My cat has red eyes: why?  Is that bad ?

My Cat Has Red Eyes: Why? Is That Bad ?

It is not normal for a cat to have a redness in one or both eyes. Some eye conditions and pathologies manifest themselves in this way and can also be the cause of other symptoms. Red eyes in cats must therefore be taken seriously and it is recommended not to wait to take your animal to the veterinarian because it may be a serious problem. Let’s see this in detail.

Red Eyes In Cats: The Causes

Here is what is likely to cause red eyes in a cat.


The eyeball is joined to the eyelids by a membrane called the conjunctiva. In case of inflammation of the latter, we speak of conjunctivitis. This is a common condition, which causes reddening of the affected eye, usually associated with swelling of the eyelids.

Conjunctivitis in cats can be due to:

  • A foreign body in the eye (grain of sand, spikelet, dust, etc.),
  • A badly implanted eyelash that causes irritation,
  • parasitic attack,
  • An allergy to pollen or dust (allergic conjunctivitis),
  • A virus,
  • A fungus,
  • A bacteria.

A local treatment with eye drops is enough to treat some conjunctivitis but it does not always work 100%. Along with the eye drops, the veterinarian can then prescribe an antibiotic or any other treatment depending on the origin of the conjunctivitis.

Obstruction Of A Tear Duct

It’s about a tear gland disease more frequently encountered in brachycephalic cats, namely feline breeds with a very short or crushed muzzle. In this case, the cause of the obstruction is morphological. But this problem is sometimes caused by a foreign body in the eye which becomes red and very tearful.

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The veterinarian prescribes a specific lotion so that the cat’s eyes can be cleaned regularly using a sterile compress. This lotion is instilled directly into the diseased eye.


The cat may have red eyes when the vascular tunic of his eyeball is the seat of a inflammation. Other symptoms are:

  • Contractions of the constrictor muscle of the iris leading to a reduction in the diameter of the pupil: the adapted term is miosis,
  • Of the localized pain more or less important.

A local anti-inflammatory in the form of eye drops may be enough to treat the cat. If the cat has a systemic infection, the veterinarian will prescribe oral antibiotic treatment and/or an antifungal.

A Prolapse Of The Nictitating Membrane Or Third Eyelid

Identifiable at a small mass of pink color which forms in the inner corner of the eye in the event of protrusion of the third eyelid, prolapse (we also say prolapse) is a absolute veterinary emergency. It is the sign of ligament rupture which holds the cat’s third eyelid gland in place.

Generally, the cat does not suffer. On the other hand, his watery eye sometimes pus flows. Prolapse can also cause conjunctivitis with reddening of the eye. In addition to treating the problem causing the prolapse, the veterinarian must in many cases resort to surgery in order to reposition the prolapsed organ.

Eyelid Disease

The lower and upper eyelids in cats are possibly the seat of different conditions such as:

  • I’ entropy which leads to irritation of the cornea by the rubbing of the eyelashes due to the fact that the free edge of the eyelid turns towards the inside of the eye,
  • I’ ectropion, a term designating the eversion of an eyelid or tissue, that is to say its turning outwards, which has the direct consequence of exposing the conjunctiva. Ectropion is quite rare in cats.
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In either case, the veterinarian must resort to surgery.


It’s about a inflammation of the cornea, the natural lens of the eye. The cat has red eyes because keratitis is usually associated with conjunctivitis. It causes vascularization of the cornea which loses its transparency. Keratitis may be due to:

  • an irritation,
  • An infection,
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), i.e. chronic dryness of the conjunctiva (dry eye),
  • Trauma (blow, scratch, etc.).

The opacity of the cornea should alert the owner of the animal. It is fundamental that the cat is taken care of urgently because if left untreated, keratitis can lead to serious consequences such as corneal perforation or even a corneal ulcer. Vision disorders ensue and the cat even risks blindness.

Dislocation Of The Lens

It may be due to uveitis, violent trauma to the eye or even glaucoma. The cat feels sharp pains and he has a red eye. This type of dislocation warrants an emergency consultation.


It’s a serious ocular pathology because if the cat is not treated as soon as possible, it can loss of eyesight. The main symptoms of glaucoma are:

  • red eye,
  • severe local pain,
  • An increase in intraocular pressure,
  • A dilated pupil,
  • The formation of a bluish halo around the iris,
  • Blood vessels that look swollen,
  • Difficulty moving,
  • The cat does not let his master stroke his head because he suffers from migraines.

The veterinarian must first of all lower the IOP (Intraocular Pressure), because the optic nerve is damaged as it increases. He must then identify the exact cause of glaucoma in order to treat the underlying problem. Finally, he prescribes eye drops, analgesics to relieve pain and an anti-inflammatory if necessary. Sometimes the ultimate solution is the drainage of the intraocular cavity through a surgical intervention. The laser gives good results if it is carried out without delay.

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Redness In The Eye In Cats: It Is Sometimes Serious

It is clear that some eye conditions or pathologies are serious. As soon as a cat’s eyes turn red, it is useless, even dangerous for the animal to wait several days before consulting, thinking that things will spontaneously go back to normal. Some masters even decide to put eye drops in their cat’s eyes when they have not received any medical advice. It is strictly not recommended to opt for self-medication.

Whatever the attack of the cat’s eye, even if it seems very superficial, it is necessary to consult without delay. The slightest negligence in his field leads to a delay in care. However, we have seen that in some cases, the cat can go blind and this is irreversible.

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