Cat Health: Eyes are Red

by Cheryl
(Racine, WI)

<center>image by Fab4chiky </center>

image by Fab4chiky


My cat, Lizzy, woke up today with a red eye and it is now beginning to get puffy as well. She loves to chase centipedes and eat them. We also have wasps that are in and out of the house on occasion.

What could this possibly be from??

I plan on watching the eye closely for another day to see if its possibly a bite or a sting and to see if it goes down.

What else could I do to determine what it may be, and to make her more comfortable? She doesn't seem to be in pain with it though.

Thank You ,

Dear Cheryl,

Cats do indeed occasionally get bitten or stung around the eye by an insect and the area becomes red and swollen. However, much more common is conjunctivitis from a viral infection or secondary to trauma to the eye. Does your kitty go outdoors? Do you have other pets in the house that could have scratched the eye?

When you say the eye is red, I don't know whether you mean the surface of the eye, the cornea, or the tissues around the eye inside the eyelids called the conjunctiva.

Eyes are so important obviously and there are so many different eye conditions that can occur in cats that I would have to say a trip to the vet is necessary.

If the cornea of the eye (the clear surface covering the green area, with the black pupil in the center, in the above photo) looks similar to the photo, and the tissue around it is the red and swollen part, you can possibly wait until tomorrow and monitor it closely.

On the other hand, if the cornea itself has red vessels across it or is cloudy, you should go to the vet right away.

As far as doing anything meanwhile, the best thing is probably nothing. If it's a bite and going to get better on its own, it will and it will happen fairly quickly. If it's an infection or trauma, it will still look the same tomorrow or even worse and needs vet attention.

Again, eyes are important and damage to them can be irreversible, so it's always better to err on the side of caution.

Thanks for writing,
Dr. Neely

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