How to Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats: 11 Steps

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How to Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats: 11 Steps
How to Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats: 11 Steps

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the pink mucous membrane that lines the eyelid. This is the most common eye problem in cats. To give you an idea, most felines will get conjunctivitis at some point in their lives. If your cat is affected, his eyes should be quite irritated, which can be very annoying. Act fast so he gets the treatment and starts to get better soon.


Part 1 of 2: Treating the causes of conjunctivitis

Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats Step 1

Step 1. Identify the cause of conjunctivitis

Feline conjunctivitis can be infectious rather than infectious. The causes of infectious conjunctivitis are viral (feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus), bacterial and fungal. Non-infectious conjunctivitis is caused by foreign objects (eg, dust), windborne chemicals, and allergies.

  • The most common infectious causes are feline herpesvirus, feline chlamydophyllosis and feline mycoplasmosis. Chlamydia and mycoplasma are types of bacteria.
  • Take the cat to the vet to find out what caused the conjunctivitis. If the cause is non-infectious, the veterinarian must perform different tests to identify the possible agent.
Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats Step 2

Step 2. Discuss treatment options with the veterinarian

Once he has identified the source of feline conjunctivitis, the professional should present several treatment options. Discuss these options further with your veterinarian. In the case of generic conjunctivitis (without a specific cause), the treatment usually consists of the topical use of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs (hydrocortisone, for example) in the affected eye.

  • For feline herpesvirus conjunctivitis, treatment includes topical antivirals and antibiotics and interferon (which inhibits the immune response to the virus).
  • The topical antibiotic for generic conjunctivitis or caused by feline herpesvirus fights bacterial infection that occurs when the immune system is weakened after a viral infection.
  • In bacterial conjunctivitis, topical antibiotics are also used. Tetracycline fights feline chlamydia infections.
  • If a foreign body gets stuck in the cat's eye, the veterinarian needs surgery to remove it.
  • Topical treatments can be in the form of eye drops or ointment.
Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats Step 3

Step 3. Isolate the cat at home

If you have a house full of kittens, you need to isolate the feline that needs to be treated. Infectious conjunctivitis can easily spread to everyone else, so you should ensure that it doesn't contaminate others.

Keep the affected cat isolated throughout the treatment

Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats Step 4

Step 4. Drop eye drops or ointment into affected eye

It is easier to use eye drops than ointment, but it needs to be given frequently (three to six times a day). The ointment can be applied less often, but on the other hand it is more difficult to apply. If you are afraid to put medicine in the cat's eye, ask the vet to teach you the technique before you go home.

  • The veterinarian should indicate the correct number of drops (if using eye drops) and frequency of use.
  • Before applying the eye drops or ointment, you need to clean the secretions around the kitten's eyes with a clean cotton swab soaked in a cleaning solution. The veterinarian will tell you which cleaning solution you should use.
  • The eye drops quickly disperse on the surface of your eyes, so you don't need to rub them afterwards.
  • In the case of the ointment, you need to spread a fillet of ointment on the eyes. As the product is thick, the owner has to make the cat close its eyes and then massage the eyelids to spread the ointment along the entire length.
Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats Step 5

Step 5. Do not interrupt treatment

The kitten's eyes should look a lot better in a few days. Nonetheless, not stop treatment, especially in the case of infectious conjunctivitis - if you stop giving the medicine too soon, the infectious agent may not be completely eliminated, creating a new infection.

  • Complete recovery from conjunctivitis usually takes one to two weeks. Even if the cat's eye looks better after a few days, continue the treatment for the specified time to ensure that your pet is 100%.
  • You may need to continue treatment for up to three weeks.
Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats Step 6

Step 6. Learn about the challenges of treating viral conjunctivitis

Despite all the treatments available for viral conjunctivitis in felines, this disease has no cure, which can be frustrating and challenging. In addition, topical medications are often very expensive and have to be administered frequently. If your cat has viral conjunctivitis, be prepared to take care of this disease for a lifetime and don't be fooled by the expectation of a short-term cure.

Part 2 of 2: Controlling Recurrent Conjunctivitis

Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats Step 7

Step 1. Calm your kitten

Because viral conjunctivitis is not curable, it can return after initial treatment, in episodes that are usually triggered by stress. Therefore, you need to identify and eliminate the possible factors that make your cat angry. For example, create a well-organized and stable daily routine for him.

  • If you have multiple cats, remember that each cat should have its own little things (ie, a water bowl, a food bowl, toys, and a litter box) to lessen competition and fights between them.
  • The cat can also get stressed if he gets bored. Provide lots of toys for him and change them from time to time. Games that engage the cat's creativity and attention are great for keeping the cat busy and entertained.
Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats Step 8

Step 2. Supplement the cat's feed with oral lysine

Herpesvirus needs an amino acid called arginine to multiply. However, when lysine is present, the virus uses this amino acid instead of arginine, which should stop its multiplication. Your veterinarian may recommend a specific oral lysine supplement for your pet.

Lysine can be used as a long-term treatment option for conjunctivitis caused by feline herpesvirus

Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats Step 9

Step 3. Get the kitten vaccinated

The severity of episodes of conjunctivitis caused by herpesvirus can be alleviated with an ocular (non-injectable) vaccine. This vaccine strengthens the animal's immune system, making crises more bearable. Discuss this treatment option with your veterinarian.

Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats Step 10

Step 4. Decrease exposure to allergens

If allergy is the cause of conjunctivitis in your pet, you need to reduce exposure to allergens as much as possible. For example, if your cat is allergic to dust, you will need to clean the house more often. If it stays in the yard longer, it may be necessary to keep it indoors to preserve it from allergy-causing agents in open areas, such as pollen.

If a cat's eyes get irritated when you use certain cleaning products around the house, try placing it in another room at this time

Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats Step 11

Step 5. Watch for signs of crisis

If his eyes start to swell and redden and you notice a greenish or yellowish discharge at the site, it's probably an episode of conjunctivitis. Other signs that indicate a flare-up are: increased tear production, squinting eyes, and sensitivity to bright light. When the cat is affected, contact your veterinarian to find out the best way to treat it.


  • All cats are subject to conjunctivitis.
  • Conjunctivitis is very common in young cats, especially those who live in very stressful environments (such as breeding sites, animal shelters and on the street).
  • In addition to the use of topical medication, it may be necessary to administer oral antibiotics if the infection is very severe.
  • Conjunctivitis can go away on its own. However, if there is a discharge from the cat's eyes and the problem is bothering the pet too much, take it to the vet for tests and treatment.
  • Many cats who have conjunctivitis build up resistance to the disease and no longer have episodes.


  • Puppies with conjunctivitis can also have an upper airway infection, which makes them very sick.
  • If your cat has a corneal ulcer, do not treat conjunctivitis with hydrocortisone. This remedy may delay the ulcer's healing or even make the condition worse.
  • Treating viral conjunctivitis itself can also be stressful, which increases the likelihood of future episodes.

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