How Can I Treat my Cat's Eye Infection AT HOME?

9 comments Feb 27, 2023byVeronic Fournier

One of the things that you should look out for when you've got a feline family member is cat eye infection. It is a relatively common condition and many cats are prone to this health issue at some point in their lives.

Besides causing a lot of pain and discomfort, cat eye infections can also significantly affect your pet's overall quality of life if not properly dealt immediately. It's even possible that a cat's eye infection can result to permanent blindness if neglected!

I'd just like to point out this early that this blog post is all about cat eye infection treatment done right . We're going to cover the essential things you need to know about this illness so you can provide your pet with the right support should this condition pop up unexpectedly.

Our discussion will also include the symptoms of eye infections in cats, the possible factors that cause them, as well as other relevant information. And while we're at it, I'll also guide you on how to treat conjunctivitis in cats from the comfort of your home.

How about we kick things off by having an overview of what cat conjunctivitis is?


What is Conjunctivitis in Cats?

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Cat conjunctivitis occurs when the conjunctiva of the eye gets inflamed. The conjunctiva is the transparent tissue covering part of the eyeball and the inside of the eyelids. Its primary function is to lubricate and protect your cat's eyes.

And unlike what a lot of people mistakenly believe, this form of cat eye infection is not just going to affect flat faced cats!

Conjunctivitis—also referred to as "pink eye"—is a very common type of cat eye infection. Your feline family member will go through this health problem sooner or later. However, it can be easily prevented from progressing into more serious eye problems if you just have the right know-how.

Now let's check out the possible factors that can make your cat prone to feline conjunctivitis...


Causes of Cat Eye Infection like Conjunctivitis in Cats

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When it comes to cat eye infections like conjunctivitis, there are a number of causes that can be attributed to their development. They can be triggered by a bacterial infection, a fungal infection, a viral infection, an underlying illness or by inflammatory disorders.

For this part, we will focus on feline herpes as well as feline chlamydia. These two must be considered as prevalent infectious agents in your pet care checklist when conjunctivitis in cats is concerned.


Feline Herpes Virus

Technically referred to as FHV-1, this virus primarily attacks a cat's upper respiratory system while causing damage to the other parts of the body like the eyes, throat and nose. One of its key symptoms is feline conjunctivitis.

Various studies show that about 97% of cats worldwide will be exposed to FHV-1. Moreover, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) stresses that around 80% of cats can become latently infected with the same.

Most cases that involve this cat eye infection take place in crowded shelters. Should there be even one kitty infected with cat herpes, it can easily spread to others leading to more viral infections. The manifestation of this virus usually lasts 10 to 14 days.

One very important thing you have to take note about herpes in felines is that it is usually accompanied by rhinotracheitis, a type of acute respiratory disease. The combination of an upper respiratory infection and viral conjunctivitis can be very critical if your pet has a weakened immune system or an underlying condition.

If you have two or more feline family members and one starts exhibiting signs of herpesvirus conjunctivitis, make sure you isolate him as soon as possible to avoid passing it to your other pets.


Feline Chlamydia

While cat eye infection isn't the first thing you think of whenever chlamydia in felines is mentioned, it is surprisingly one of the bacterial infections that can set off this health problem.

Attributed to the Chlamydophila felis bacteria, your cat will mainly display signs of lethargy and may also experience a mild fever coupled with mild respiratory issues like wheezing and sneezing. A cat's eye will normally appear red and swollen during chlamydia and will also release a milky or yellowish discharge. 

Apart from these two pathogens, there are also other possible reasons why your pet is experiencing a cat's eye infection such as feline conjunctivitis. These include autoimmune reactions from an underlying cause, the presence of foreign bodies and injuries that affect the optic mucous membrane and inner corner of the eyes.


What are the Symptoms of Cat Eye Infections like Cat Conjunctivitis?

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Conjunctivitis is also called "pink eye" because this cat's eye infection gives it a noticeable pinkish or reddish tinge. Aside from this symptom, here are the other indicators of conjunctivitis in cats that you should keep in mind:

  • Swollen eyes
  • Frequent blinking of the affected eye
  • Watery eyes
  • Your cat keeps his eyes closed for long periods
  • Crusty eye discharge (sometimes yellow or green)
  • Rubbing or scratching at the outer surface of the eyes 
  • The nictitating membrane (or the third eyelid) is prominent
  • Eyes of infected cats are sealed shut in severe cases

It is important to remember that these clinical signs can also be observed in cats suffering from other health problems like corneal ulcers, allergic reactions, flare ups in dry eyes, a blocked tear duct, feline calicivirus (FCV), feline leukemia virus, feline herpesvirus as well as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

This is why it is essential to spend a few minutes each day to have an eye examination with your feline family member to diagnose conjunctivitis and apply the proper eye medications immediately. If it is a more serious issue, bringing your cat to the vet is necessary.


How to Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats

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As regards the effective treatment of cat eye infections like conjunctivitis, identifying the root cause is critical. We need to check if it is triggered by a bacterial infection or some other infectious causes to correctly establish a treatment plan.

There are some forms of feline conjunctivitis that can be treated with eye drops and topical ointments. Others may require anti inflammatory drugs or antiviral medications. There is also the possibility of a foreign body or the possibility of allergies.

Some cases of this illness may even require a fluorescein stain test and urine tests just to pinpoint what the real problem is.

