Based on an article that first appeared at

Ever heard someone mention pink eye and immediately felt a shiver down your spine? Yep, we get that feeling too. Whether it's us humans or our furry feline pals, conjunctivitis (fancy term for pink eye) is a real party pooper. As your friendly neighborhood vets, we're here to give you the lowdown on this icky eye issue so you can spot the signs before your kitty starts feeling miserable. Because we all adore our purring pals, let's dive into some nitty-gritty details about conjunctivitis that you really ought to know.

What's the Deal with the Conjunctiva and Conjunctivitis?

Imagine a thin, protective film that covers the eye and the inside of the eyelids. That's the conjunctiva. Cats (and yes, dogs too) have a bonus feature—an extra 'third eyelid' hidden in the corner of their eyes, also part of the conjunctiva. It's like their little secret agent that's usually invisible but pops out when trouble's afoot, meaning inflammation. And when we talk about conjunctivitis, we're basically saying this protective film is having a bit of a meltdown.

Spotting the Telltale Signs of Conjunctivitis

Keeping an eye out (pun intended) for health issues early on can make a huge difference. Knowing what conjunctivitis looks like in your furball is crucial.

Here's what you might notice:

  • Watery eyes that just won't quit
  • A gooey mess—think cloudy, yellow, or even green gunk
  • Eye rims looking more pink or red than usual
  • A kitty that's suddenly a vampire, dodging sunlight
  • Blinking, squinting, or general eye grumpiness
  • That mysterious third eyelid making an appearance

The Culprits Behind Conjunctivitis

There are two main villains in the conjunctivitis saga: infectious and non-infectious.

Infectious Conjunctivitis

This one's the baddie caused by bacteria, viruses, or even fungi deciding to throw a party in the conjunctiva. If conjunctivitis jumps from one eye to the other, you're likely dealing with bacteria or viruses. Cats catching a viral show followed by a bacterial encore isn't common, but it happens. A frequent troublemaker here is the feline herpesvirus.

Non-infectious Conjunctivitis

Then there's the conjunctivitis that kicks off when something like dust, sand, or those pesky allergens gatecrash beneath the eyelid, often dragging along a bacterial plus-one. Ever heard of entropion? It's when a cat's eyelashes turn into inward-pointing needles. Ouch, right? And sometimes, conjunctivitis is waving a red flag for an eye tumor.

How to Tell if It's Conjunctivitis Knocking

Seeing red eyes or that third eyelid might make you think "conjunctivitis," but it's not a DIY diagnosis kind of deal. Your vet's got to take a peek, considering your cat's health history and maybe doing some tests. These could check out things like how well those tears are flowing or if something's gotten stuck in there. Jumping on treatment ASAP helps kick pain and inflammation to the curb while you're figuring out the main act.

The Road to Recovery

Most of the time, with the right treatment, your cat should start feeling like royalty again in a couple of weeks. If things aren't looking up, sticking to the vet's orders is key—cutting corners could backfire. Sometimes, a deeper dive with further testing is needed to get to the bottom of things.

Getting Your Cat Back on Track

If the cause of conjunctivitis is playing hide and seek, your vet might opt for a broad-stroke treatment—antibiotics to crash the bacteria party and anti-inflammatories to ease the discomfort and swelling. These magic potions usually come in the form of eye drops or ointments. And if you're thinking, "How the heck do I get drops into a cat's eye?" don't sweat it. Your vet can show you the ropes and make sure you're a pro in no time.

Can My Cat Say Goodbye to Conjunctivitis for Good?

Well, that depends on the sneaky culprit behind the scenes. If it's a non-infectious cause like allergies, then it might be a recurring headache unless you manage to kick those allergies to the curb. And if it's that pesky viral type, think of it as a bothersome guest who leaves but forgets their hat, popping back in now and then. However, with a solid game plan involving stellar wellness care, top-notch nutrition, the right vaccines, and maybe some extra supplements or meds, you can definitely turn the tables and keep those unexpected visits to a minimum.

Think your whiskered friend might be dealing with conjunctivitis? Don't play the waiting game—contact us asap. We're here to help get those peepers back to purring perfection.


  • Cat Illness & Disease