If you’ve noticed your cat’s eyes watering excessively, then it’s expected that you might feel concerned.
The eyes are more than just the windows into the soul—they can also be a key indicator of health. This becomes especially important with our pets, who are unable to speak to us directly about how they’re feeling. And while watery eyes might not be a symptom of something serious, it’s worth learning more about the causes so that you know whether you should seek additional care for your cat.
With that in mind, here are some reasons you might notice moisture in or around your cat’s eyes, including some additional signs that it’s time to call the vet.
Possible Reasons for Watery Eyes in Cats
A cat’s eye watering and squinting could signify that something is going on with your kitty. The most common causes of watery eyes in cats include:
- Conjunctivitis (“pink eye”): caused by a bacterial or viral infection
- Upper respiratory infection
- Foreign object in the eye
Known as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis is an infection of the conjunctiva, which is the mucus layer covering the front of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. Both humans and cats have conjunctiva, which is why you may already be familiar with this term.
Conjunctivitis can occur from either a bacterial infection or a viral infection. For instance, if your cat has come into contact with another cat with the virus.
Watery eyes caused by a conjunctivitis infection may appear wet, gooey, or red and may be accompanied by squinting or excessive blinking. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a visit with your vet to discuss possible medications.
Like us, cats can suffer from seasonal allergies or allergies to certain foods or substances. These allergies are congenital, which means your cat is born with them, and while they aren’t curable, they can be managed with limited exposure to the allergen.
In addition to watery eyes, a cat with allergies may also experience sneezing, itching, snoring or experience vomiting, or diarrhea. If you’re concerned your cat has allergies, work with your vet to identify the possible allergen so you can do your best to remove it from their environment.
Upper Respiratory Infection
An upper respiratory infection like a cold may look quite a bit like allergies, but unlike allergies, it should clear up on its own within a few days. If you notice watery eyes coupled with sneezing, itching, coughing, or other cold-like symptoms, keep a close watch on your kitty, and if they’re not better after three or four days, make an appointment with the vet.
Your cat’s watery eyes may result from a foreign object that has made its way into the eye and is either still there or has scratched the cornea. In either case, it warrants a visit to the vet if you cannot remove the object yourself or there is an apparent scratch.
My Cat is Sneezing and Has Watery Eyes: Now What?
It’s always better to be safe than sorry about your cat’s health, so a vet visit is in order if you’re worried about their watery eyes. This is especially true if their watery eyes are accompanied by other symptoms like sneezing, coughing, redness, itchy skin, or different types of discharge.
The exact treatment method for your cat’s watery eyes will depend on what your vet has deemed to be the most likely cause of the issue. Standard treatment methods include:
- Eye rinse
- Medication for a viral infection, such as antibiotics or eye drops
- Allergen elimination
- Cone, to keep your cat from scratching their eye
The best thing you can do for your kitty is to stay vigilant and seek care as soon as possible if it appears that they are injured or ill. Also key is to keep up-to-date with regular check-ups, including an annual wellness visit.