why does my cat get eye boogers?

Dog hearing

The short answer: Because they have eyeballs!

Do you ever wake up with a little bit of crusty goop in the inner corner of your eyes? Your eye boogers are a normal accumulation of different things, like dried tears and mucus. Cats get that crusty morning gunk as well. So long as there aren’t mounds of it, and your cat’s eyes are bright and clear, there’s no reason to panic.

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But watch out for lots and lots of goop

If your cat’s eye boogers are a thick yellow or green, that’s definitely not normal, and could point to an eye infection.

When to worry about eyeball boogers

Thick yellow or green eyeball crud are signs that something unhappy is happening to your cat’s eyes. Typically, cat eye infections are caused by bacteria, which is more likely to cause infections when your cat’s eyes or general immune system is weakened or vulnerable. This can be caused by:

  • Viral infections like feline herpesvirus-1
  • Conjunctivitis (inflamed connective tissues in the eye)
  • Dry eye
  • Something in the eye
  • Corneal injury
  • Long facial hairs irritating the eyes
  • Eyelids that fold inward (entropion’) or outward (ectropion)
  • Other health conditions, such as allergies and upper respiratory infections

Read more about cat eye infections >

Watch for these symptoms, too

Abnormal eye boogers often go hand-in-hand with other eye symptoms. So if your cat’s eye boogers look a little iffy, check for

  • Squinting
  • Winking
  • Excessive tearing
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Rubbing and pawing at eyes
  • Rubbing eyes against surfaces
  • Red and raised third eyelid

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What to do about cat eye boogers

If your cat just has normal amounts of crusts or boogers, here’s how you can help.

  • Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe boogers away
  • Trim long facial hairs
  • Keep your cat’s vaccinations up-to-date on their vaccinations

Download more about ectropion and entropion >

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