What causes watery cat eyes and need to see a veterinarian?

If you wake up one morning and find that one of your cat’s eyes is looking a bit strange, you may be wondering if that requires a visit to the vet. What does it mean if your cat has watery or watery eyes, or if your cat blinks or paws at its eye? We know how to deal with watery cat eyes.

What causes watery cat eyes? Photography © 2002lubava1981 | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

First, what causes watery cat eyes?

“A number of things can cause your cat to tear excessively,” says Ari Zabell, DVM, Dipl.-Ing. ABVP, Director of Client Advocate Support for Banfield Pet Hospital in Vancouver, Washington. “Generally, it falls into two categories: things that block the normal flow of tears and things that cause excessive tears.”

According to Dr. Tears flow from Zabell’s eyes to his nose when things are going normally. “That’s why your nose runs when you cry,” he says. “A number of factors can block this flow, such as inflammation, infection, swelling, or simply the shape of your cat’s face. Excessive tears are usually caused by things that cause inflammation, such as: B. Infections (bacteria, viruses or fungi), allergies or even something that grows into the eye like a tumor or even just a hair. “

Other causes of watery cat eyes include scratches or eye injuries, or a foreign object stuck in the eye like a grass seed or a tiny bit (just think of how much your own eye soaks if you have an eyelash between the eye and the lid).

Brachycephalic cat gets its eyes or tears cleansed.

Brachycephalic cats or cats with flat faces are more likely to have watery eye problems. Photography © Bebenjy | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Are some types of cats and breeds of cats caused to have watery eyes?

Sometimes these watery cat eyes can be caused by the shape of your face and eyes. Brachycephalic cats (or flat-faced cats) often have watery eyes. When a cat has a flat face, small nose, and large, round eyes, tears tend to run down the edges of their eyes.

Some cats are also genetically predisposed to produce more tears than other cats. Watery cat eyes and the resulting tear stains (those unsightly brown streaks under the eyes) are common in cat breeds such as the Exotic Shorthair, Himalayas and Persians. In general, this will not harm the cat as long as nothing else is done to the eye (always check with your vet to be sure), although you should wipe the eye area regularly to keep it as clean and dry as possible to prevent skin irritation .

When do watery eyes warrant a visit to the vet?

If your cat does not generally have watery eyes but suddenly you notice excessive tearing, visit the veterinarian to get to the bottom of things. This applies regardless of whether your cat’s eyes have clear, watery discharge or thicker, yellow or green-colored eye discharge. Other symptoms of watery cat eyes that need veterinary treatment include squinting or blinking, pawing or rubbing the eye, red or inflamed eye tissue, a cloudy eye or discharge from the nose and eyes.

“There are a number of ways your vet can assess your cat’s eyes, such as: B. to examine the damage to the eye structures (inside and outside), to measure the pressure in the eye and to evaluate the production of tears and normal flow of these tears, ”explains Dr. Zabell. “After determining what is normal and what is not, they will be better able to determine what may be the underlying cause and work with you to develop a treatment plan that is necessary and appropriate.”


If your cat is diagnosed with an illness that requires medication, your veterinarian may send you home with eye drops or ointment. Cats aren’t always the most compliant patients, but your vet or veterinary technician will show you how to successfully administer the drug before you leave the hospital.

Some general rules include working in a quiet area where your cat is less stressed or distracted. Delivering medication to your pet on a table instead of the floor; and reward your cats before, during and after treatment so that they have positive associations with medication and are less likely to hide under your bed before the next treatment, ”advises Dr. Zabell.

When using eye drops or ointments, try not to touch the eye dropper or the tip of the tube with the surface of the cat’s eye. Ointment may be easier to apply than drops. So ask your vet about your options before leaving the appointment.

Thumbnail: Photography © Maria Diana Gonzales | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

This piece was originally released in 2018.

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