This question is often asked of veterinarians when they notice that a cat is sleeping with only one eye open. There are actually several different reasons cats close their eyes and one of the most common ones is because they are trying to conserve energy.
If you look at your cat, chances are he’s got one eye open and the other closed. He probably can’t see out of both eyes at once. In fact, some people who wear glasses have to choose which eye to wear and which eye to close when they go out. It’s called monocular vision, and we all have it. But what does that have to do with the blog post outline? A lot!
There are many reasons your cat may keep one eye closed. We will go over all the different possible causes of this behavior, and hopefully help you figure out what’s going on!
Why Does My Cat Squint One Eye?
For a variety of causes, your cat’s eyes might become irritated and inflamed, and this irritation can cause your cat to close one eye. Some of them are more concerning than others, so let’s investigate all of the reasons why your cat is squinting and blinking frequently.
Conjunctivitis, which is the most prevalent feline eye condition, might be the cause of your cat closing one eye. In fact, most cats will experience at least moderate conjunctivitis at some point throughout their lives.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the mucus membrane that coats the inside of your cat’s eyelids. You may detect discharge around your cat’s eyes in addition to squinting and closing one eye. It’s also possible that the third eyelid will grow red and puffy.
Conjunctivitis can affect any cat, regardless of breed or gender, because it is not something that cats inherit. Instead, microorganisms that are transmitted from cat to cat cause it. Allergies, such as dust or airborne chemical compounds that induce the illness, can also cause feline conjunctivitis, but this is less common.
It can affect cats of any age, although it is more frequent in kittens. As a result, if your kitten has one eye closed, conjunctivitis is a very likely cause.
Conjunctivitis is usually not a cause for concern and may be treated without the use of medicine. However, if your cat appears to be in a lot of pain, you should take him to a veterinarian clinic for some antibiotic eye drops to aid with the infection. This is crucial because it eliminates the potential of a more serious eye infection.
Another eye illness is glaucoma, which is even more dangerous than conjunctivitis. Fortunately, it is relatively uncommon in cats, but you must rule it out as the cause of your cat’s closed eye.
This is caused by a large amount of pressure that builds up around the eye, not by an infection. This is usually caused by a blockage in the drainage of fluids from the eye, resulting in a considerable volume of liquid accumulating in the region. If left untreated, high pressure around the eyes can damage the optic nerve and result in blindness.
If you observe your cat’s eye bulging and bloodshot, they might be suffering from glaucoma. Because your cat will be in excruciating pain if they have this condition, you may notice behavioral changes such as refusal to eat, increased irritability, or more frequent sleeping.
Glaucoma in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including an underlying illness or trauma. If you suspect your cat has glaucoma, take them to the doctor right once so they may be prescribed medication to relieve the pressure and pain in their eyes. However, because glaucoma cannot be cured or reversed, this will be a long-term therapy. Due to the severe discomfort, surgery may be advised as a last option in the worst-case scenario.
Allergies might potentially be the cause of your cat’s squinting and closing one eye. If your cat is sensitive to anything, they may have painful, itchy, and watery eyes, much like people. As a result, individuals may find themselves squinting or blinking excessively.
Food, fleas and other parasites, fragrances, cleaning chemicals, and pollens are all typical allergies in cats. Sneezing, wheezing, and itching skin are common signs of a cat allergic to one of these items. Cats may also have vomiting or swelling paws in rare situations, depending on the allergy. As previously said, allergies can induce conjunctivitis, which can cause pain and discomfort in the eye, forcing individuals to close it.
Whether you suspect your cat has allergies, take him or her to your veterinarian for a checkup to discover if your suspicions are correct. You can next consider eliminating the allergens from your house or cleaning more frequently based on their results to assist reduce the intensity of the allergic response.
The cornea is the dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye, and a corneal ulcer occurs when the cornea is injured down to the innermost layers. Corneal ulcers can cause irreversible eyesight loss in the worst situations.
If your cat develops a corneal ulcer, the pain will cause them to close their eye firmly. To protect the eye, they could blink quickly or squint all the time. Additionally, there may be discharge accumulating in the corner of the eye.
Trauma, such as a scratch in the eye from a catfight or brushing their eye against a rough surface or sharp item, is the most prevalent cause of corneal ulcers in cats. Chemical burns from shampoos or other liquids, as well as bacterial infections and illnesses, might be the reason. Persian cats are more prone to corneal ulcers due to their flatter features.
Cats with a deep or expanding corneal ulcer may require surgery, or your veterinarian may be able to remove loose portions of the cornea to avoid discomfort. Your cat’s eye will take some time to heal, so give them at least a few weeks inside and limit their activities so they can fully recover.
A corneal abrasion is when your cat’s cornea is injured to a lesser extent and on a more superficial level. These can develop and worsen into an ulcer, so make sure you see your veterinarian and get the proper medicine to avoid this.
