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Eye Care for Cats
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Marty Smith, DVM
Grooming and Sanitation
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Checking cat's eyeHealthy eyes of cats are moist and clear. If there is redness or swelling, or if your cat squints or you see a discharge of mucus, these may be indications of an eye infection. Monitor your cat's eyes closely and do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you suspect something is wrong. Your cat's eyes are too valuable to take any chances.

To properly care for your cat's eyes, be sure to:

  • Keep eyes clear of mucus at all times. Infections are often caused by bacteria that overgrow on mucus. Use a sterile eyewash and/or eye wipes to keep the eye area clean. This is especially important in young kittens who may have considerable eye discharge resulting from upper respiratory infections.

  • Apply a protective ophthalmic ointment under the top lid to protect the eyes before bathing, facial cleanings, and insecticide treatment. Even 'tearless' shampoos can irritate if too much gets in the eyes or if it is not rinsed out soon enough.

  • Persian catKeep all hair out of your cat's eyes since scratches to the cornea (the clear membrane across the surface of the eye) can result from contact with hair. In long-haired cats, when it is necessary, trim the hair using only blunt-nosed scissors, cutting parallel to the edge of the eyelid. This is especially important where the skin folds near the eyes in breeds like Persians.

  • 'Tear staining' is a common problem with particular breeds of cats, especially Persians, and can get unsightly if not taken care of. Tears are bactericidal, which means they kill the bacteria that can cause infections of the eye. Normally, tears flow across the surface of the eye and quickly drain through the tear duct. This discoloration at the corners of the eyes is caused by normal tears that spill out and lay on the surrounding hair. For breeds that tend to have tear stains, you could clean hair in affected areas at least weekly with a tear stain remover product.

 
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