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My Cat’s Eyes are Watering: What Does it Mean?

Many cat owners have come across their cat’s eyes watering. If this is the first time that you have ever encountered anything like this, it is normal to feel worried. You may even ask yourself: Why are my cat’s eyes watering? What does it mean?

There are many possible reasons why a cat’s eyes may be watering, and the conditions causing watery eyes can range from fairly mild to severe. For example, allergies and a blocked tear duct can cause a cat’s eyes to water. However, watery eyes in cats can sometimes also be a sign that they are injured or have an infection.

In this article we will explain why cat’s eyes water and describe all its causes in detail. In addition, we will also explain when you should see a vet about your cat’s watery eyes. Let’s get straight into it.

Why Are My Cats Eyes Watering All of A Sudden?

There are many possible reasons behind why a cat’s eyes are watering. Possibly the most common cause of watery eyes in cats are allergies, upper respiratory infections, blocked tear ducts, and conjunctivitis. However, watery eyes in cats can sometimes also be a sign that they have a genetic eye condition, an eye injury, or a foreign body in their eye. Here are all the causes for watery eyes in cats.


Many cats suffer from allergies, and this is one of the most common causes for watery eyes in cats. Some other potential signs of allergies in cats in addition to watery eyes include:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Itchiness around the eyes, nose, and ears
  • Excessive grooming
  • Pink or red skin
  • Hair loss (in patches)
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Wheezing and snoring

Luckily, allergies in cats are normally very treatable when treated by a vet. As the symptoms of allergies can lead to complications in cats when left untreated, it is recommended that you take your cat to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect that they have allergies.

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Upper Respiratory Infections

Some upper respiratory infections can also cause watery eyes in cats. Like with allergies, other symptoms tend to be present in cats with upper respiratory infections. These symptoms include but may not be limited to:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sneezing, coughing, and/or wheezing
  • Discharge coming from the eyes and nose
  • Red eyes
  • Swollen eyes (in severe cases eyes may be swollen shut)
  • Foul breath

Upper respiratory infections in cats are fairly treatable when treated quickly by a vet. Of course, the earlier that the infection is treated the better. It is important to note that upper respiratory infections in cats are contagious. As a result, you may also want to quarantine your sick cat if you have other cats in the home.

A Blocked Tear Duct

Blocked tear ducts in cats can cause them to have watery eyes. Blocked tear ducts can be caused by many different things including infections and injuries. Here are some other signs of blocked tear ducts in cats.

  • Red eyes
  • A buildup of eye discharge (may be crusty)
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Excessive blinking
  • Rubbing at the eyes
  • Pawing at the eyes

Over time blocked tear ducts in cats can potentially lead to vision problems if left untreated. As a result, it is recommended that cat owners take their cat to the vet immediately if they suspect that their cat has a blocked tear duct.

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Eye Injuries

Injuries to a cat’s eyes can also cause them to have watery eyes. Usually, injury to a cat’s eyes will create inflammation and redness along with the eye discharge, and in some cases, there may be some other signs of an injury such as bleeding.

Genetic Conditions

Some cats can be more prone to watery eyes because of genetic eye conditions. Brachycephalic cat breeds such as Persian cats tend to be particularly prone to these problems. As a result, it is always best to take your cat to the vet if their eyes are watering, even if they are not exhibiting any other symptoms.

A Foreign Body

A foreign object in a cat’s eye is sure to cause some inflammation and watering. Oftentimes cat owners will be able to see if there is a foreign object in their cat’s eye. However, this may not always be the case. If you suspect that your cat has a foreign body in their eye, then you should take them to the vet immediately. This way they will be able to take the object out of your cat’s eye safely and without risk for it going in deeper. You should never try to remove a foreign body from a cat’s eye yourself.


Conjunctivitis is a viral or bacterial infection of a cat’s eye, and it is often referred to as pink eye. Conjunctivitis in cats can be caused by several different diseases, and a cat may or may not have an upper respiratory infection along with conjunctivitis. Some common symptoms of conjunctivitis in cats include:

  • Discharge coming from the eyes (may be clear, mucus like or contain blood)
  • Itchy eyes (pawing or rubbing at the eyes)
  • Hair loss around the eyes (as a result of itching)
  • Red, swollen, and inflamed looking eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Squinting
  • Excessive swelling to the point where a cat cannot fully open or close their eye

Due to how uncomfortable conjunctivitis is for cats, it is always best to get this condition treated by a vet as soon as possible. Conjunctivitis in cats can be contagious, so you may need to take some extra precautions if you have multiple cats.

Should I Be Worried About My Cat’s Eyes Watering?

Although you definitely shouldn’t panic about your cat’s watery eyes, it is natural to be a bit worried. This is especially true considering that a cat’s watery eyes are usually a sign that they have some kind of medical problem.

What Can I Get My Cat For Watery Eyes?

The best thing that you can get for your cat’s watery eyes is a vet visit. This is because watering eyes in cats can be caused by many different things, and the only way to know that you are treating your cat’s watery eyes properly is through official diagnosis.

If you have more questions about your cat’s eyes watering, be sure to take them to Bottletree Animal Hospital. Call us today at (662) 234-4336. We’re here to help!

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