Unlike the other reasons why cats keep one eye closed, entropion is a hereditary disorder. Entropion is a condition in which a cat’s eyelid folds inward against the eyeball. Their eyelashes and hair might brush against their eyeball, causing discomfort. This can eventually result in corneal ulcers and visual loss.
Cats frequently have obviously red eyes and, in some circumstances, puss or mucus flowing from the interior, in addition to keeping their eyes closed and squinting. Persians and other short-nosed breeds like Himalayan and Burmese cats are the most typically affected.
Because this is a hereditary condition, cats will have it for the rest of their lives, beginning when they are kittens. As a result, if your senior cat has suddenly started squinting, you can rule out this possibility. This might be the case if one of your kitten’s eyes is closed. Entropion is usually detected by the time your cat reaches the age of two.
Entropion that is mild can be addressed simply by putting a lubricant in the eye. When the cornea has been ulcerated, surgery to turn the eyelids outward is typically necessary.
Blepharitis is an inflammation of your cat’s eyelids that can affect one or both of their eyes. If your cat’s eyelids become infected, they will become puffy and itchy, making it difficult for them to open their eyes. Because to the discomfort and irritation, they may squint or blink constantly.
Allergies, trauma, and eye infections are just a few of the causes that might cause this illness. Entropion is considered to predispose cats to blepharitis, which is somewhat more prevalent in short-faced breeds due to hereditary factors. In certain circumstances, though, there appears to be no reason at all!
The underlying cause of the problem will assist your veterinarian in prescribing appropriate medication; addressing the cause of blepharitis will also eliminate the condition. They may, however, recommend that you use a warm compress for 5 to 10 minutes many times a day to assist reduce symptoms.
Foreign things trapped in your cat’s eye might possibly be the cause of his closed eye. Due to their infrequent blinking, cats are more likely than humans to have objects trapped in their eyes. Small stones, dust or grit, or clumps of hair or fur are all common items that can get stuck in your cat’s eyes.
If your cat has a foreign object in their eye, they will most likely claw at it and rub their face on the floor in an attempt to get it out. Their eyes may also be enlarged, causing them to cry excessively.
This is an easy issue to address; all you need to do is remove the foreign thing that is causing discomfort. When attempting to remove the object yourself, only use a saline solution to do it. Tweezers should never be used since they might cause serious eye damage and make the problem worse. If you don’t want to do it yourself, take your cat to the veterinarian, who will gladly flush the eye for you.
Inflammation of tissues inside your cat’s eye, such as the uvea, can give them a lot of pain.
One such structure is the uvea, which is made up of three parts:
The color of the eye is determined by the iris, which is a circular component of the eye.
The ciliary body is a component of the eye wall that is responsible for fluid production.
The central layer of the eye is called the choroid.
One or more of these components that make up the uvea will be inflamed if your cat has uveitis. High blood pressure, diabetes, ocular injuries, chemical irritants, and infections are only some of the things that might cause this.
A lot of uveitis symptoms are comparable to glaucoma symptoms. Your cat will keep the infected eye closed and the visible parts of the eye will be red and painful. A watery discharge or mucus may also be discharged from the corner of the eye.
Because uveitis is a secondary condition, the underlying cause will be addressed first, followed by anti-inflammatory medication and pain relief to make your cat more comfortable and relieve their stress.
Removing Foreign Objects from a Cat’s Eye
Because cats don’t blink very much, trapped foreign objects are prevalent. The following are signs that a cat has something stuck in its eye:
Grabbing the eyeball
It is rubbing its face on the ground.
Tear production that is excessive
The following are examples of tangible objects that might become stuck in a cat’s eye:
grit and dust
Hair or fur that grows back
Remove any foreign objects from your cat’s eye by cleaning it. Warm water and saline solution should be mixed together. Tweezers should never be used to remove the thing. Cats are wary of their own sight. Fidgeting in your cat might lead to damage.
Environmental factors might also irritate cat eyes. Dust, air freshener, and cigarette smoke all have the potential to cause an allergic reaction. Wash your cat’s eye as before, and the inflammation should go fast.
My Cat’s Eyes are Red Around the Edges
Cats with red-ringed eyes are abnormal. Minor ocular trauma, such as being poked in the eye, may have occurred in your cat. It’s possible that your cat brushed up against a branch or scratched itself while grooming.
If the trauma is little, it will usually heal on its own. Otherwise, your cat will behave normally and blink a bit more. The redness will begin to fade within 1-2 hours.
If this isn’t the case, your cat is most likely suffering from conjunctivitis or an eye infection. The initial symptom is redness in the eye.
Cats do blink, but only on rare occasions. It’s possible that you’ll never notice your cat winking. This isn’t a reason for concern in and of itself. However, you may notice your cat blinking one eye. This might be due to the fact that your cat is:
Having to deal with a foreign item stuck in its eye
The slow blink of a cat is a sign of devotion. This is commonly referred to as a “cat kiss.” If your cat blinks rapidly in one eye, it is most likely irritated, and the blinking is an attempt to relieve the inflammation.
