Know the importance of good vision for your cat. He needs his eyes to function well, especially if he spends a lot of time outside or if he likes to hunt. To keep his eyes in top shape, you need to know how to clean a cat’s eyes.
First of all, read these facts about a cat’s eyes. The cat can see very well in about 1/6 of the light required by our eyes. As the cat has more rods in his eyes than we have, he can catch much more light than we can.
The pupils in your cat’s eyes change according to the amount of light. The agility of kitty’s eye muscles allows him to adapt to the light available.
The cat’s most striking feature often becomes his eyes. A healthy cat’s eyes should look clear and bright. If a crust forms around them, you must remove it, as if allowed to remain, it could block tear ducts and become infected.
Supplies You Will Need
- Distilled or sterilized water
- Soft washcloth (Use a clean cotton cloth)
- Cotton balls or makeup cleaning pads
- Two clean cups
- Large bath towel
You can boil your water to make sure it’s free of any microbes. Of course, allow it to cool to room temperature. Then, to help your cat keep his eyes clean, dampen a soft cloth or a cotton ball with distilled water at room temperature and gently wipe the eyes.
If kitty’s eyes become encrusted with a hard, crumbly crust on lids or corners, they will need a thorough cleaning. Bring one cup of distilled water to a boil and add a bit less than one teaspoon of table salt. Boil until the salt dissolves completely. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Signs Of A Bigger Problem
Often, discharge or crustiness may come from a simple cause, such as an allergy. Then, the problem becomes how to figure out the cause of this allergy.
However, if kitty’s eyes appear swollen or if they have a greenish or pus-like discharge, or if the crust keeps reappearing even though you try to keep the eyes clean, contact your vet as soon as possible, as these can be signs of an infection or other eye problem. These include feline conjunctivitis or feline pink eye.
Also, if your kitty’s third eyelid (the extra white eyelid that lies underneath the upper and lower eyelids) starts showing constantly, you may have a serious problem. If the cat appears to be squinting, this problem also needs addressing.
If your cat has long hair, try to keep it trimmed away from the eyes. The cat’s cornea especially needs protecting, as it can become scratched by foreign objects, which include kitty’s own hair.
What Is The Best Time To Wash The Eye?
Choose a moment when the cat relaxes, not a moment when he might be busy with a favorite toy or hunting for a varmint loose in the house. If kitty is in a relaxed, mellow mood, your job will be easier.
Two People Can Make The Job Easier
Your cat, calm and mellow as she may become, may not like it when you try to wash her eyes. Thus, it might prove better to have a second person with you who can hold the cat while you do the cleaning.
Wrap a towel around your kitty and let your assistant hold her. Move slowly as you approach the eye, making sure kitty closes it so you will not have the danger of scratching the cornea.
Pour 1/2 the saline solution into each cup. Apply pressure gently around this sensitive area. Sweep the moistened cloth or cotton ball down and outward, away from the nose.
Start cleaning at the near corner of the eye and work your way outward. This method will remove dirt, debris, and discharge more effectively.
If you have medication to apply, clean the eyes before adding any medicine.
Work With One Eye At A Time
Dip a cotton ball into the salt water solution; then gently wipe the encrusted area. If needed, use more than one cotton ball, and wipe gently until all the crustiness is removed.
When you clean the eye, make sure that the cat knows that the cleaning cotton or cloth now will come toward her face, as she needs to close that eye. Move toward the eye from the side and above, so the cat will not feel like you are going to make a head-on attack.
When starting the second eye, begin with a new cotton ball, and the second cup of saline solution. Repeat, using the same process as with the first eye, using as many cotton balls as needed, until all the crust on the eye becomes removed.
When you finish, be sure to give your cat extra love and some treats for putting up with the process.
Throw away the used cotton balls and wash your hands thoroughly. If the eyes become encrusted again, repeat the washing process.
How Often Should You Clean Your Cat’s Eyes?
You can clean your cat’s eyes as often as twice a week. However, if you see considerable discharge, you might clean those eyes every day.
If you would like to purchase an eyewash specifically created for cats, below, check with Amazon for Tomlyn Opticlear Eyewash. It shows as currently unavailable. Another link to a gentle blend that won’t cause discomfort is for Vetericyn’s Antimicrobial Eyewash.
Make sure to follow directions but discontinue use and see your vet if you find any sign of infection or allergic reaction.
An interesting suggestion from one of my references, thepetsmaster.com: To effectively diminish harmful bacteria, make some calming chamomile tea, cool it, and apply gently to your cat’s eyes. Use of the tea with its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties can ensure extra protection.
If the eye seems quite disease-affected, you can apply the tea bag directly on the eye; then when the debris softens, you will be able to remove it.
Though your cat may not enjoy the experience, he will find his improved vision a great boon, and will probably thank you later, even though silently.
References I used for this post: