how to clean your cat's eyes

How to Clean Your Cat’s Eyes: Everything You Need to Know

Most cats hate bathing and any activity related to water. Why? Cats are tiny little majestic creatures who like to stay squeaky clean all the time. While there are exceptions, the majority of them don’t need baths because they spend hours after hours grooming themselves with their tongue anyway.

Even though they can reach most of their body parts with their tongue, there is one part that they cannot reach, no matter what – their eyes. And that is when your furry friend will come to you looking for help.

Your cat’s eyes are strikingly beautiful. It is normal for small kittens or even cats to have a small amount of eye discharge but sometimes their eyes may get runny or teary forming a crust-like form. If you encounter symptoms like these, you should definitely be worried.

Learn few of these techniques that will help you keep your cat’s majestic eyes clean.

cleaning cat's eye

How to Clean Your Cat’s Eyes?

  • Method 1: A warm washcloth

This is more like an everyday homecare for your cat’s eyes. All you need is a small, soft washcloth, sterilized or boiled water at room temperature. Dip the corner of the washcloth into clean water and gently wash away the dirt and dust from your cat’s eyes and the surrounding areas. It is advisable that you start from the inside corner of the eye to wiping outward. Repeat this step thoroughly to keep your cat’s eyes clean regularly.

  • Method 2: Cotton Balls and Sterilized Water

If you notice that your cat’s eyes are dirty and crusty, you may try this method. First and foremost, wash your hands before and after going through this procedure. Pour clean water into 2 different bowls (1 can be less than the other). Dip cotton balls into the water and gently wipe off the crusty goop from the eyes and a separate cotton ball for final clean up. It is important to use separate cotton balls for two different eyes. While one eye may have the disease, the other may not, so using the same cotton ball for two different eyes will be transferring disease from one eye to another.

After cleaning, use a dry cotton ball to remove any extra water in and around the eyes to avoid water to leak into the eyes. Watch out if your cat’s eye seems to be worsened after cleaning, which may imply that your cat’s eyes may have contracted conjunctivitis.

  • Method 3: Using Tea

If you have some used tea bags from your evening tea time, that’s certainly one of the best ways you could ever reuse it, rather than wasting it. Surprisingly, tea has natural anti-bacterial good stuff for which it is often advised by vets to treat cat’s eye infections.

Rest the warm, moist tea bag on the eye that needs more attention. Let the crust soften when you can finally wipe away the dirt with a clean cotton ball. Repeat this as long as it is necessary. If your cat frets while you rest the tea bag on its eyes, simply give him/her a good body rub. They are suckers for massages!

cleaning cat's eye with a gauze

Causes of Cat’s Eye Discharge

Eye problems can result in devastating consequences. Hence, as a cat owner, you must be aware of your cat having any trouble with their eyes. Here are some causes why your cat might be having trouble with their eyes:

  • Respiratory infections: A regular cause of eye discharge among cats could be because of a contagious respiratory disease, pneumonitis or rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus (FCV) and protozoa. Early signs of such infections can be very mild to something very serious like sticky, pus-like discharge.
  • Corneal disorders: The cornea of a cat is a dome-shaped surface, covering the front of the eye. It can easily become inflamed, injured or ulcerated. If you see your cat excessively blinking or having increased tear production, chances are that your cat is having a corneal disorder.
  • Conjunctivitis: Notice if there is a light pink lining around your cat’s eyes that is swollen, your cat may experience teary or thick mucus eye discharge. This is not a very common sign but conjunctivitis with fever, diarrhea and breathing problems can possibly be a serious feline infection.
  • Dry eyes: Dry eye condition is a lack of tear production in your cat’s eyes. It can lead to an inflamed cornea, red eyes and if you leave it untreated, it will result in blindness. Since no water is produced in the eyes, a gooey, yellow eye discharge may follow.

Additional Tips

Once you’ve adopted a kitten or a cat, make them get used to this process so that they don’t find it strange when you do it on a regular basis. If your cat is long-haired, try to trim the hair around their eyes. Little do you know that their cornea can get scratched with their own hair!

Plus, your cat is the most unpredictable, impulsive creature. It’s always best to keep an eye on them. If you’re away for long hours, make sure there is at least someone who keeps an eye on them. Always seek help from someone while cleaning your cat’s eyes, as they move a lot and wouldn’t want to cooperate with you in the process.

If the crust like dirt keeps reappearing, no matter how many times you clean it in a day, they will need medical help from professionals. In addition, if you see your cat having trouble opening their eyes or swelling after you clean their eyes, take them to the nearest vet immediately for a further check-up.

In Conclusion

It is completely normal for your cat to have such puss-like or crusty eye discharge but cleaning it regularly will help improve your cat’s comfort. However, don’t be afraid of calling your vet if you experience something strange and more importantly, before it’s too late! Simple regular cleaning will not fix any underlying problems. Rather if you consult your vet, they might be able to prescribe you with the necessities.

Nonetheless, make sure to clean your cat’s eyes on a regular basis, determining the safety of their eyes. Follow the steps mentioned above, and one more important thing, DO NOT touch your cat’s eyeballs at any cost! Although your cat cannot speak, it is very painful for them and will never want to go through the horror again. Be gentle, kind and generous to your fluffy friend and they will love you to every bits and pieces!


  1. Kitten Care 101: Tips for Eyes, Ears and Teeth, VetStreet
  1. Sue Thornton
    Aug 05, 2021

    I’m pretty sure my tipper has a con neck conductive-itis conduct OK. The black around her eyes is horrible and I do wash them every day with a warm soft cloth her eyes are all stained down to the tip of her nose and I have used medicine we’ve been to the vet I guess I must take her again what do you suggest because they are alsoStained and so are her legs where she lays her head on them I want to help her thank you

  2. Sue Thornton
    Aug 05, 2021

    Thanks for the help I’m pretty sure he has a connect conjunctivitis in the eyes it’s a lot of black discharge sometimes it looks a little pink and red I keep washing them but that’s not helping I have used some different medication for their eyes and we have been to the vet what is your suggestion for a medication thank you thank you

  3. Julie M Bee
    May 12, 2021

    Thank you very much on advice.

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Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.