If your cat is also experiencing significant respiratory problems—like in herpes in young cats—a trip to the vet may be necessary. On the other hand, anti inflammatory medication, oral antibiotics and topical medications, among others, will be needed when directly treating these eye infections.


Natural Home Remedies to Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats

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And without further ado, here are some tips that can help deal with your cat’s conjunctivitis at home. Besides being simple, these home remedies will also involve ingredients and items that you can easily find around the house.


Cleaning and irrigation

A homemade saline solution can help clean and irrigate the eyes during a case of pink eye. It won't just stimulate the cessation of eye discharge—particularly those accompanied by secondary bacterial infection—but also help reduce inflammation. Here's a no-fuss recipe you can use:

  • Combine 1/4 teaspoon of salt with a cup of lukewarm water.
  • Soak a cotton ball or a clean gauze in the solution and gently wipe your cat's eyes.
  • Carefully remove any eye discharge or crusty bits.
  • Do not do this when you've just applied eye drops or similar eye medication 



A warm or hot compress can do wonders for your pet's eye infection! Just remember to place them on your cat's eyes a few minutes at a time about three times a day. This helps dilate the tear ducts and facilitate the flow of eye secretions.

Additionally, using a compress also has benefits to usual effects of secondary bacterial infections like a runny nose. Nasal discharge can be staved off with regular compress use.


Homeopathic Natural Product

Zumalka's CLEAREYE is made from natural ingredients and it is designed to help soothe cat eye issues. Whether you're dealing with an allergic reaction caused by environmental allergies or cat eye infections like conjunctivitis, this premium product is one natural option to consider.

CLEAREYE can be used to either help prevent eye infection or support your cat's eyes when infection is present. Compared to conventional eye drops, topical ointment and oral antibiotics, this product won't trigger any adverse side effects.


How to Prevent Conjunctivitis in Cats

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Adding a daily L-Lysine supplement to your cat's food is one strategy you can go for. This essential amino acid slows the progression of infection by a virus and may even prevent its recurrence.

As silly as it sounds, putting a cone on your pet's head will also help speed up cat eye infection treatment. This will prevent him from rubbing his eyes with his paws, which can lead to bacterial infection.


How long does Conjunctivitis in Cats last?

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The short answer is it depends.

If the cause of the illness is viral, it is generally active between 10 and 14 days. Alternatively, if its origin is bacterial, it will depend on your pet's body's response to the treatment you've chosen to deal with this health issue.  


Is Conjunctivitis Contagious for Cats and Humans?

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The short answer is no. This health problem is only very contagious among cats, especially kittens whose immune systems haven't fully developed yet. This is the reason why cats infected with pink eye should be isolated immediately.

However, it is still highly recommended that you wash your hands thoroughly after handling your cat's face or his body in general since there may be other harmful bacteria that you can be in contact with.

I completely understand if you're still on the fence about going natural to give your feline family member the quality of life you've always wanted. Please do consider visiting our Testimonials section to check out some reviews from some of our happy and satisfied pet parents.



About the author

Veronic Fournier
Veronic Fournier


VĂ©ronique Fournier shares her extensive pet health know-how on Zumalka through her articles.

VĂ©ronique’s background as an animal wellness advocate began in CĂ©gep La PocatiĂšre in Quebec, which led to comprehensive internships and training with respect to the breeding, rehabilitation, and monitoring of various types of animals. The institutions she has worked with include the Quebec Aquarium and the SOS Miss Dolittle shelter, just to name a few.

Her immersion with various veterinary clinics in British Columbia and other places has made Veronique not just knowledgeable, but also quite perceptive in zeroing in on the right strategy to help keep pets in the best of health.

And can we get you in on a secret? Veronique shares that she has already made a lot of canine pals due to her stint as a foster mom in several shelters. Isn’t that cool?


  • HOMEOANIMAL June 27, 2022 at 2:36 pm

    Dear Barbara,
    What a big heart you have to take in 10 kittens being sick with eye infections!! Kudos! It is possible that they contracted coryza which is a common cat cold. It can be very catching to other cats and even deadly to little kittens. Here is an article that can help you with natural home tips:
    Here’s What to Do When Your Cat Has the Flu (Coryza)
    I hope this helps!!

  • HOMEOANIMAL June 27, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    Dear Karen,
    I am so sorry to hear about your dog’s ear infection. We have just the article for you:
    HOW TO TREAT My Dog’s Ear Infection Without Going to the Vet?

    I hope you find great home tips here!

  • Barbara Fearn June 27, 2022 at 2:36 pm

    Well, I walked outside yesterday and I have 10, I REPEAT, 10 baby kittens. They look to be 3 weeks old, wabbling around. I got my hands on 3 of them, and their eyes are shut with hard crust, mucas, one of them red swollen eyes. I did get a warm paper towel and got a lot off. I’m sure they all have the same thing. By the way, they are feral kittens. I’m not sure who the mother is. What’s the best thing for me to use. Can’t afford taking 10 to the vets.

  • Karen June 27, 2022 at 2:30 pm

    My dog has ear infections, how can I treat him at home. I cant afford, at the moment to take him to a vet. He scratches his ears till he actually whines.

  • HOMEOANIMAL October 26, 2021 at 10:06 am

    Hi Teresa, Thank you for your message and excellent question. I hope that this article has given you some good home tips to help your cat! We have also sent you private emails so that we can help your cat in a more personalized way.
    We look forward to working with you!

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