Eye discharge is a common ailment in cats, and can be the result of a number of conditions, ranging from a mild topical irritant that is overstimulating tear production in the eye, to serious eye diseases, such as corneal ulcers or glaucoma. Taking the time and patience to identify the consistency, colour and other symptoms in the eye discharge can be helpful in understanding the cause and best course of treatment for your feline's ocular ailment.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- One cup of clean, warm water
- Soft cotton cloth
When the discharge is noticed, gently restrain the cat to better identify the characteristics of the substance being secreted from the eye. A blanket can be used to securely wrap the cat and prevent the feline from struggling or injuring itself when examining the eye.
Identify the characteristics of the eye discharge. Look for texture, colour, thickness, quantity and whether any blood is present. Document these attributes, along with the approximate date that the discharge appeared.
Take a soft cotton cloth and dip a corner into warm water. Ensure that the water is not hot by testing the temperature on the inner skin of your arm. If the water does not feel too warm on your inner arm, it should be comfortable for the cat. Gently wipe the cat's eye, starting in smooth downward strokes. Continue stroking in one direction until the eye discharge is cleaned away. As needed, dip the cloth into the warm water to ensure that the discharge is being cleaned away from the eye.
Do not scrub the eye or apply very much pressure to the eye area. This is a very sensitive part of the cat's body, and needs to be handled exceptionally gently.
When the secretions from the cat's eye have been gently wiped away with the clean water and cloth, slowly release the cat in a calm, smooth manner. It is important to be quiet and subdued around the cat, since he is likely experiencing discomfort from whatever is irritating his eye, and you want to avoid causing any additional stress or anxiety in the animal.
Once the cat is released, call the veterinarian to discuss the documented characteristics of the eye discharge. This information will help the vet determine if the symptoms of the ocular secretions are indicative of a serious ailment, or appear to be characteristic of a minor tear duct irritant.
Identifying discharge characteristics
Tips and warnings
- Approach the cat in a calm and quiet manner to avoid stressing the animal.
- If the cat is uncomfortable being restrained in a blanket, having another person assist by holding the animal or wiping the eye is an alternative approach.
- The cloth being used to clean the eye can be rinsed out or rotated to ensure that the discharge is being wiped out of the eye, and not being pushed into the eye.
- Depending on the cat and the discomfort it may be feeling, use caution when approaching the animal. If the cat is panicked or in visible pain, contact your veterinarian.
- Use extreme caution if the feline becomes aggressive while attempting to clean the discharge.
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