Cataracts in cats. What you should know

If you have noticed a change in the color of your cat’s eyes or his vision seems to be decreased, you may think that cataracts are the cause.

Although cataracts only affect the eyes of older people, this is not common in cats. In fact, age is generally not the main cause when cats develop them, and it is more difficult for cataracts to appear in cats than in dogs .

It is important to take your cat to the vet if you notice any problems with his eyes.

Next, I will tell you what feline cataracts consist of , their causes and treatment.

Article content

  • What are cataracts in cats?
  • Cataract Symptoms in Cats
  • Causes of feline cataracts
  • How do I know if my cat has cataracts?
  • Treatment of cataracts in cats
  • Cataract prevention in cats

What are cataracts in cats?

Cataracts are an eye condition in the form of cloudiness in one or both eyes of felines that causes the lens to lose transparency. This can result in partial or complete clouding of the lens, preventing light from passing to the retina. Vision can be partially affected, or cause complete loss due to this condition.

Cataracts are easy to confuse with nuclear sclerosis , a normal change in eye color in cats older than seven years. This change can make the lens appear white, but it does not affect vision.

On the contrary, cataracts can cause glaucoma and even blindness over time, its diagnosis and control is essential.


Cataract Symptoms in Cats

If you think your cat could be developing cataracts, here are some signs to watch out for:

  • A blue, gray, or white coating on one or both eyes.
  • Crying eyes.
  • Clumsiness in walking, collides with walls and furniture.
  • Sudden giving up jumping on furniture or climbing stairs.
  • Problems recognizing family members.
  • Difficulty locating the litter box, or the food bowl.
  • Unusual meows
  • Difficulty measuring distances.
  • Decreased ability to see in dark or low-light areas.
  • Change in iris color, size and shape of the pupils.
  • Exhibiting signs of stress or anxiety.


Causes of feline cataracts

Heredity is an important factor . Certain races are more predisposed, including Persians, Burmese, and Himalayas. If you have one of these breeds, check their eyes frequently for changes and see your vet if you see signs of cataracts.

Reasons cats develop cataracts include the following factors:

  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Inflammation of the uvea of ​​the eye.
  • Penetrating injury to the eye, commonly caused by fighting with other cats.
  • Hypertension.
  • Diabetes mellitus .
  • Abnormally low levels of calcium in the blood ( hypocalcaemia ).
  • Exposure to poisons like dinitrophenol or naphthalene.
  • Malnutrition (kittens).
  • Aging .

How do I know if my cat has cataracts?

As your cat ages, it is normal for her eyes to appear cloudy or develop a bluish-gray tint, due to nuclear sclerosis disease  . This is common in cats older than seven years and is due to normal aging of the lens.

It shouldn’t affect your cat’s vision or cause any pain. Cataracts can be similar to nuclear sclerosis.  

The only way to know if the clouding of the lens is due to cataracts or nuclear sclerosis is to take the cat for a check-up at the vet. A rapid diagnosis of cataracts is advisable, since they are degenerative, to stop the progression of the disease.

Treatment of cataracts in cats

The earlier cataracts are found, the easier it is to stop the progression of the disease. Possible treatments:

  • Medication : If cataracts are discovered at an early stage, medication can sufficiently treat the condition and deter or prevent cataract growth and eventual blindness
  • Curing or ameliorating the underlying causes : If hypertension or diabetes are responsible for your cat’s cataracts, the vet will treat the specific disorder that is causing the cat’s vision loss.
  • Surgery : If the cataracts are in an advanced stage, surgery may be recommended to save or restore vision.
  • Lens implantation : In some cases, it is possible to restore your cat’s vision with a lens implant.


Cataract prevention in cats

Cataracts in cats cannot be prevented, but there are things you can do to care for your cat’s vision that can help:

  • Examine your cat’s eyes regularly.
  • Take him to the vet if his eyes start to look cloudy or bluish-gray, or if you  notice any changes in his vision.
  • It is believed that a diet rich in antioxidants can delay or even prevent cataracts.
  • Staying up-to-date with vaccinations can help prevent viral infections that affect the lens of the eye.




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