Eye Care and Cleaning for Cats

“Who can believe there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!”

Theophile Gautier

When a cat’s eyes are blinky, squinty, teary, and red, your client knows their cat’s soul feels miserable, just like they would if they had a common cold. Eye problems in cats can be caused by allergies, viral or bacterial infections, irritation (like from smoke), injury (like from another cat) or more serious eye diseases. Encourage your clients who ask about their squinty kitty to have a veterinary examination so you can work together to help this cat’s eyes be luminous again.

How can you help your client when their cat’s eyes need cleaning and care? Gently wipe the secretions from the cat’s eyes and nose with soft wipes to disinfect the area so the cat can smell and see easier. These wipes also help clean the fur of any stains from the ocular tearing. If eyelids are stuck shut with matter, this will really distress your client, so teach them how to soak a clean cotton ball with warm water and gently wipe over the eyes to loosen the debris.

One common cause of eye irritation which may also involve sneezing, runny nose, fever, anorexia, lethargy, and other signs, is Feline Herpes Virus or FHV-1. This is more common in kittens, cats with flat faces, cats with compromised immune systems and cats living in stressful crowded conditions. Unfortunately, Feline Herpes Virus does not just come and go; it comes and hides, waiting in the cat’s system for some other disease or stressful situation to strike again, with a vengeance.  You can advocate for your patient’s well-being and instruct your clients on how to provide special resources, calm environment, safe hiding places and interactive scheduled play.

Another way to combat recurring Feline Herpes virus is to provide l-lysine as a supplement. L-lysine interferes with the amino acid arginine which is needed for the Feline Herpes Virus to replicate.  Some supplements contain other ingredients to help support the immune system and respiratory health.

With client education, proper eye care and cleaning and appropriate veterinary treatment, your patient’s eyes will be the luminous and clear window into their soul.