness, so as soon as you start to notice your kitty’s gunky, red eyes, bring them to the vet immediately. Doing so can prevent further complications from developing and help your cat feel better.
If you don’t have the time to physically bring your cat to the vet for eye infections due to allergies, Dutch will bring the vet to you. Dutch is an online telemedicine service that connects pet owners to licensed veterinarians. Whether you’re dealing with an itchy cat, cat diarrhea, or a kitten eye infection, Dutch-affiliated vets can help diagnose and treat numerous cat health problems. You’ll receive a specialized course of treatment for your kitten and get it sent right to your doorstep, so you can go about treating your cat as quickly as possible.
We believe every animal and pet owner deserves access to pet care, which is exactly what you’ll get at Dutch. When you sign up on Dutch, you’ll get high-quality pet care at the click of a button, so your furry friends can get treatment right when they need it.
Conjunctivitis, Cornell Feline Health Center, https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/conjunctivitis
Allergies of Cats, Merck Vet Manual, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/cat-owners/skin-disorders-of-cats/allergies-of-cats
Feline Viral Upper Respiratory Tract Disease, Merck Animal Health USA, https://www.merck-animal-health-usa.com/nobivac/feline-viral-upper-respiratory-tract-disease