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Published: Mar 30, 2012

Conjunctivitis is a common eye condition in cats, and it's important pet owners are aware of the signs of this condition. Conjunctivitis in cats is typically easy to spot, but it may be difficult to determine the exact cause.

Cats with conjunctivitis will usually show excessive watering or tearing from the affected eye and there may also be a yellow or greenish discharge. The tissue around the eye often becomes red and looks inflamed. This is a painful condition so many cats will squint and try to hold their eye closed.  It will likely be obvious to an owner that something is wrong with the eye, so a veterinarian should be contacted as soon as these signs develop.

There are two types of conjunctivitis - infectious and non-infectious. Infectious conjunctivitis may be caused by any number of viruses or bacteria, although the most common causes are feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus. Non-infectious conjunctivitis may occur in certain breeds of cats, such as Persians, due to a rolled in eyelid and excessive eyelash contact with the eye itself. Conjunctivitis may also result from an allergic reaction, foreign material such as dust and sand that has become trapped and even eye tumors.

A veterinarian will perform several tests to thoroughly evaluate a cat with conjunctivitis. The typical treatment for conjunctivitis is eye drops or ointment, although the vet may also prescribe additional treatments depending on the cause or the severity of the conjunctivitis.