Why Does My Cat Sleep with One Eye Open?
Cats, being inherently wary creatures, feel exposed while sleeping. It’s possible that your cat is sleeping with one eye open. This isn’t the case at all. The nictating membrane is a translucent third eyelid seen in cats. This is found underneath the conjunctiva in the corner of your cat’s eye.
When your cat sleeps, this eyelid shuts. This allows your cat to sleep while being vigilant for danger. If your cat notices movement, it will respond fast.
It’s possible that your cat isn’t sleeping. A sleeping cat’s eyelids will flutter, indicating that it has entered REM sleep, according to Experimental Neurology.
What Should I Do When My Cat Is Keeping One Eye Closed?
It is good knowing what might be the cause of your cat shutting one eye. However, you should also know what to do if you notice your cat blinking one eye so that the issue can get fixed and any long-term damage can be avoided.
Visit the Vet
If you observe your cat closing one eye, squinting a lot, or blinking excessively, you should take him to the veterinarian right away. Eyes are fragile organs that, if not treated properly, swiftly, or with sufficient care, can result in long-term damage and blindness.
Even if you know your cat has an easy-to-fix eye condition, such as grit lodged in their eye that can be washed out with a saline solution, it’s still worth paying a visit to your veterinarian. If even a tiny scrape on the surface of your cat’s eye was made by this particle of grit, it might easily become infected or worsen.
Also, avoid forcing your cat’s eyes to open. Even if you’re checking for signs like seeing whether their eye is red, pushing their eyelids wide might irritate and worsen the injury. Your veterinarian will know how to accomplish this in a safe and non-harmful manner.
While you’re at the vet, you should also inquire about home-feeding and nursing options. Because of the anxiety and suffering they are through, cats with eye problems sometimes lose their appetite totally. However, ensuring that your cat receives the proper nutrition is critical to maintaining a strong immune system and allowing them to recover quickly.
Correct Home Care
You can help your cat obtain proper home care once you’ve returned from the veterinarians or before you have a chance to take them there. This will prevent the eye issue from worsening and will promote recuperation.
Although your cat may not appreciate wearing a pet collar, it is the best method to prevent them from pawing at their eyes and to decrease the danger of their aggravating any injuries or illnesses. This is useful for both avoiding your cat’s injury from worsening before seeing a veterinarian and protecting it from damage after treatment has begun.
If your cat’s eye or eyes are discharged, attempt to wipe it up as soon as possible. Starting from the inner corner, wipe gently with a clean wet cloth to remove the debris in an outward motion. Never push your cat’s eye open; instead, clean the area around it.
After you’ve visited the vests, be sure you stick to the treatment plan they’ve given you. This may entail using hot or cold compresses to the cat’s eye region on a regular basis, as well as administering medicine. Your veterinarian is the best person to ask about further aftercare, so follow their advice.
Optimize Their Home Environment
You may also improve your cat’s living conditions by improving their home surroundings.
If you have more than one cat, start by isolating this one from the rest of the cats in your house. To begin with, it is communicable if your cat is shutting one eye due to an ailment such as conjunctivitis. It’s preferable to keep your cats apart unless you don’t want them all to get sick. When your cats play together, the injury has a higher possibility of being knocked and causing more harm.
Make sure your lighting is lowered and that any bright lights are turned off in the room. Bright lights can be quite painful for cats that have eye problems. If your cat is badly disturbed, you may want to keep the curtains and blinds closed until he or she recovers.
Can I Prevent Cat Eye Problems?
Cat’s eye disorders can be caused by a wide variety of factors, making prevention nearly difficult. However, there are several things you may take to assist prevent serious eye problems.
Immunizations against feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus, as well as other annual vaccinations, can help prevent cat flu, which can cause conjunctivitis. The Chlamydophila Felis bacterium is one of the most common causes of conjunctivitis, so make sure your cat is protected.
Similarly, the feline leukemia virus can assault and weaken your cat’s immune system, leaving them more susceptible to infection and inflammation, including eye problems. As a result, stay on top of this immunization as well.
Apart from immunizations, keeping your cat indoors can decrease their exposure to eye risks such as tiny stones and grit that can become trapped in their eyes, other cats with whom they may get into fights, or abrasive surfaces such as prickly plants. Also, make sure your home is free of any sharp things that might cause injury to your eyes.
Cats of all breeds and ages can shut their eyes for a variety of reasons. However, some eye disorders are more prevalent in brachycephalic cats, such as Persian, Himalayan, British Shorthair, and Burmilla breeds, due to their unusual skull shape and huge skin folds. If you’re concerned about your cat acquiring a serious eye disease, stay away from these breeds.
It’s not unusual for cats to have one eye closed for different reasons. But, in most cases, the eyes are closed because it’s an instinctual response to protect their vision while they sleep. It may also be caused by a scratch or other injury to their eye.