The Knowledge: Eye care
Paying close attention to your cat’s eyes will help keep them bright, beautiful and healthy. Here’s our step-by-step guide to looking after them
A cat’s eyes, like those of many nocturnal species, are adapted to thrive in the dark so they can hunt their prey with the utmost eﬃciency. Healthy eyes should be moist and clear, with the whites free of any redness or inﬂammation. As ﬁrst-class groomers, cats wash their faces frequently, so they’re generally good at keeping their eyes clean. But there are times when they may need a little extra help from us, or expert treatment from your vet if you have any major concerns.
Your cat’s eyes are a barometer of her health, so look out for signs of discharge, build-up of dirt or excessive, crunchy ‘sleepy dust’ in the corners. Redness, soreness, stickiness or a closed eye needs further investigation as this could mean an infection, damage from a foreign body or conjunctivitis. Tear-staining on the fur below the corner of the eye is common in ﬂ at-faced breeds such as Persians due to constriction of the ducts which drain away tears.
If your cat’s eyes seem healthy but there is a build-up of dirt or sleep in the corners, you can gently wipe this away. Use a cotton wool ball dipped in lukewarm, sterile (boiled) water and move from the inside corner gently out and downwards. Keep long-haired cats trimmed so their hair doesn’t touch their eyes as this can scratch the cornea. And never put any product into your cat’s eyes that hasn’t been recommended to you by your vet.
If eye drops or creams are prescribed by your vet, you need to be able to put them in your cat’s eyes yourself. Hold your cat’s head with one hand under the chin. Gently pull the lower eyelid down using your thumb. Hold the drops or cream between the foreﬁnger and thumb of your other hand, and use the side of your little ﬁnger to pull the upper eyelid upwards. Squeeze the drops onto the eye without touching it with the dropper. Your cat will blink and spread the drops across her eye.