Conjunctivitis Treatment For Cats

Cats aren't immune to eye infections. Irritants in the home or injury are the most common causes, with basic conjunctivitis often the result. Outdoor cats may be more likely to develop an infection, since they are often exposed to more irritants or they may fight with other cats, but indoor cats aren't immune. The following guide can help you understand, recognize, and treat eye infections in your cat.

Cat Eye Basics

A cat's eye is slightly different than a human. Not only is their pupil different, they also have a third eyelid. This third lid is a membrane that closes vertically over the eye, beneath the horizontally closing outer lids. It's generally not visible unless there is an injury to either the eye or the inner lid. This doesn't mean that only the inner lid and eye is prone to injury and infection, though. The outer lid can also suffer damage, but it tends to be more obvious due to swelling and redness.

Infection Symptoms

The following are some of the most common symptoms of conjunctivitis:

  • Eye rubbing and redness.

  • Discharge.

  • Issues opening one or both lids.

  • Blinking and squinting.

There may also be a visible injury if this is the cause of the infection. Even a small cut can allow in bacteria and germs that then result in an infection.


Treatment is best done under the guidance of a veterinarian. This is because some more severe eye problems, like glaucoma, may imitate conjunctivitis in the early stages. The vet can ensure that it is just simple infection before proceeding with treatment. Generally, you will be given eye drops and instructed on their use. If there is an outside injury, an ointment may also be prescribed. Make sure to use these as prescribed and for the length of time instructed to ensure that the infection is completely cured. Your vet may allow you to bring your cat in for eye drop dosing if you have difficulties getting your pet to cooperate at home.

Prevention Methods

Keeping your cat indoors can prevent infections from fights with neighborhood cats, which can lead to less eye infections. In the home, make sure there are few irritants that are accessible to your cat. As a general rule, any fragrance, cleaning chemical, or substance that makes your eye itch or water is likely also affecting your cat. Watering eyes can lead to rubbing, which can lead to conjunctivitis. Once the infection is healed, continue to perform a daily check of any new symptoms. This way, you can catch and treat any future eye problems before they become severe.