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How Do Cats Get Eye Infections?

Updated: August 11, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

Cats, like all living beings on this little planet of ours, are predisposed to getting infections at some point in their lives. Some of the most common are eye infections and we’re sure you’ve seen a lot of cases of cats with those kinds of problems. But how do cats get eye infections?

Knowing the answer to that might help you prevent some of the infections and take the necessary measures when they occur, making your little feline friend’s life a little bit more easier in those moments.

How Do Cats Get Eye Infections

First, let’s get to know the healthy eye of a cat. It’s supposed to be clear and luminescent with no signs of inflammation or scars in the surrounding tissues. Anything that looks abnormal might be a sign of an infection in the area, so a visit to the vet should be the first step in dealing with the problem.

Infections of the eye can have different sources and here we’re going to talk about the most common.

Cornea Damage or Injuries

The cornea is the transparent cover of the eye and any tear or rupture that occurs to it means that bacteria can fill the little hole and multiply, causing troubles to the cat’s eye.

The injuries to the cornea can come from any kind of scratch, either by accident or as a result from a fight with another cat or other animal. The damage can also come from another nearby infection left untreated for too long.

The signs that the cornea is damaged can be corneal ulceration – a tint of blue on the cornea, conjunctivitis – crusty or watery eyes or squinting.

Viral Infections

The most common cause for a cat eye infection are the pesky viruses. The most prevalent are the feline herpes virus and feline calici virus infections that can both cause conjunctivitis, which can further lead to inflammation of the eye, sticky discharge which dries and ends up as a crust.

The affection is very contagious, and once inside a cat’s system, it will stay there for the rest of her life, resurfacing in times of illness or stress.

Bacterial Infections

Most bacterial infections occur after a previous eye injury or viral infection. Once the immune system of the cat is busy with taking care of other troubles, bacteria can take advantage and set up in the damaged or ‘undefended’ part like a cat’s injured or ill eye for example.

The symptoms resemble the ones of the viral infections, with the most common bacteria for a cat’s eye infection being the chlamydia.


While you can’t prevent everything, most of these infections can be prevented by proper vaccination of your fellow cat at the right time. Also, infections from injuries could be avoided by keeping your cat inside and protected from the feral cats or other animals roaming around the streets.

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