Conjunctivitis, inflammation of the conjunctiva, is a common ocular condition observed in cats. This article provides a comprehensive overview of feline conjunctivitis, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and preventive measures.

Table of Contents

Exploring Feline Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis in cats can be caused by various factors, including infectious agents (such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi), allergies, irritants, trauma, or underlying systemic diseases. The conjunctiva, a thin, transparent membrane covering the inner surface of the eyelids and the white part of the eye, becomes inflamed in response to these triggers.

Identifying Symptoms

Ocular Discharge

One of the primary signs of conjunctivitis in cats is the presence of ocular discharge, which may vary in color, consistency, and quantity depending on the underlying cause. Discharge may be clear, mucoid, purulent (yellow or green), or bloody.

Redness and Swelling

Inflammation of the conjunctiva leads to redness and swelling of the affected eye(s). Cats with conjunctivitis may exhibit a pink or red appearance of the eye, along with noticeable swelling of the conjunctival tissue.

Squinting and Blinking

Conjunctivitis can cause discomfort and irritation, prompting affected cats to squint, blink excessively, or keep their eyes partially closed. These behaviors are attempts to alleviate discomfort and protect the eyes from further irritation.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Veterinary Examination

Diagnosing conjunctivitis in cats requires a thorough ophthalmic examination by a veterinarian. This may include visual inspection of the eye using a slit lamp biomicroscope, assessment of tear film quality, and evaluation of corneal clarity.

Diagnostic Tests

Additional diagnostic tests may be necessary to identify the underlying cause of conjunctivitis and determine the most appropriate treatment. These may include conjunctival swabs for cytology or culture and sensitivity testing, fluorescein staining to assess corneal integrity, or blood tests to evaluate for systemic diseases predisposing to ocular inflammation.

Treatment Options

Treatment of feline conjunctivitis aims to reduce inflammation, control infection, and alleviate ocular discomfort. Depending on the underlying cause, treatment may involve topical or systemic medications, such as antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, corticosteroids, or immunosuppressive agents. Warm compresses and gentle cleaning of the eye may also help remove discharge and promote healing.

Preventive Measures

Environmental Management

Minimizing exposure to potential irritants or allergens in the environment can help reduce the risk of conjunctivitis in cats. Regular cleaning of litter boxes, grooming supplies, and bedding can prevent the accumulation of dust, debris, or allergens that may trigger ocular inflammation.


Vaccination against common infectious agents known to cause conjunctivitis, such as feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus (FCV), can help reduce the risk of disease transmission and minimize the severity of symptoms in infected cats.

Routine Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary examinations are essential for monitoring your cat’s ocular health and detecting conjunctivitis early. Prompt intervention and treatment can help prevent complications and promote timely resolution of the inflammation.


Conjunctivitis is a common ocular condition in cats that can cause discomfort and irritation if left untreated. By understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and preventive measures associated with feline conjunctivitis, cat owners can take proactive steps to safeguard their feline companions’ ocular health and ensure a lifetime of clear, comfortable vision. With proper care, attention, and veterinary guidance, cats can overcome conjunctivitis and enjoy a fulfilling life free from ocular discomfort and complications.

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