Conjunctivitis in Cats: Causes, Symptoms and Solutions

Conjuntivitis en Gatos: Causas, Síntomas y Soluciones

In this blog we will tell you everything you need to know about conjunctivitis in cats; what it is, its causes, its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and much more. Stay reading.


What is conjunctivitis in cats?

Conjunctivitis in cats is an inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids and the white part of the eye. This condition can be caused by a variety of factors that we will break down later. Additionally, inflammation of the conjunctiva is typically characterized by swelling of the conjunctiva and red eyes. Finally, the kitten may present one eye that is more closed than the other, as well as signs of discomfort, pain and eye discharge.

Causes of conjunctivitis in cats

As we mentioned, the causes of conjunctivitis in cats may be associated with the following factors:

Viral or bacterial infections

Infections are a common cause of conjunctivitis in cats. This can include viral infections such as feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) or feline calicivirus (FCV), as well as bacterial infections such as chlamydia or bordetella.


As in humans, allergies can trigger inflammation of the conjunctiva in cats. This may be due to allergens in the environment, such as pollen, dust, dust mites, mold, or chemicals.

Strange bodies

The presence of foreign bodies in the eye, such as dust, hair or other foreign materials, can irritate the conjunctiva and cause conjunctivitis.


Although less common, tumors in the eye tissues can cause inflammation of the conjunctiva and other eye problems in cats.

Eye Trauma

Injuries to the eye, such as scratches, bumps, or scrapes, can damage the conjunctiva and cause conjunctivitis.

Other systemic diseases

Some systemic diseases, such as immune system disease or autoimmune disorders, can cause eye inflammation in cats as part of their symptoms.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis in cats

Eye redness

Conjunctivitis often causes visible redness on the sclera of the eye (the white part of the eye) as well as the edges of the eyelids.

Excessive tearing

Cats with conjunctivitis may produce more tears than normal, which may be evident by the presence of moisture around the eye or even visible tears running down the cheek.

Swollen eye

Inflammation of the conjunctiva can cause the eye to look swollen or appear more bulging than normal.

Eye discharge

Cats with conjunctivitis often have abnormal eye discharge. This discharge may be clear, watery, mucous, yellow, or greenish, depending on the cause of conjunctivitis.

Pink eye

Inflammation of the conjunctiva can cause the eye to appear pink or pink due to increased blood flow and vascular congestion.

Scratching or rubbing the eye

Due to the irritation and discomfort associated with conjunctivitis, it is common for cats to scratch or rub the affected eye with their paws, trying to relieve the discomfort.

How is conjunctivitis diagnosed in cats?

Diagnosing conjunctivitis in cats usually involves a complete physical examination by a veterinarian, as well as evaluation of the cat's symptoms and medical history. Additionally, your veterinarian may perform several tests to determine the underlying cause of conjunctivitis. Some of the common diagnostic methods include:

Eye exam

The veterinarian will carefully examine the cat's eyes to assess the degree of redness, inflammation, presence of discharge, swelling, and any other signs of abnormality.

Fluorescein staining

This test involves applying a fluorescein solution to the cat's eye. Fluorescein glows under ultraviolet light and can reveal the presence of corneal lesions, such as ulcers or abrasions.

Culture and analysis of ocular discharge

If there is significant ocular discharge, the veterinarian may take a sample of it for bacterial or viral culture. This can help identify the organism causing the infection.

Lab tests

In cases of suspected viral infection, such as feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) or feline calicivirus (FCV), the veterinarian may recommend serological or molecular testing to detect the presence of these viruses.

Allergy tests

If an allergic reaction is suspected as the cause of conjunctivitis, your veterinarian may perform skin or blood tests to identify specific allergens.

In case your pet does not like going to the vet or these visits make him hyperactive, I recommend that you give him natural supplements from the Waggy's brand, such as catnip or specific products to calm cats with CBD for cats , which can help reduce anxiety and hyperactivity. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving any supplements to your cat.

How long does conjunctivitis last in cats?

