Watery Cat Eyes: Treatments & Causes

nervous cat

If you’ve noticed that your cat has watery eyes, there might be some underlying condition that needs to be addressed.

If this is the case, it is important that you know about it sooner rather than later.

This could be a sign of something serious, so you’ll need to recognize the potential causes.

Causes of Your Cat’s Watery Eyes

There are lots of things that can cause a cat to have watery eyes. Some of these things are fairly innocuous, while others are far more serious.

1. Allergies

Cats can be allergic to lots of different things. Watery eyes are among the most common signs of allergies in both cats and humans. Some of the things that cats tend to be allergic to include pollen, mold, dust, perfumes and colognes, and cleaning products.

It is important that you take all of the necessary steps to manage your cat’s allergies so as to minimize their discomfort. Antihistamine medications are often very effective at doing this. You will not want to give your cat any sort of medication until you consult your vet first.

2. Glaucoma

Many older cats end up developing glaucoma, which is a condition that affects the optic nerve. This can eventually lead to blindness if it is not treated in any way. If your cat has developed glaucoma, you might notice some cloudiness when looking directly at their eyes.

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3. Eye Trauma

A cat’s eyes might start watering if it has sustained trauma to one or both of their eyes. This can happen from getting into a fight with another cat, or for a number of other reasons. You should make a point of checking their eyes to make sure this is not the case.

Look for redness and irritation around your cat’s eye. This could indicate that they have sustained an ocular injury. It will most likely heal on its own, but you’ll have to keep a close eye on your cat. Make sure they do not pay at their eye while it is still healing.

4. Upper Respiratory Infection

In some cases, cats that get an upper respiratory infection can develop issues with watery eyes. If a cat’s sinuses swell up and become irritated, their tear drainage system can be affected.

5. Your cat’s breed

The fact is that there are certain cat breeds that are more prone to tearing and watery eyes than others. This usually consists of cats that have round skulls and short faces. This can result in a variety of issues with their eyes, some of which can be quite serious.

6. Tumors

A tumor behind your cat’s third eyelid could be causing its eyes to water. While this is not terribly common, it’s also not completely unheard of.

watery cat eyes

Symptoms to look for

There are lots of other symptoms that are commonly associated with watery eyes in cats. You might notice your cat scratching or pawing at its eyes. Sometimes there is also a gooey discharge that can be clear, yellow, or orange.

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Cats that have a problem with watery eyes often squint their eyes and have narrowed pupils. If you’ve noticed any of these things with your cat, it is very important that you get them to the vet right away. The sooner you do this, the better off your cat is going to be.

Treatments for Watery Eyes in Cats

You will also need to know about some of the treatments for watery eyes in cats.

1. Antibiotics

If your cat has an upper respiratory infection, your veterinarian will likely prescribe an antibiotic medication that can cure it.

2. Antihistamine Medications

If they have allergies, you can use medication to manage their condition. It’s also important that you try to avoid exposing your cat to anything that it might be allergic to. If your cat has seasonal allergies, you should keep them inside during the spring months.

tired cat

3. Ointments

There are certain ointments and other medications that can help if your cat is experiencing pain. The type of treatment that your vet will recommend depends on the location and nature of their discomfort. Sometimes the right ointment can work wonders for this. Pain can cause a cat’s eyes to water, just as it can for a human.

4. Surgery

While surgery is usually not necessary to correct watery eyes in cats, it can be. If your cat has cancer or glaucoma, surgery might be the best way to go. Your veterinarian will tell you if this is a good idea, but it’s usually a last resort.

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It is important that you think carefully about choosing the surgery option for your cat unless they really need it. There are always risks involved with any invasive procedure on a cat.

When to see the Veterinarian

If your cat has a problem with watery eyes, you’ll want to take them to see the vet as soon as possible. You’ll want to do this right away if you notice that your cat’s eyes have been watering for more than a full day. There is most likely some underlying problem that needs to be addressed.


  • Cats that have a problem with watery eyes also tend to paw at their eyes and have redness or irritation around them.
  • One of the most common causes of watery eyes in cats is allergies.
  • Your cat can be allergic to lots of different things, including perfumes, household chemicals, and even pollen.
  • If your cat has recently suffered trauma to their eye, they might start tearing up.
  • A tumor behind your cat’s third eyelid can also cause watering to occur.
  • Breeds that have short heads and round skulls are more likely to experience issues with their eyes, including watering.
  • There are lots of treatments for watery eyes in cats, but it all depends on the cause.
  • If your cat has an eye infection, an antibiotic medication should clear it up nicely.
  • Surgery can also help with relieving your cat’s watery eye problem, but it should be viewed as a last resort.
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