Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert

UPDATED: Nov 18, 2020

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It’s very common for cats to have watery, goopy or even a little crusty discharge around the eyes.

While it typically isn’t something to be concerned about, it can at times indicate an eye problem that needs to be looked at by your veterinarian.

There are a few reasons why your cat will have watery eyes, discharge or even eye boogers (those little pesky, crusty hard pieces on the corner of the eyes!).

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Eye Discharge in Cats | Should You Be Concerned?

If your cat typically has discharge from the eye, which is dry and slightly brown and crusty, it is usually nothing to worry about.

While most eye discharge is caused by airborne allergens, just as with humans, most cases concerning pets do not point to a significant problem.

However, if your kitty has watery eyes all the time and or any discoloration in the discharge, you should make an appointment to see your veterinarian.

If you have pet insurance, these veterinarian bills should be covered with your plan. If you’re confused about pet insurance, we can help.

It’s an extremely common occurrence in cats, especially depending on the age of the cat.

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Commonly Affected Breeds of Eye Discharge

Due to the shape of the face, Persians, Himalayans, some Tabbys, and other cats with short noses and large, round eyes might have more eye leakage than other cats.

This might be normal, but if your cat’s eye discharge is excessive, ask your vet. A daily wipe around the area is typically all you need.

Related: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance

 

Eye Discharge Symptoms

Atypical eye discharge is, however, a sign of a problem. In some cases, mucus could be caused by a simple cold or a more serious illness could be the culprit.

The type of discharge helps clarify the cause.

If your cat has any of the below, take your cat to the vet:

  • Clear discharge with no redness or pain points toward a problem in the tear duct department.
  • Clear discharge with redness in the eye could indicate conjunctivitis (commonly known as pink eye), such as from a viral infection.
  • Puslike discharge (green or yellow), sticky and stinky, along with a red eye, could indicate conjunctivitis, such as from a bacterial infection.
  • Discharge accompanied by pain in the eye could be a sign of cornea or inner eye problems. Signs that your cat is in pain may include constantly pawing at her eye, excessive tearing or sensitivity to light.
  • Yellow or green discharge is not normal and indicates a medical issue.

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Causes of Abnormal Cat Eye Discharge

Cat eye discharge is a sign of many different eye diseases and disorders, including:

  • Corneal ulcers
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Entropion (an eyelid that rolls inward, allowing the hairs on the skin to irritate the eye)

Your veterinarian will examine your cat and possibly perform certain tests to find out what exactly is causing your cat’s eye discharge.

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Prevention of Eye Infections

Bacteria can breed in mucus and cause eye infections.

Check your cat’s eyes often for redness, changes in color or shape, or discharge.

Tips to Safely Wipe Your Cat’s Eyes:

Use a soft, wet cloth to gently wipe away any discharge. Make sure to find a cleaner that is labeled as safe to be used around the eyes, and avoid any product that contains alcohol.

Dip a cotton ball in the water. Wipe away the eye discharge, always from the corner of the eye outward. Use a fresh cotton ball for each eye.

Steer clear of any over-the-counter drops or washes unless your vet has prescribed them.

Here is a short video from the ASPCA that explains more about cleaning a cat’s eyes:

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We have worked hard to provide you with all the free resources possible to help give you insight into the best pet insurance for cats, additional cat breeds info, common cat health issues, and a fun look at frequently asked cat questions

 

Learn more about common cat health problems:

Arthritis in Cats, Cancer in Cats, Declawing Cats, Diabetes in Cats, Eye Infection in Cats, Hypoallergenic Cats, Hyperthyroidism in Cats, Overweight Cats, Vomiting Cats