What It Means When Cats’ Eyes are Watering


Like humans, cats produce tears to clean and protect their eyes from environmental factors such as dust. However, excessive production of tears or watery mucus signifies an underlying condition. When left untreated, your feline friend’s condition could worsen. It would be prudent to take them to the vet. Before that, here is what it means when cats’ eyes water.

How to know if your cat eye-watering is serious

Tears or light mucous coming from your cat’s eyes means they have an eye infection due to a virus or bacteria. It could also be due to an allergy or a foreign object entering their eyes. The symptoms of eye issues include:

1. Watery and glass-looking eyes

According to Memphis Veterinary Specialists, cats are allergic to various agents, and anything in or out of your house can cause it. They include cleaning supplies, mold, colognes, or pollen. Perhaps your cat ate something they shouldn’t, and their eyes are trying to fight it off. If your cat is exposed to any of these allergens, its eyes will become watery and appear glass-like. Identifying what your cat is reacting to can be daunting unless a vet diagnoses them for it. Once you know what’s causing your cat’s ocular irritation, could you remove it from your house?

2. Constant blinking or squinting

A healthy cat hardly paws their eyes unless there is an itch, and you expect them not to go overboard because their eyes are sensitive. Excessive pawing, squinting, and blinking signifies a foreign object hence an allergy. Sometimes, your cat’s tear duct (nasolacrimal duct) could be blocked. Though dogs are more prone to such blockages, cats aren’t immune to them. Relieve them from the agony by scheduling an appointment with your vet.

3. Discharge in the nose and constant sneezing

Eye-watering in cats may also be accompanied by constant sneezing and nasal discharge. If you see these symptoms, your cat could be having an upper respiratory infection, similar to human flu. Monitor them for a week and if it doesn’t go away or worsen, take them to a vet as soon as you can.

4. Bulging and painful eyes

If your cat’s eyes are swollen and look painful, it’s time to take them to the vet to determine if they’ve developed glaucoma. If they have it, the vet will book them for emergency care. The condition comes when you least expect it and can rapidly spread, causing irreversible eye damage.

5. Yellow-green discharge

A cat with a virus will likely have clear and watery eyes. On the other hand, cats with yellow-green discharge in their eyes most likely have a bacterial infection. Still, you need a vet’s second opinion to help you distinguish the two so that your cat will get the proper medications. The vet may also order lab tests to help them figure out if it’s a virus or bacterial infection. If they have the virus, your vet may ask you to wait for a week or two to see if it’ll clear up on its own. But if they confirm that the yellow-green mucus is a bacterial infection, they might prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment depending on its severity. Meanwhile, you might need to get rid of anything aggravating your cat’s disease.

6. Reddened eyes

Cat’s eyeballs have different colors depending on their breed. However, red and inflamed eyes aren’t normal. They’re signs of conductivity which may increase eye sensitivity to light. Most likely, your cat could be having an allergy or the feline herpes virus. Also known as the “pinkeye,” this condition mainly affects kittens because they still have low immunity. However, adult cats can also contract it, according to Pets WebMD. But since you aren’t sure which agents are causing the reddishness, it would be best to see a licensed vet. Once they’ve been diagnosed with it, they will get shots to protect themselves. But if they have the virus, they will get pinkeye for life. Always ensure you take your cat for vaccines to reduce such symptoms. The excellent news is pinkeye often goes away without treatment. You should only get worried if your kitty seems in pain and other symptoms accompany it.

Their breed

Some cat breeds have small faces and round skulls, making them prone to tears and other eye conditions. As they tear up, the tears spread to their faces and stain their fur. Over time, these irritations penetrate their skin. While there are many over-the-counter products for eliminating such stains, it would be best to seek your vet’s approval first about what’s safe for your cat.

Are they indoor or outdoor cats?

Both indoor and outdoor cats are susceptible to eye infections. Outdoor cats may pick foreign objects from plants or exterior surfaces of your house like pollen, dust, molds, and mildew. On the other hand, indoor cats may be allergic to products containing harsh chemicals like cleaning products, perfumes, or pest control products. Your vet can figure out what your cat is allergic to and recommend the best treatment plan for them.

How your vet can diagnose the cause of your cat’s eye wateriness

The first thing your vet will do is ask about your cat’s behavior and medical history. According to Wag Walking, diagnosing eye wateriness works by conducting:

  • A physical exam
  • Radiographs or CT exams
  • An allergy test
  • The Schirmer tear test uses small strips to figure out their tear levels
  • A tonometry test to determine the intraocular pressure or fluid in the eye. The test is ordered chiefly to check for glaucoma


While this article addresses the causes of excessive eye wateriness in cats, it doesn’t suggest that you should perform self-diagnosis on your cat. Considering you might not have the tools and knowledge to diagnose your feline friend, it would be best to take them to a vet to save their lives and health. Eye wateriness will likely clear out on its own after a few days, but it’s advisable to keep your vet’s phone number on speed dial if it goes beyond one week or comes with other life-threatening symptoms.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.