Grumpy cat

Curing Kitty’s Conjunctivitis: How to Get Rid of Pink Eye in Cats

What Is Pink Eye?

Pink eye is an inflammation of the eyes and their surrounding membranes. This means that the eyes and the area around the eyes will be red, swollen, and itchy. This is a problem that infects many creatures including humans, dogs, and cats.

It may disturb you to know that Pink Eye (technically called conjunctivitis) is often caused by microbes very similar to those that we commonly associate with sexually transmitted diseases.

To put it more clearly, the most common microbial culprits of this kind of infection are Herpes and Chlamydophila. That means that you are dealing with a low-level viral infection here.

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Of course, there are a few things that can cause this problem other than the above-named viruses. We will cover more about that in the section below.

How Did My Cat Develop This Problem in The First Place?

Curing Kitty’s Conjunctivitis: How to Get Rid of Pink Eye in Cats

As we already said, Pink Eye is usually caused by some type of microbial virus. Bacteria and fungi can also play a role if these are somehow allowed to get into the eye of a cat. This is what veterinarians call “infectious conjunctivitis.”

However, this kind of eye irritation can also result from a non-microbial source. It can be caused by a piece of debris becoming lodged in the eye. If your cat is particularly active and mischievous, there are all manner of ways in which this can happen.

How Can I Know for Sure That My Cat Has Pink Eye?

Your cat will probably be seen digging and scratching at their eyes, and some frustrated meowing might accompany this. Thus, you will probably notice that there is a problem.

In most cases, a cat will instinctively come to its owner and meow loudly when something is wrong. This is because they understand the fact that you are their master, and they want you to help them accordingly. They will probably make it plain.

However, if your cat doesn’t “tell” you about the problem, you might recognize it anyway since your cats’ eyes will be puffy and irritated. They will probably be very red, so don’t go thinking that your cat is possessed by a demon or anything like that.

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What Can I Do About This Problem?

Your next step should be a trip to the vet. They will be able to conduct a variety of tests to determine what is wrong. The microbes that cause this condition are common ones and can be tested for with no difficulty and relatively little cost.

Once you have confirmed that your cat has pink eye, your vet will probably prescribe two things: some antibiotic eyedrops and anti-inflammatory medicine. The medicine can be ground up and slipped into their favorite food, so this isn’t a problem.

By the way, I recommend tuna as the best food for giving cats medicine. The taste of the tuna apparently does a good job of masking the taste of most medicines, and cats really love tuna anyway.

As for the eye drops, this part might be a little difficult. I hope that you don’t have a particularly feisty cat, because you might have some trouble if that is the case. You are going to have to put liquid in your cat’s eye, and you will have to do it regularly. They will not be very happy, that is for sure.

Even the most cooperative cat is likely to give you a little trouble here. It may be necessary to gently restrain your cat in order for you to administer the medicine. It is essential that the cat holds still so that the liquid does not miss the eye.

Thankfully, you shouldn’t have to do this for very long. If your cat’s infection is not very bad, the vet may even choose to forego the eye drops. Obviously, this part of the process will and should be left up to someone with the knowledge to know best.

Are There Any Other Conditions That Can Cause These Symptoms?

Although the majority of Pink Eye cases are caused by microbial pathogens, there are a few other things that can cause the same kind of irritation. Let’s go over a few of these things.

First of all, allergies can cause serious irritation to the eye. While this is not “Pink Eye” in the sense that it isn’t a microbial infection, the results are more or less the same. Getting an allergenic material lodged in the eye is especially bad.

Obviously, the only way to deal with this over the long haul is to identify the allergen and keep your cat away from it in the future. This may very well require the help of a vet. That shouldn’t surprise you since we are dealing with viruses here.

We have already mentioned that a physical object lodged in the eye can be a source of terrible inflammation that mimics the symptoms of Pink Eye. Chemicals can also cause a similar effect. Exposure to chemicals, however, must be treated differently.

If the condition is a result of chemical exposure, a good flush of the eye with clean water is a good place to begin. If this doesn’t clear it up, medical attention is needed immediately. Don’t hesitate or your cat may go blind.