The duration of conjunctivitis in cats can vary depending on the cause and the effectiveness of the treatment administered. In some cases, conjunctivitis can resolve within a few days with proper treatment, while in other cases it can persist for several weeks or even longer if the cause is not properly addressed.

Is conjunctivitis in cats dangerous?

Conjunctivitis in cats, while it may be a common eye condition, should not be underestimated in terms of its potential danger to feline health. Complications can range from discomfort and pain for the cat, to the possibility of more severe ocular complications such as corneal ulcers, secondary infections, and even partial or complete loss of vision. Additionally, if conjunctivitis is infectious in nature, there is a risk of spread to other cats in the home or feline community. Therefore, conjunctivitis in cats should be treated seriously and promptly, seeking appropriate veterinary care to prevent complications and promote the complete recovery of the affected feline.

Treatment for conjunctivitis in cats

Some of the treatments that your veterinarian can recommend for your michi may be the following:


If conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection, topical antibiotics, such as eye drops or ointments, or systemic antibiotics, such as tablets or injections, may be given to combat the bacterial infection and prevent its spread.


If inflammation is present, topical anti-inflammatories, such as drops or ointments, or systemic, such as tablets or injections, may be given to reduce inflammation and relieve discomfort associated with conjunctivitis.


If conjunctivitis is caused by a viral infection, antivirals may be prescribed to combat the virus and control associated symptoms.

Eye cleaning

Regular cleansing of the eyes with sterile saline or cooled, boiled water may be necessary to remove ocular discharge and any foreign bodies present, which may help relieve irritation and prevent secondary infections.

Lubricating eye drops

Lubricating eye drops may be prescribed to moisten the eye and reduce irritation, providing additional relief to the affected cat and helping to protect the surface of the eye.

How to prevent conjunctivitis in cats?

Preventing conjunctivitis in cats involves taking steps to reduce the risk of exposure to common triggers and maintain the cat's overall eye health:

Regular visits to the vet

Taking your cat for regular checkups with the veterinarian can help detect and treat any eye problems early before they become a more serious problem.

Eye hygiene

Maintaining proper eye hygiene can help prevent the buildup of dirt and bacteria around the eyes. This may include gently flushing the eyes with sterile saline solution or cooled, boiled water when necessary to remove ocular discharge.

Clean environment

Taking care of cat grooming and hygiene and keeping your cat clean and free of allergens, dust, smoke and irritating chemicals can help prevent allergic conjunctivitis.


Keep vet-recommended vaccinations up to date, such as feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus vaccine (FCV), can help prevent viral infections that can cause conjunctivitis.

Learn about the vaccine guide for cats by clicking on the link.

Injury prevention

Preventing your cat from being exposed to situations that could cause eye injuries, such as fights with other animals, sharp objects, or dangerous environments, can reduce the risk of developing traumatic conjunctivitis.

Parasite control

Keeping your cat protected from external and internal parasites, such as fleas, ticks and worms, can help prevent diseases that can affect the eyes and cause secondary conjunctivitis. It is advisable that the veterinarian proceed to deworm the cat. 

Balance diet

Providing a balanced and adequate diet such as the barf diet , as well as maintaining a healthy body weight, can strengthen the cat's immune system and reduce the risk of diseases that can predispose to conjunctivitis.

Is conjunctivitis in cats contagious to humans?

In the case of bacterial conjunctivitis, some of the bacteria that affect cats can also cause conjunctivitis in humans. However, direct transmission of the infection from a cat to a human is rare and usually requires close, direct contact with the cat's infected eye discharge.


In summary, conjunctivitis in cats is a common eye condition that can be caused by a variety of reasons, including infections, allergies, and injuries. Typical symptoms include redness, eye discharge, and discomfort. With accurate diagnosis and timely treatment, which may involve antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, or antivirals depending on the cause, most cats make a full recovery. Prevention, through good ocular and environmental hygiene, as well as maintaining the cat's general health, are key to avoiding the recurrence of conjunctivitis. It is always important to seek veterinary care if conjunctivitis is suspected to ensure the cat's well-being and eye health.

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