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Cat Squinting

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Cat Squinting

There are many reasons why cats squint their eyes.

Cat Squinting and Problems with Eyelids

Blepharitis typically happens when the eyes are scratched during a cat fight. Infection can easily set into the scratches and other surface injuries. This can contribute to an itchy eyelid, the formation of crust, and a buildup of pus and dirt on and around the eyelid.

Other Causes

Additional causes for blepharitis can include mites or Cat Ringworm. Head mange mites can create strong itching. When cats respond with severe scratching, hair loss, redness, and the formation of scabs can occur. A ringworm infection involves the hair found on the eyelid, making it brittle or causing it fall out. Itching is not a symptom of ringworm. With this condition, the skin can appear scaly, but there is generally no redness or irritation found.

Treatment of Blepharitis

Keeping the area clean is the most beneficial way to treat blepharitis. Applying mineral oil a couple times each day can protect the eye. Warm compresses can help remove scabs formed by scratching the eyelids. Veterinarian care should be sought, as antibiotics may be needed if an infection is present.


This condition involves spasms of the muscles located around the eyes. This can contribute to a cat's squinting, as it creates a tightening of the muscles of the eyelid. The contraction causes the eyes to appear partially closed and the eyelids to roll toward the inside corner of the eye. The inward direction of the eyelids causes them to rub against the eyeballs, which increases the pain and spasms. A foreign agent trapped within the cat’s eye or eyelid typically causes blepharospasm.

Treatment of Blepharospasm

Removing the irritant from the eye is the best way to treat this condition. Until it can be removed, eye drops are given to assist in relieving the pain and irritation of the spasms. The relief is only temporary however.


Chemosis, or sudden swelling of the eyelids, is characterized by puffy, fluid filled eyelids of an affected cat. The primary cause for the disorder is Cat Allergies. Responses to Cat Bug Bites, Cat Food Allergies, and drugs can all contribute to chemosis.

Treatment of Chemosis

The condition is not serious in nature, and can be treated in a short period of time. Typically, removing the allergen is all that is needed for the ailment to subside. Drops and ointments containing a corticosteroid can be used in minor cases of chemosis.

Foreign Material

Many small particles of dust, dirt, grass, and hair can become trapped underneath the eyelids of cats. This presence of foreign bodies tends to be more prominent in outdoor cats. These materials can cause irritation to the eye. The first signs are generally excessive watering and tearing of the eye, as well as squinting and blinking frequently. The underlying membrane may be visible to help protect the eye.

Treatment of Foreign Material in the Eye

If the irritant is dirt of debris, it can be removed by holding the eyelid open and flushing the eye with cool water or artificial tears for 10 seconds. Apply the liquid by soaking a cotton ball and allowing it to drip into the eye or using the dripper from a bottle. If you can see the foreign body but cannot remove it from the eye with irrigation, try gently swabbing it with a moistened cotton swab. The foreign body can sometimes stick to the cotton and be removed.

For foreign bodies that cannot be seen in the eye, a veterinarian is needed to lift the eyelid and remove the irritant. This should never be done at home, as further damage or irritation can occur, especially with a cat that is resisting restraint.

Suggested Products

Eye Easy for Cat Conjunctivitis Stimmune for Cats with Allergies Rescue Spray for Insect Bites on Cats

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