Cat Eye Discharge: What Causes Boogers In Cats Eyes

Sep 30, 2023 | Cat Health, Grooming

Have you noticed those crusty little eye boogers your cat is always trying to wipe on you when they want to rub they face on your chin or hand? Yeah, those little crusty boogers are pretty gross and likely make you want to push your furball away. But your cat’s eye boogers are not usually a cause for concern as long as it’s a small amount. Today, we’ll explore the causes of cat eye discharge and how to keep your furry friend’s eyes healthy. How much eye discharge is normal? Which cat breeds are more prone to this issue? And we’ll provide tips on when it’s necessary to take your cat to the veterinarian. So while you won’t be able to completely rid your cat or yourself of those nasty crust particles, you can at least be armed with the knowledge you need for clear and healthy eyes!

Cat Eye Boogers Key Takeaways

Orange Paw Bullet Point  Cat eye discharge can be caused by various factors such as blockage or dysfunction in tear ducts, eye infections, foreign objects, dry eye syndrome, upper respiratory infections, and more.

Orange Paw Bullet Point  The amount, color, and consistency of eye discharge can vary, but excessive or color-changing discharge may indicate infection or illness.

Orange Paw Bullet Point  Certain cat breeds, particularly brachycephalic breeds like Persians or Himalayans, are more prone to eye boogers due to their unique facial structures.

Orange Paw Bullet Point  To alleviate discomfort, promote healing, and prevent complications, it’s important to keep the eyes clean, seek veterinary care if discharge persists or becomes excessive, regularly check for redness or swelling, and maintain overall ocular health.

What Is Cat Eye Discharge?

Cat eye discharge is a common issue that can be caused by various factors. It can manifest as boogers in cats’ eyes and may indicate an underlying problem. One possible cause of cat eye discharge is a blockage or dysfunction in the tear ducts. This can prevent tears from draining properly, leading to the accumulation of discharge. Another potential cause is an eye infection, which can be caused by bacteria or viruses. In some cases, a foreign object may irritate the eyes and trigger excessive tearing and discharge. Dry eye syndrome, characterized by insufficient tear production, can also result in watery eyes and discharge. Upper respiratory infections are another culprit for cat eye discharge. Depending on the cause, treatment options may include using eye drops or ointments to alleviate symptoms and address the underlying issue causing the cat’s eye discharge.

Is A Small Amount Of Eye Discharge Normal?

Black cat with eye boogers

When you notice a small amount of discharge around your pet’s eyes, it is typically nothing to be concerned about. Cat eye discharge, also known as “boogers in cats’ eyes,” is a common occurrence and is usually harmless. This discharge can vary in color and consistency, ranging from clear and watery to slightly brown or crusty after drying. It’s important to note that not all eye discharge indicates an underlying health issue. However, if the discharge becomes excessive or changes in color (such as turning yellow or green), it may be a sign of infection or illness. Conditions such as feline calicivirus, feline upper respiratory infection (URI), or feline herpes virus can cause increased tear production and nasal discharge, leading to eye boogers. If you notice any concerning changes in your cat’s eye discharge or other symptoms like redness or swelling, it is best to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Cat Breeds More Prone To Cat Eye Boogers

If you own a brachycephalic breed, like Persians or Himalayans, you might notice an increased occurrence of eye discharge. These adorable cats have unique facial structures that can lead to issues with their eyes. One common problem is the formation of crusty boogers in their eyes. This can be caused by various factors, such as conjunctivitis, which is inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane covering the eyeball. The discharge may appear yellow or green if there is a bacterial or fungal infection present. However, sometimes the discharge is clear and runny, indicating blepharitis or allergies. It’s important to pay attention to your cat’s eye health and seek veterinary care if you notice any unusual or persistent eye discharge.

Common Causes Of Eye Discharge

If your cat has eye discharge, it could be due to a number of causes:


Cats with conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, may experience red and swollen eyes, along with light sensitivity and clear, teary, or thick mucus eye discharge. This discharge is what we’re referring to as “eye boogers”. It can range in color from clear to yellow, depending on the severity of the infection. Conjunctivitis can be caused by various factors, such as viral infections or corneal ulcers. If your cat has a runny nose or is excessively blinking, it could indicate a viral infection that has spread to their eyes. Additionally, sticky discharge around the eyes can be a sign of conjunctivitis. It’s important to monitor your cat’s symptoms closely and seek veterinary care if you notice any changes in their eye health.


Watery Or Tearing Eyes (Epiphoria)

You may notice excessive tearing or watery eyes in your feline friend, which can be caused by various factors such as blocked tear ducts or allergies. Eye problems are common in cats, and it’s important for you, as a cat owner, to pay attention to any signs of eye issues in your pet’s eyes. Excessive tearing or watery discharge can indicate an underlying cause, such as a foreign body, corneal disorders, or even a sign of infection. Red eyes and clear discharge from the affected eye may also be seen. While some cases may resolve on their own, it’s always recommended to schedule a vet appointment for proper diagnosis and appropriate treatments. Certain serious conditions like feline herpesvirus or ocular discharge can lead to permanent damage if not given prompt veterinary attention. Additionally, an eye injury should never be ignored, as it can potentially lead to further complications if left untreated. Remember that seeking medical advice from a veterinarian is crucial when dealing with any concerns regarding the eyes of your cats.


