Conjunctivitis in Cats: Introduction

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Jennifer Sellers

Conjunctivitis is a gooey infection of the eye that you yourself might have had at some point in your life. And while it occurs in many species, including humans, it’s highly prevalent in cats. In fact, it is the eye condition felines most commonly experience.

When Red Eye Is Really “Pink Eye”

Conjunctivitis in Cats: Introduction

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You probably know conjunctivitis by its more popular term, “pink eye.” However, in cats who have the disorder, the infected eye is more likely to appear red than pink.

The conjunctiva, the protective mucous layer that lines the backs of the eyelids and covers the eyeballs, is usually clear to pale pink when healthy. When conjunctivitis occurs, however, the coating can become inflamed.

In addition to redness, look for other symptoms such as:

  • Discharge from the eye
  • Swelling of the eye
  • Excessive squinting or blinking

The symptoms of conjunctivitis can be similar to those of keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), uveitis (inflammation of the eye’s middle layer) and glaucoma (damage to the optic nerve). However, those eye conditions are more likely to be painful to cats.

But just because your cat isn’t experiencing pain doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take her to the veterinarian. Untreated eye problems — even common ones such as conjunctivitis — can lead to vision loss if they aren’t addressed.

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