Feline Eye Problems



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It is common for cats to get feline eye problems. Many get blocked tear ducts. Sometimes this follows an upper respiratory infection. Sometimes it's genetic, resulting in an abnormal confirmation of the face/nose and the extremely small passageways that result.



QUESTION:

I'm writing to ask a question about feline eye problems. We have a 7 yr old orange tabby named Miss Marple. She just saw the vet last month. She received her yearly shots, had her teeth cleaned and was in good health.

Her eating habits haven't changed. She loves food. She keeps herself well groomed. She is an active outdoor cat. Likes to catch birds.

The fur close to her eye on the nose is becoming brown colored, both sides. There is sometimes a little dried mucus by or from her eyes. Her eyes look clear and don't seem to bother her.

She has always drooled when we pet her or when we feed her. I haven't really noticed any changes except she sleeps more now that the weather is cool.

Maury


ANSWER:

Feline Eye Problems come in many different forms. Fortunately, Miss Marple's does not sound serious. When a cat's fur under the eyes has chronic mucous accumulation or even just tears spilling over onto the fur, the furbecomes discolored and the color is most often a brownish color.

Since Miss Marple just recently had an examination by a vet and had her vaccines and her teeth cleaned, I assume she is healthy. Also, you say she is grooming herself, still active, and is eatingwell. You also describe her eyes as looking clear and not bothering her. Sleeping more due to cold weather, and even due to her being 7 years old and not a kitten anymore, is normal.

It is common for cats to get blocked tear ducts. Sometimes it's following an upper respiratory infection. Sometimes, it's genetic from the confirmation of the face/nose and the extremely small passageways that result. Persian cats are a good example. I have never seen a Persian that didn't have chronic runny eyes and that's because tears are spilling onto their faces due to the flat face and narrowed tear ductsacquired through breeding.

I have also seen this condition result from aging and weight loss. While I can't say what caused this to begin in Miss Marple or whether it will be permanent or will subside, I feel comfortable saying it is most likely tears spilling from her eyes. When the moisture sits on the skin and fur, normal bacteria degrade/feed off it and the result is brown.

Fortunately, this is of no real consequence. It doesn't hurt her vision; it doesn't shorten a cat's lifespan. It simply means that, primarily for aesthetic reasons, cat eye care for Miss Marple will include wiping her face under her eyes daily.

Thank you for writing and sharing this with us. Feline Eye Problems can be very serious. Fortunately, it does not appear that Miss Marple's is in that category.

Best,
Dr. Neely

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