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Healthy Cats

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Why Are My Cat's Eyes So Watery?

That coating on your cat’s eyes plays a major role in keeping them healthy.

Known as the tear film, this layer removes debris. It keeps her eyes moist and provides nutrients. It also fights bacteria. Sometimes that watery discharge is a sign that your cat’s eyes are in full fight mode against a threat to her health.

Most of the time, the cause is minor and will clear up on its own. But if you see these signs, a checkup at the vet is in order.

Are the tissues around her eyes inflamed and red?

If you see this in one or both eyes, along with a watery discharge, there’s a good chance she has conjunctivitis. You may know it by its nickname, pinkeye.

It's the most common eye problem for cats. An infection, an allergy, or even dust can bring it on. It’s contagious, so most cats will have it at least once in their lives. They can get it at any age, but it most often affects young animals.

Feline herpes virus also causes pinkeye. Your cat can get shots to protect her from this, but she could have picked it up when she was a kitten. If she has the virus, she’s infected for life. But the vaccine can reduce her symptoms.

Easing her stress can prevent flare-ups. If she has an outbreak of herpes-related pinkeye, your vet will prescribe antibiotics and an antiviral drug for you to use.

Pinkeye often clears up without treatment. If you see discharge and your cat seems to be in pain, take her to the vet. He’ll make sure that a more serious problem isn’t causing her symptoms.

Is the discharge sticky or yellow?

Your cat probably has an infection. Lab tests can help your vet figure out what’s causing the problem.

  • Clear mucus means your cat has a virus. The vet will tell you to wait and see if it clears up on its own in a week or two.
  • Green or yellow mucus suggests a bacterial infection. You’ll probably get antibiotic eyedrops or ointment to treat it with.

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