Discharge from a cat’s eye – How to resolve?


Cats are known for their beautiful, expressive eyes. However, sometimes those eyes can become dirty and irritated. Discharge from a cat’s eye can be caused by various factors, such as infections, allergies, and other underlying health problems. It’s important to understand the causes and symptoms of dirty eyes in cats so that you can help your feline friend recover.

Kitten with lots of discharge from his eye's.

Causes of Dirty Eyes in Your Cat

There are several possible causes for discharge from a cat’s eye, including:

      • Eye infections: Eye infections in cats can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Symptoms of an eye infection can include redness, discharge, and swelling of the eyelids.
      • Allergies: Cats can develop allergies to various things, such as food, environmental allergens, and certain medications. Allergic reactions can cause watery, itchy eyes.
      • Corneal injuries: Corneal injuries are wounds on the surface of the eyeball that can be caused by trauma, infections, or other underlying health problems. Symptoms can include discharge, redness, and pain.
      • Other underlying health problems: Dirty eyes in your cat can also be a symptom of other underlying health problems, such as respiratory infections or cat flu. 
Discharge from a cat's eye.

Symptoms of discharge from a cat's eye

If you have noticed discharge from a cat’s eye, you may also see the following symptoms:

      • Discharge: You may notice yellow, white or green discharge from your cat’s eyes. This is usually a sign of a (bacterial) infection.
      • Redness: The white part of your cat’s eye may appear red or swollen.
      • Watery eyes: Your cat’s eyes may be watery, which can be a sign of an allergy or viral infection.
      • Squinting: If your cat is squinting or appears to be in pain, this may be a sign of an underlying health problem.
      • Rubbing or scratching: If your cat is rubbing or scratching their eyes, this may be a sign that they are experiencing pain or itchiness.
cleaning discharge from a cat's eye

Treatment Options for discharge from a cat's eye

CLEANING discharge from a cat's eye

Firstly, the dirt around your cat’s eyes should be removed. You can use a gauze pad soaked in tap water, which can also be boiled and cooled down. This needs to be done in area’s where tapwater isn’t very clean. You can also use bottled water. 

Cooled down chamomile tea is also very helpfull to clean your cat’s dirty eyes. The chamomile has a soothing effect on the eyes.

IDENTIFYING THE CAUSE OF discharge from a cat's eye

Now that your cat’s eyes are clean, you can examine them closely. Look for any abnormalities such as redness, swelling, white spots on the eye, etc. If you see anything abnormal, go through the self-diagnosis chart for your cat’s eye again to see what you can do about the problem.


There’s a good chance that there’s a viral infection going on if there is discharge from your cat’s eye and you can’t find a problem in the eye. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this yourself. Your cat will have to resolve this virus on its own. In this case, you can support the eyes with eye drops that boost eye resistance and prevent bacteria from infecting the eye. Bacteria often cause what we call a “secondary infection”. As a result of the reduced resistance in the eye caused by a virus, bacteria can more easily grow and cause additional problems.

The eye drop that you can use in this case is the one below. You should administer it two times a day in the eyes, usually for about 5 to 7 days. After that, your cat’s dirty eyes should be resolved.

When should you see a veterinarian?

If you only see discharge from your cat’s eye and no other eye abnormalities, you do not need to immediately go to a veterinarian. Supporting the eyes with the eye drops for a few days and keeping the eyes clean is usually sufficient in most cases.

However, if it is a very old or very young cat (less than 15 weeks old), their resistance is less powerful. In that case, it is best to visit a veterinarian. Also, if you see that it is only getting worse or if your cat is in a lot of pain, it is advisable to pay a visit to the veterinarian.

Hopefully the eye will heal soon and the discharge from your cat’s eye will be gone. 

discharge from a cat's eye is being examined by a vet.