Red Eyes in Cats: Everything You Need to Know

Red mucous membranes are a very common symptom of eye disease. Almost all cat owners will sooner or later experience that their cat is red in one or both eyes. Especially breeds with protruding eyes, such as Persians and exotic are affected.


The front of the eye and the back of the eyelids are covered by a thin connective tissue and mucous membrane (conjunctiva). When the eye becomes red, it is because the blood vessels in the mucous membrane thicken due to inflammation or because there has been bleeding under the mucous membrane

When the eye turns red, it is a signal that something is not right. There are many causes of inflammation or infection in the eye, such as bacteria, viruses, foreign bodies and allergies. Herpes virus in cats is a well-known cause of eye problems in cats. In addition, it can be a sign of serious eye diseases, diseases of other organs or the surroundings of the eye. It can be a sign of something quickly transient but also of something very serious, which requires prompt treatment to save the cat’s vision. It is therefore important to contact a veterinary clinic if your cat has red eyes. Feel free to read more about eye infections in cats here.


In addition to the eye or eyes being red, the eye area may be swollen. Fluid is often seen from the eyes, which can vary from transparent tear fluid to yellow var. The cat may blink, close its eyes and try to scratch its front paw. Conditions in the eyes can be painful and therefore require prompt treatment.


The veterinarian examines the surroundings of the eye, including the shape of the eyelids and eyelashes. It is then examined whether the cat has sufficient production of tear fluid. The eye is often stained to be able to detect any wounds on the cornea. If more serious eye diseases are suspected, the patient is examined by a specially trained veterinarian, an ophthalmologist, who uses a special microscope for the eyes, also called a slit lamp. Sometimes the cat needs to be anesthetized to be able to examine the eye.

When it is suspected that the red eyes are a symptom of another disease in the body, a general investigation is initiated with blood samples.


Depending on the cause of the problem, the disease is treated with medication or surgery. You can also take a biopsy of the mucous membrane to diagnose allergies, for example.


Most of the reasons why the cat gets red eyes are less serious and relatively easy to treat. After the treatment, the cat is completely recovered. However, there are diseases that are more serious and can lead to the patient becoming blind. Sometimes you have to remove the eye completely.

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