Feline Upper Respiratory Infection

Excessive tearing and a sticky, pus-like discharge from the affected eye are common symptoms of feline upper respiratory infection. If your cat has these symptoms, it’s important to provide proper care to help them feel better. Start by gently cleaning the corner of their eyes with warm water and a soft cloth. This will help remove any crust or debris that may be causing discomfort. Be sure to avoid using any harsh chemicals or irritants on their delicate eye area. Feline upper respiratory infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or protozoa, so it’s crucial to seek veterinary care for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Your vet may prescribe eye medications to alleviate inflammation and combat infection. In severe cases, they might recommend additional treatments like antibiotics or antiviral drugs. It’s worth noting that feline upper respiratory infections can sometimes stem from an allergic reaction or even a skin infection around the eyes. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help identify any underlying condition and prevent future occurrences. If you notice excessive blinking from your cat or rubbing at their eyes, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional guidance.

Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)

If left untreated, dry eye can lead to blindness and cause discomfort due to inadequate tear production. Dry eye, also known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), is a chronic condition that affects the cats’ cornea and conjunctiva. It occurs when there is inflammation of the tissue and decreased tear production in cat eyes. Common symptoms include redness, irritation, and yellow discharge from the eyes. To help manage this condition, you can gently clean your cat’s eyes using cotton balls soaked in warm water. In some cases, oral medications may be prescribed by a veterinarian to stimulate tear production or treat any underlying conditions causing dry eye, such as nasolacrimal obstructions or short noses. With proper treatment and care, there’s a good chance of managing dry eye effectively in cats.

Woman cleaning eye boogers from her cats eyes with a soft cloth with warm water


Uveitis is a painful inflammation of the internal structures of the eye. It can be caused by various factors, including inflammation, trauma, cancer, immune problems, and infections. When cats have uveitis, they may experience cat eye discharge or what some people call “boogers” in their eyes. This discharge can be a sign that something is wrong with your cat’s eyes and should not be ignored. It could indicate the presence of foreign material or a systemic infection. In severe cases, uveitis can lead to glaucoma or damage to the optic nerve if left untreated. To help alleviate your cat’s discomfort and promote healing, it’s important to keep their eyes clean and free from any discharge or debris. Gently wipe away any boogers from your cat’s eyes using a soft cloth dampened with warm water or saline solution. If the discharge persists or becomes excessive, it’s recommended to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotic ointments to treat any underlying infections and reduce inflammation in your cat’s eyes. They may also recommend medications to manage pain and control symptoms of glaucoma if necessary.

Corneal Disorders

To ensure your cat’s corneal health, it’s crucial to monitor any signs of inflammation, injury, or ulceration. Corneal disorders can cause various symptoms in cats’ eyes, including cloudiness, frequent blinking, and an overflow of tears. One common problem associated with corneal disorders is the overproduction of tears, which can lead to those boogers in your cat’s eyes which is really just a sticky discharge. This discharge can be caused by bacterial infection or fungal infections that affect the cat’s cornea. Eye injuries are also a common cause of corneal disorders and may result from trauma or foreign objects entering the eye.

How To Keep Your Cat’s Eyes Healthy

Veterinarian placing eye drops in a cats eyes

Make sure you schedule regular veterinary check-ups to keep your cat’s eyes healthy. Cat eye discharge and boogers in their eyes can be caused by various factors, including allergies, infections, or even foreign objects. It’s crucial to keep your cat’s eyes clean and free from any irritants that may cause discomfort or pain. Regularly check for signs of redness, cloudiness, or a change in color or shape of their eyes. If you notice any discharge or boogers, you can gently clean the area with a cotton ball or soft cloth dampened with warm water. Avoid using over-the-counter treatments unless prescribed by a veterinarian. Seek professional advice if the condition persists as it may require specific eye irritation treatment.

When To Take Your Cat To The Veterinarian For Eye Boogers

If you notice any colored discharge or frequent rubbing at your pet’s eyes, it’s time to schedule a veterinary appointment as soon as possible. Eye boogers in cats can indicate a problem, so it’s crucial to take your cat to the veterinarian if you observe yellow or green looking discharge, as this could be a sign of an underlying issue. Don’t wait too long to seek medical attention for your furry friend – taking action sooner rather than later can help prevent further complications and preserve their vision. The veterinarian will be able to examine your cat’s eyes thoroughly and provide the necessary treatment to address the cause of the eye boogers. Remember, your cat relies on you to keep them healthy, so don’t hesitate when it comes to their well-being.

Vet doctor examining pet cat eyes

Cat Eye Boogers Frequently Asked Questions

Can Cat Eye Discharge Be Contagious to Humans?

Yes, an underlying infection causing cat eye discharge can be contagious to humans. It’s important to avoid direct contact with the discharge and wash your hands thoroughly after handling your cat.


How Can I Prevent Cat Eye Discharge in My Cat?

A little cat eye discharge is completely normal. To prevent cat eye boogers, keep your cat’s eyes clean by gently wiping away any discharge with a damp cloth. Regularly check for signs of infection or irritation and consult a veterinarian if needed.


Are There Any Home Remedies to Treat Cat Eye Discharge?

There are home remedies you can try to treat cat eye discharge. Warm water and a clean cloth can help gently clean the eyes. However, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Can Stress or Anxiety Cause Cat Eye Discharge?

Yes, stress or anxiety can cause cat eye discharge. When your feline friend feels stressed or anxious, it can lead to an increase in tear production and result in boogers in their eyes.


Is There a Specific Age Range When Cats Are More Prone to Developing Eye Boogers?

There isn’t a specific age range when cats are more prone to developing eye boogers. However, it’s important to monitor any changes in your cat’s eye discharge and consult a veterinarian if you have concerns.

The Tail End

Keeping your cat’s eyes healthy is essential for their overall well-being. Regularly cleaning any eye discharge can help prevent infections and discomfort. Some cat breeds are more prone to eye boogers, so it’s important to be aware of potential issues. If you notice excessive or abnormal discharge, it’s best to take your cat to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. Remember, taking care of your cat’s eyes will ensure they have a happy and healthy life.

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