Watery Cat Eyes: What Do You Need To Know About This Condition?


If you happen to wake up one morning and got to notice that the eyes of your cat looks a bit odd, you may wonder if it is something that needs a vet visit. What does it mean if the cat has watery or teary eyes? Or if your cat is pawing or squinting its eye? In this article, we are going to discuss about the facts you need to know about watery cat eyes. Read on to learn more about this cat condition.

Watery Cat Eyes: What is this condition?

The watery eyes, also known in the vet world as epiphora, is referred to as an atypical overflow of the tears. Vets usually see this condition in the brachycephalic cat breeds, just like the Persians and Himalayans. These cat breeds are known to have congenital abnormalities that cause an excessive exposure of the eyeball into the outside world. Furthermore, watery eyes is in connection to two other congenital abnormalities as well, including entropion and distichiasis. These are conditions wherein the eyelashes or the eyelids turn inwardly, thus causing irritation on the eyeball.

In case the cat has allergies, a foreign object that is trapped in the eye, or a particular viral infection same as the common cold, its eyes might become extremely watery for a short period of time. nevertheless, if the eyes of the cat have been unusually watery since birth or for an lengthy period of time, the problem might be the symptom of an illness, which needs some veterinary attention.

Water Eyes in Cats: Causes                                        

The watery cat eyes may be due to a number of  health complications, yet it is usually seen in the short-faced cats. The brachycephalic breeds of cat or the short-faced cats are genetically inclined to having bulging eyes and short noses. Moreover, the outset of the eyes aren’t safe from pollen, dirt, as well as some other elements, which may scratch and make the eyes inflame. This is now what causes the watery eyes of the cat. Further, the condition wherein the portions of the eye become scratched, denoting to the eyes’ conjunctiva, is what they call conjunctivitis. Some other causes of the watery eyes in cats may include the following:

  • Entropion or the inwardly turning of the eyelashes
  • Distichiasis or the irregular growth of the eyelashes
  • Blockage of the tear duct, which is due to a structural deformity or inflammation of the tear duct due to a secondary condition
  • Feline Leukemia Virus
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis
  • Distemper
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Parasites
  • Trapped foreign entities in the eye
  • Facial bone fractures
  • Scratches
  • Trauma
  • Glaucoma –an eye condition, which cause damage to the optic nerve, usually seen in the older cats
  • SCC or squamous cell carcinoma –an extremely rare, yet the most typically seen eye-connected tumor in cats. The most common to get this condition are the white cats.
  • Eyelid tumors

Watery Eyes in Cats: Symptoms

Watery cat eyes is somewhat easy to recognize, most especially in the white-haired cats. This is since the overproduction of the tears may cause their fur some staining. Some other symptoms of watery eyes in the cats include the following:

  • Ulceration of the cornea
  • Droopy skin all over the eye orbit
  • Eye discharge
  • Squinting
  • Eye inflammation
  • Red eyes
  • Eye scratching

Watery Eyes in Cats: Prognosis

Whatever information with regards to the medical history of the cat, as well as its behavior, which you can give to the vet may help him/her in the prognosis. In order to pinpoint the cause of the watery cat eyes, the vet might also perform the following:

  • Lab analysis of the cultured discharge from the eye.
  • An MRI, a CT scan, or radiographs to check for some internal irregularities within its skull.
  • Tonometry test, which is performed for the evaluation of the intraocular fluid or pressure in the eye. This particular test is usually done for the ruling out or prognosis of glaucoma.
  • A Schrirmer test –a test that uses small strips, in order to evaluate the tear levels of the eye.
  • Flourescein stain test that view the eye trauma, which aren’t easily seen. This one is a non-invasive test, which not cause any pain to the cat. The vet simply stains the eyeball and shines some blue light in the eye for inspecting purposes.
  • Allergy test, which helps in ruling out the allergies as its cause.
  • Physical examination.

Watery Eyes in Cats: Treatments

The treatment for the watery eyes in cats will mainly depend on the primary cause. The treatments for watery cat eyes might include the following:

  • Pain relieving ointments, which aid healing of congenital abnormalities, conjunctivitis, and trauma.
  • Topical antibiotics for the treatment of the infection.
  • Antihistamine treatments to manage the allergies.
  • The removal of the foreign entity that’s lodged into the eyes.

In case there is a tear duct blockage, the use of catheter might be essential in opening the duct and allowing the fluid to pass. Furthermore, surgical repair of the eyelid might be essential in treating the abnormal formation of the eyelid.


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