The best thing you can do for your feline fur kid from kitten hood is to clean her face regularly with a warm, wet, soft washcloth. And at the same time, wipe her eyes. By establishing this simple routine, you are ensuring that she will tolerate having drops or ointment put in her eyes without too much fuss should she ever develop any eye problems that require treatment.
Cats have a third eyelid, called the nictitating membrane, which is a thin cover that closes from the side and appears when the cat’s eyelid opens. If this membrane remains partially closed, it’s a sign that your fur kid is sick and needs to be seen by a vet.
Regular grooming sessions are an opportune time to do a general eye health check. Always take a minute to check your kitty’s eyes to make sure that they are clear, clean, and not runny. Taking note of changes that may indicate a problem can also save your feline pal from unnecessary discomfort or serious problems down the road if left untreated.
As with humans, red eyes are a red flag that something is wrong and that your fur kid is going to need your help in determining the cause. Generally, redness is a nonspecific sign of inflammation or infection. It may affect one or both eyes, depending on the cause of the problem. Pay close attention if your feline appears to be pawing or rubbing her eyes, squinting, or keeping an eye closed. If symptoms persist or worsen, take your cat to the vet and be sure to tell him about all the signs you observed.
Although felines don’t suffer from a broad spectrum of eye ailments, feline conjunctivitis is very common. It usually starts off as an upper respiratory infection caused by the feline herpes virus type 1 (FHV-1). The virus is ubiquitous in the cat world. In fact, ophthalmic veterinarians categorically state that every cat on the planet has been exposed to it. Often, it passes from a mother cat to her kittens during the birthing process.
Kittens commonly go through a period of having runny eyes. It’s like kids having runny noses. Eventually, their immune system begins to fight back and prevents this type of infection from becoming an ongoing problem. In fact, a cat with a competent immune system is able to generate her own antibodies within seven to ten days. Should the condition linger, however, it can become a problem when it gets into the cornea because it can cause it to ulcerate. And, if not treated quickly, your cat can lose sight in the affected eye.