Cat Filter: Should we get an optional surgery done for our one-eyed wonder kitten?
December 29, 2011 12:50 PM   Subscribe

Help a kitten momma make the right decision! Should we have our one-eyed kitten's non-eye sewn shut?

My husband and I got two 7 month old kittens a few weeks ago. We fell in love with them in an instant, even though we had gone in to pick out two younger ones. They have had no trouble adjusting to our home and we've loved having their energy around during the holiday season!

Lea is our little lady, but Perrin is the boy kitty in question.

He has one working eye and the other is merely an unformed pocket in place where his eye should be. He was a feral kitten and brought in at birth. His eye never formed. Now, the SPCA where we adopted said that his lack of eye should not cause him trouble, but if our vet decides it necessary, the shelter would do a (free!) surgery to clear out the tissue and sew the socket shut.

He doesn't seem to let it bother him and when we brought the kitties in for a first check up, our vet echoed what the SPCA said -- she doesn't think it's necessary to have it removed. On that day, it was less pink inside and more yellow, which caused me concern. Vet said to keep an eye on it (Har har) and give it a wipe with clean cotton and water if it seems cruddy.

Fast forward a week and Perrin has a bit of a cold. We take him into the vet again to get checked out and we see another associate vet in the practice. He is less concerned about Perrin's sneezing and more concerned about his eye. He says he would have the surgery done soon and gives us free eye ointment to try to help him out (along with the cold meds for our little one!). Perrin refuses to have anything put in his eye (scratching, growling, backing out of my husband's arms, farting (ew), snarling), but we managed it for a few days in a row. Now, his eye pocket is red and weeping and crusty. I told the vet and they said to discontinue the ointment.

Basically, I don't want to have unnecessary surgery done for my little one, but I don't want him to be forced to be poked and prodded weekly with wet cotton or ointments or what have you. I also don't want to be a worried mommy, checking his eye for daily color changes or discharge changes or scent changes.

My husband is less concerned and says to give it time (a few weeks) to see what happens.

So, advice for a new mommy to my furbabies? Do I heed Vet #1 and the SPCA's advice and wait it out, or do I hop on it now while he's young in order to avoid any further irritation?

Gracias in advance!
posted by beloveddoll to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am not a vet, but it seems to me like there is a much greater chance of infection if the hole/pocket were to remain open (things could get in there; kitty litter, dirt, etc). I would go ahead and get the (free!) surgery and just get it taken care of now before you have bigger problems with it down the road.
posted by littlesq at 1:07 PM on December 29, 2011 [13 favorites]

Free surgery. Apparent irritation. Still young. All signs point to yes. Get it done.
posted by Splunge at 1:09 PM on December 29, 2011 [5 favorites]

Our family's kitten, Yessica, lost both her eyes to infection when she was just a baby. (She was a rescued farm cat, and they were already too late to save when we got her, though we did our best.)

Anyway, the vet stitched up both eyes for her, and as I remember, there were no complications, and hardly any recovery time needed. She still looks fine, years later - just walks around the house with what looks like closed eyes.

If this surgery is free (woot!), I'd go for it - it would probably be a help to Perrin.
posted by HopperFan at 1:09 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd go ahead and do the surgery, especially if your kitten (who is super adorable) doesn't like having you mess with the area. If you have it cleaned out and sewn up, it's one less thing to potentially go wrong in the future that would require you to restrain a scratching, struggling farting, sharp-clawed little creature while attempting to give it medicine.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:13 PM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

We had a dog loose an eye due to loosing a fight with a cat. They sewed the eye shut and after a while unless you loosed closely you really couldn't see anything wrong with hm at first. I imagine it would be easier for all concerned to live with instead of the hole that might get infected and will need cleaning and messing around with. The eye will look gross after the surgery but will heal up fine. I'd get the surgery done now if possible, even if you have to pay for it just for the peace of mind.
posted by wwax at 1:16 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

nthing going ahead with the surgery. I had a one-eyed cat whose eye was injured when he was a stray, which necessitated its removal. I adopted him after the surgery and there were no complications - he just looked like he was winking all the time (which, by the way, was really charming, especially when he was trying to get me to give him some of my dinner).

With the issues your SUPER CUTE kitten is having now and his hatred of having the area touched to apply medicine, I really think the free surgery is the way to go.
posted by bedhead at 1:18 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would do the surgery to preserve your happy relationship with Perrin; you don't want him to fear your every approach because he associates it with poking and other discomfort. Better planned surgery now when nothing is wrong than dealing with infection or other emergency tomorrow.
posted by carmicha at 1:18 PM on December 29, 2011 [6 favorites]

I'd go for the surgery. Like others have said, he's likely to get debris in there at some point, which isn't good, and I doubt a lil' kitty eye patch (arr!) will work well, haha.

He is a CUTIE.
posted by sweetkid at 1:21 PM on December 29, 2011

I would probably also have the surgery done. All three of the cats I have owned have been one-eyed (after losing an eye while stray) and in all cases the socket was cleaned up and sewn shut, precisely to prevent infection. None of them was particularly bothered by this (I either know from the healing or was informed by the vet).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:22 PM on December 29, 2011

They are both beautiful kitties! Nthing the surgery, especially as it's free. Also, next Halloween you must get him an eyepatch. Pirate Kitty!
posted by cyndigo at 1:44 PM on December 29, 2011

Our cat Reuben entered the SPCA with a lacerated eye that became infected. They removed the eye because they were worried about a tumor. No tumor was found and they sewed up the socket. Now he's a perfectly handsome young man with minimal depth perception.

I'd have the socket sewn up for many reasons. Here are my top three.

1. It's free.
2. You don't have to clean out the socket anymore. Less stress for you AND him.
3. It's probably best for his health. Less chance of infection. Hooray.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:47 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yes to surgery. It's free! And it sounds like there's little chance of your having any reason to regret it in the future.

And hooray for naming your kitties after Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce!
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 2:00 PM on December 29, 2011 [5 favorites]

It's not unnecessary if it prevents infection. And it'll make him look like he's winking at you ALL THE TIME.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:15 PM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

Yes...if it were my kitty, I'd do the surgery. The tissue in question is already giving problems. He's still got one good eye. For the sake of his remaining sight, I'd go for the surgery in the hopes of preventing future infections that might spread to the healthy eye.

There's always a risk with any surgery, but your local rescue vet is probably vastly experienced, so risk would be very minimal.

Congratulations on your new adoptions! You have done a Good Thing in the World. We need more of those.
posted by theplotchickens at 3:04 PM on December 29, 2011

I'd do it!

He's already having problems with the gunk, and in the future could have significantly more. What happens if it gets something in there--dirt, cheatgrass seed, some other irritant. What happens if something catches in the pocket? FI, if he's wrestling with his buddy, and a claw catches or something?

The more you have to fuss with it, the more he'll hate it. It's a quick surgery, easy to care for afterwards, and I suppose if you want, you can always get him a pirate patch!
posted by BlueHorse at 7:41 PM on December 29, 2011

Your cats are beautiful.

I also vote get the surgery, it could cause infection in the future and could bother him. He may start rubbing it against tables or something.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:51 AM on December 30, 2011

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