What Can Cause Watery Eyes In Your Pet Cat?

Under normal circumstances, your cat should have a damp, clean nose and bright, dry eyes, but even felines occasionally get the sniffles. You may first notice watery eyes in your cat because of the tear stains that tend to develop on their fur. While watery eyes may be caused by something as simple as a stray speck of dust, it can also be a sign of a more serious issue, and you should bring your cat into your veterinarian's office if the symptom persists. Walking through the following four steps with your vet should help you identify the cause and begin treating the problem.

Ruling Out Pink Eye

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is just as contagious among cats as it is in humans, and the disease is a common one in outdoor cats. If the skin around your cat's eye is red and swollen, you are likely dealing with pinkeye. Thankfully, this disease can be cleared up quickly with antibiotics. Your vet may also test your cat for feline herpes at this time, since conjunctivitis is one of its primary symptoms.

Checking for Infection 

In other cases, your cat may be suffering from another type of infection within the sinuses, tear duct or eye. These can be caused by small scratches or appear as the first visible sign of a more widespread infection. Like pinkeye, most infections around the eye can be treated with antibiotics or will be resolved naturally within a few days. You should still have your cat examined and treated, however, because a severe infection could spread and even cause blindness. 

Testing Your Cat for Allergies

Plenty of humans will sniffle around your cat, but they aren't the only ones to suffer from allergies. Cats may develop allergies to a number of common plants, foods and household products, and tracking down your cat's specific allergen can be a tricky process of trial and error. Your vet may test your cat for a reaction to more common allergens and send you home with specially blended allergen-free food to narrow down the culprit faster. 

Diagnosing More Serious Conditions

If all of these tests still haven't turned up a diagnosis, your cat may need to undergo a more thorough examination meant to catch serious conditions like eye tumors, glaucoma or an abnormal tear drainage system. These diseases are rarer, but they also require more extensive treatment and may offer an uncertain prognosis.

With any luck, however, your cat's watery eyes will be cleared up within a few days with no permanent harm done. If your cat seems to be tearing up excessively, don't wait for the problem to get worse before scheduling an exam with your veterinarian