Is my cat's weepy eye a cause for concern?
September 2, 2007 1:35 PM   Subscribe

Is my cat's "weepy eye" a cause for concern (is a vet visit in order)?

Our cat seems perfectly healthy, but he spends a lot of time outdoors which we realize exposes him to a host of risks - major and minor. Alas, he won't be contained (he's had multiple owners before us and is set in his ways + has a very loud meow + will spray if disgruntled)!

We've noticed over the last week or so that one of his eyes is "running". The liquid is clear but we're he just irritated, or is this a cause for concern? We tend to obsess over him......we probably will just phone the vet.....but don't want to pay for a "he's just fine" opinion.....
posted by Artw to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
Probably worth asking the vet about, he could have a scratched cornea or foreign body, both of which are easily treated. Since it's just the one eye, it's more likely that it's some kind of trauma or infection.
posted by biscotti at 1:40 PM on September 2, 2007

Kitties can get colds in their eyes. A little weepy is fine as long as it is clear. If it turns orange or green, that is cause for concern. If it doesn't clear up in a couple of days, call the vet.
posted by corpse at 1:51 PM on September 2, 2007

My cat's eyes weep as a result of a feline herpes infection he contracted from the shelter where he was as a kitten. (Feline herpes isn't an STD.)
posted by WCityMike at 2:30 PM on September 2, 2007

It could be herpes**, which is a common cause of runny eyes in cats. A vet can diagnose it and treat symptoms of a flare-up, but it's the kind of infection that never goes away. It passes from cat to cat, not from cat to human. So if it is herpes, it is not a danger to you, but if you have other cats you might want to get a diagnosis even though the eye seems otherwise ok. Herpes can cause respiratory symptoms, especially in cats with weak immune systems.

**The text is a good description, but don't be alarmed by the photos. My parents have a healthy 10 year old cat with a (lifelong) herpes infection in his eyes. His eyes always run a little, on occassion they run more, and one time he had the respiratory flareup (which led to diagnosis). He's never had eye trouble like in the photographs on the page linked above, and their other cats haven't shown any symptoms of infection. The benefit to the diagnosis is that if he starts sneezing a lot, my parents can start treating him for a herpes flare-up right away.
posted by Tehanu at 2:49 PM on September 2, 2007

My cats get the squinky eye fairly regularly. The first time I noticed it in one of them, I was getting ready to move across the country, and they were going on a plane the next day. I rushed the cat to the vet.

He looked her over, then said to me, "You seem to be a little sneezy today. Do you have allergies?"

I said "Yes."

His response: "So does your cat."

It's never been a problem. Clears itself up in a day or two.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:46 PM on September 2, 2007

My cat once had a "foxtail" down in his eye from running through such grass when it was going to seed. The vet said it was very common, took it out with a pair of tweezers.
posted by Brian B. at 4:13 PM on September 2, 2007

If it is herpes, I found that powdered lysine in wet food helped clear the running up. No need to search it out in powder form: just take a lysine tablet, put it in an envelope or foil tea bag wrapper and smush it with the back of a spoon.
posted by Scram at 5:27 PM on September 2, 2007

Usually it isn't a big deal, but worth asking about at the next vet visit. I have 5 cats and have volunteered at various shelters and come across this often .
posted by pywacket at 4:12 PM on September 3, 2007

My french vet always says that cats do not "catch colds". It is most likely conjunctivitus or some other infection. Do go see your vet.
posted by all-one-heart at 9:06 AM on September 25, 2007

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