Who We Are · Press · Login · Contact

Ask Dr. Elliot: My cat’s rubbing one eye: is this an emergency?


A Pawfun Blog reader asks: My cat is squinting in one eye and rubbing it, is this an emergency? Do I need to take her to the vet? Is there something I can do before calling the vet?

catseyeDr Elliot responds: Any problem with a cat’s or dog’s eye needs immediate attention. People often wait a few days before taking their pet to the vet, but most eye problems will get worse if unattended.

If there is a heavy discharge, especially if it is green – which can indicate a bacterial infection – see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Bacterial infection needs to be treated with topical antibiotics to prevent further infection, more discharge and redness.

Possible reasons for an animal to be squinting in one eye:

· any infection, either viral or bacterial,

· a corneal ulcer (scratch on the cornea –eyeball). This can be caused by many things. Dry eye (decrease in tear production) or getting scratched by another pet in the house or trauma (getting poked in the eye by something).

· An ectopic eyelash (an eyelash that grows so it turns into the eye) can also cause an ulcer or irritation to the eyeball.

There are many other reasons which have to do with different diseases of the eye, too numerous to name here.

Corneal ulcers need immediate treatment or they can get much worse.. They also can be painful, and I know pet owners don’t want their pets to suffer.

Suggestions for basic eye care:

1. If your cat or dog has an eye problem it’s also important that you prevent them from rubbing the eye, which will make the problem worse. Most veterinarians will give the pet and Elizabethan collar (lamp shade looking thing). You can purchase one of these yourself at many pet stores (Petco has them). You also can get collars made of soft material so the pets tolerate them better

2. If you have any eye wash that is specially made for pets you can start by rinsing the eye three to four times during the day to see if it improves. You can purchase these at most pet stores or at your veterinarian’s office.

3. If you want to try something holistic for a day I tell my clients to try homeopathic eye drops made by Boiron called Optique 1 It comes with five to ten little plastic vials (4 drops in each vial). I suggest 1 – 2 drops from the vial two to three times a day in the affected eye. (If you are rinsing the eye be sure you rinse before putting Optique 1 in – not after or you’ll wash it out.) If the eye is not better by the next day, see your veterinarian

4. If it seems better, try another day of rinsing the eye and applying the Optique 1. I have found this product can greatly improve and even cure some eye problems in animals. If this regime is resolving the problem, continue until the problem is resolved, which could be 7 – 10 days. If you are not sure, call your veterinarian to ask his/her advice or arrange an office visit.

The bottom line: don’t wait if you pet has anything wrong with their eyes.

Add a Comment



Dr. Elliott – My Westie Max howls. His head goes back and he sort of looks and sounds like a little wolf. It lasts for about 30-seconds and has a distinct pattern. Any ideas why?

beryiwzjc (Beryl Chaney)

Twitter Comment

Ask Dr. Elliot: My cat’s rubbing one eye: is this an emergency… [link to post]

Posted using Chat Catcher

Wendy ayres

My cat has keep on rubbing his eye and it is waters so much what shell I do now.

BL Ochman

See a veterinarian