Help me help this poor little kitty.
August 28, 2010 6:10 AM   Subscribe

What could be wrong with this kitty's eyes?

This cat has been hanging around my yard and it's become increasingly clear that she's either abandoned or severely neglected. I've been feeding her twice a day and she seems to be doing a lot better, and once I can get her to trust me enough I'm going to take her to a vet. The other day I noticed that her eyes have these brown streaks through the iris, which doesn't seem normal. I've googled cat eye diseases and the closest thing I can find is iris melanoma, but that seems to be more of a single spot in one eye, and her discoloration seems to be spread evenly through both eyes.

I realize that the only way I'll know for sure is to take her to a vet. I haven't called animal control or the SPCA because I suspect she's an older cat (she seems frail and well, old, but I guess that could also be due to neglect) and she is not very friendly, and I'm afraid she would be euthanized. She seems to get along well enough with my cat (a two-year-old male), has grown to trust me and my boyfriend, and is happy hanging out in my yard, so I think the best thing for her would be to stay with us, but I honestly don't have the money for expensive tests and treatments.
posted by cottonswab to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
My cat had a much bigger, much darker spots on his eye for years and years. My vet told me it could be cancer, but the only way to tell for sure was to remove his eye. He had had a patient before with rapidly spreading spots; they removed the eye and it turned out to be nothing, so he was hesitant to recommend we pursue that option. Anyway, I left it alone and it never affected my kitty at all. He was an indoor cat but had spent a lot of time around kittens, and the vet thought it was possible he'd gotten swiped in the eye at some point to set it off.
posted by something something at 6:21 AM on August 28, 2010

I have a "freckle" in my eye. If she is seeing well, I wouldn't worry. Every doctor who has looked at my freckle says it's more along the lines of a birthmark than something I should be worried about.
posted by eggerspretty at 6:22 AM on August 28, 2010

Does she seem to be having any problems seeing? I don't see anything unusual in the picture, the coloration of cat's eyes varies as much as human eyes in my experience.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 6:22 AM on August 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

This looks completely normal. My cat had brown streaks through his eyes like that -- and they were just the way his eyes were colored.

Eyes aren't necessarily uniformly-colored, on any animal. (Check out your own eyes sometime.) If you're still concerned, keep an eye on her eyes and see if the brown spots change in size or shape or color over time -- THAT would be a sign that something is wrong. But if she's just got brown spots that stay that same shape and size, then all that means is that's just the way her eyes are colored.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:56 AM on August 28, 2010

Sometimes this is byproduct of having had URI and can be treated with Lysine. Dry Lysine is pretty cheap and can be mixed in with the food. You can NOT overdose Lysine but talk to your vet as recommended.
posted by Ferrari328 at 7:37 AM on August 28, 2010

Nthing that kitty's eyes look normal to this lifelong cat lover. Cats' eyes often have swirls and streaks in them; if they change or worsen, I might mention it to the vet but otherwise she looks fine to me.
posted by workerant at 7:57 AM on August 28, 2010

Looks normal to me.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:40 AM on August 28, 2010

Also looks normal to me--but I've noticed some cats seem to get these more as they get older. Good on you for caring for this lost little kitty!
posted by tyrantkitty at 9:05 AM on August 28, 2010

She looks fine to me, too -- and I've fostered a hundred cats, as well as volunteered at many feral clinics -- looked into a lot of cat's eyes. Granted, I'm usually looking for one of the many URI related eye issues . . . but I wouldn't think twice about her eyes.

Seconding the Lysine in her food, though, and maybe a pea-sized amount of nutri-cal if you've got the funds -- an older cat on the street can use all the extra vitamins she can get. And if you're feeling very enthusiastic, you could make her one of these nifty feral cat shelters. They are cheap and easy and give her someplace warm to rest.
posted by MeiraV at 9:05 AM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't worry about it and quit googling "problems with cat's eyes" if you aren't going to pay for vet bills. The only road that is going to take you down is worry avenue. You are not a vet, I am not a vet, and pictures on the internet and a vague description is not going to help other than to freak you out.

Now, if it were your cat and you did want to do something about it, that's a different story. Did you have the cat checked to see if it was micro chipped? If so, the owner's information should be on there. You could bring up your concerns with the owner.
posted by TheBones at 9:08 AM on August 28, 2010

Well I'm relieved to hear that others have had healthy cats with eyes like this. I don't recall ever seeing a cat with brown streaks in their eyes, but when I look closely at my own cat, who has yellow eyes, you can see threads of brown/amber, but it's very faint. On the stray it almost looks like they're bloodshot (but in the iris not the white of the eye).

She doesn't seem to have any problems seeing that I can tell. She sees me coming with the dish of food! The only thing I've noticed is that if you approach her face she swats at you. If you pet her you have to come from behind her head, if that makes any sense. Of course she may have been abused in the past, but she does this even if she's clearly asking for attention (like rolling on the ground showing her belly, or doing little hops and rubbing against my leg).

On preview:

MeiraV: Good idea about the Nutri-Cal. I was also going to give her some baby food chicken, but then I thought I'd better save that as a treat to lure her into a cat carrier. I haven't let her in my house, but I do have a garage and if I can get my SO to agree, I'd like to at least let her stay in there so she'll be safe at night and in bad weather. For now she seems to live under a bush near my door.

TheBones:'re right, googling doesn't really do any good. She just needs to get to the vet, plain and simple. I don't mind paying vet bills to a certain extent. If she has something easily treatable I will definitely shell out the money to help her, but if it goes beyond that then I need to consider what will be best for her in the long run.
posted by cottonswab at 9:49 AM on August 28, 2010

Another former cat owner who sees nothing at all wrong with this cute kitty's eyes. That sort of variegated iris colouration is extremely common.
posted by Decani at 11:43 AM on August 28, 2010

The only thing I've noticed is that if you approach her face she swats at you. If you pet her you have to come from behind her head, if that makes any sense.

Very very common with rescue cats. My long-loved, long-loving rescue kitties HATE having hands come towards their face and can get bitey or scratchy if I do that. From any other direction, pure joy.

Another option for vitamins for cats is nutritional yeast, which you can get at most health food stores. Sprinkle a bit in their food and they go NUTS for it, plus gives them nice shiny fur.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:59 AM on August 28, 2010

Nthing that her eyes look normal. My kitties get brown spots like those in their eyes as they age, so perhaps she's a bit older than you suspect.
posted by cooker girl at 2:54 PM on August 28, 2010

« Older What was the best short story you read in the last...   |   We'll Get It Before WE'RE Dead, Right? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.