How Will My Cat React?

Sick white cat

Your cat will certainly not be happy about any of this, that is for sure. The main thing you have to watch out for is the possibility that the cat will hide from you. With enough discomfort, this could easily happen.

If you think your cat might be the type to do this, try to get rid of your homes’ best hiding spots. You can eliminate certain nooks and crannies by rearranging the furniture, and you can use wooden panels to close off any potential hiding holes.

Some of this will depend on how early you noticed the infection. If you caught the problem early, your cat might still be acting more or less normal. Aside from some rubbing of the eyes, they might act normal in every way.

One of the early warning signs is general cloudiness of the eye, and a tendency to squint. If you see your cat squinting a whole lot, and if their eyes don’t seem as bright and clear as they usually are, you might be dealing with Pink Eye.

If the condition is allowed to worsen, however, your cat will probably become just as mentally irritated as their eyes are physically irritated. Have you ever had Pink Eye? If so, put yourself in that position. It is infuriating.

If you haven’t had this problem, just understand that it’s kind of like when you get an eyelash stuck in your eye. Now imagine that, except it doesn’t go away when you pull out the eyelash. That will give you a good idea of what your cat is feeling.

As such, try to be understanding if the animal is a little less friendly while all of this is going down. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that you should forgive your cat if they bite or scratch you at this time.

What Are the Long-Term Results if This Problem Is Left Untreated?

Curing Kitty’s Conjunctivitis: How to Get Rid of Pink Eye in Cats

If a problem like this is allowed to remain for too long without being properly addressed, it can result in serious damage to your cat’s eyes. As such, their vision will be impaired to one degree or another.

Your cat could develop clouded eyes, cataracts, or even total blindness. We will assume that you care about your cat since you are doing your research by reading this article. As such, we are quite sure that you don’t want your cat to go blind.

Is There a Risk That I Could Get Pink Eye From My Cat?

There is most certainly a risk that you could get Pink Eye from your cat. This is an infection that doesn’t discriminate very much when it comes to the species of their host. They will infest virtually any creature, and that includes you.

Whenever you are handling your Pink-Eye-infected cat, make sure you wear some latex gloves. This may seem excessive, but you will only have to do this for a short while. You can save money on gloves by only handling your cat when necessary.

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If you need to wipe any of the discharge away from your cat’s eyes (and you will), make sure that you do not touch the discharge, and that you dispose of it properly. I would recommend putting it in a plastic bag and then putting it in an outdoor trash can.

Trust me; Pink Eye is not fun. I once got a serious case of it from my dogs. One of them came down with it, and I was not quite careful enough when I was handling them. I got the infection, and it was a terrible experience. I don’t recommend it one bit.

Why Do You Need the Help of a Vet for This Problem so Badly?

A lot of our solutions to this problem require the help of a qualified and trusted vet, and it is very hard to get around that fact. These kinds of viral microbes are very hard to deal with using over-the-counter medicines.

One problem is that the strong antibiotics that are needed to counter this infection could be dangerous if they are spread too widely. If too many cultures of the virus are subjected to the same antibiotic for a long time, the viruses may mutate.

This means that the viruses will not only be immune to the antibiotics that worked so well previously, they will also be stronger. Their effects upon the body are likely to be made worse as a result. This is why OTC antibiotics are not as strong.

Think of it like this: while the weaker antibiotics are available to all, the stronger antibiotics are like humanity’s secret weapon against the viral horde. If these weapons are used too often, the enemy will figure out how to defeat them. We don’t want that.


Pink Eye, although it is a seriously irritating problem, is actually not that bad in the big scheme of diseases. With all the medical conditions that your cat could become afflicted with, be thankful that your cat has contracted a virus that will only cause a lot of irritation.

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We hope that this article has been useful to you and that your cat has a speedy recovery. With a little bit of competency from you, your cat will soon be back to its old rambunctious lifestyle, which will be a good thing … for the most part.

Product data was last updated on 2019-08-20.

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