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Why Is My Cat Keeping One Eye Closed? Should I Worry?

While it may be a cute idea to think your cat winks at you, a cat with one eye closed may be a sign that something’s amiss. If your cat has one eye closed most of the time, he may have an irritated or even painful eye that needs checking out.

Several medical issues can cause a cat to keep one eye closed, and we’ll cover those here. We’ll also give you some tips on keeping your cat’s eyes in tip-top shape.

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The Reasons Why Your Cat Is Keeping One Eye Closed

To help you figure out why your little buddy seems to be winking at you, we’ve put together some of the main reasons cats keep one eye closed.

1. An Injury to the Eye

When a cat sustains an injury to the eye, like a scratch, the animal will try to keep that eye closed to relieve the pain. It’s not uncommon for a cat to scratch the cornea on its eye which is the transparent layer protecting the iris.

If your vet diagnoses your cat with an eye injury such as a scratched cornea, the most common treatment involves taking anti-inflammatory and pain medications. It’s also likely that your vet will fit your cat with a protective cone that fits around his head to prevent him from pawing at his eyes.

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2. Feline Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis or pink eye as it’s also called can cause a cat to keep an eye closed. Conjunctivitis is a relatively common feline eye disorder that involves an inflamed conjunctiva, which is the thin membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and coats the outer surface of the eyeball.
The most common cause of conjunctivitis is a bacterial infection. Many times, conjunctivitis will self-resolve with no medication needed. However, if your cat’s eye seems to be causing him pain and discomfort and you see a discharge coming from the eye, see your vet for treatment. It’s likely your vet will prescribe an antibiotic ointment to help clear up the eye so your kitty can feel better.

Orange cat with injured eye
Image Credit: DariuszSankowski, Pixabay
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3. Glaucoma

Your cat may be keeping one eye closed because he has feline glaucoma. This condition typically develops after an eye infection or tumor wherein pressure builds up within the eye. Other signs of glaucoma include redness and a dilated and slow-moving pupil and even enlargement of the eyeball.

If you think your cat has glaucoma, take him to the vet as soon as possible so the pressure within the eye can be quickly brought down to minimize further damage.

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4. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS)

Your cat may be closing one eye due to keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS. This condition is characterized by an inflamed cornea with surrounding tissue that’s dry. KCS is typically caused by inadequate tear production that comes about due to immune-mediated diseases that hinder tear production or a virus infection.

A cat with KCS often has red, painful eyes that make the animal squint and blink excessively. The affected eye(s) can also be held shut by the cat to help relieve discomfort. KCS is most often treated using medication to stimulate tear production.

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Top Tips for Keeping Your Cat’s Eyes Healthy

cleaning persian chinchilla cat's eyes with cotton pad
Image Credit: catinsyrup, Shutterstock

You can help your cat avoid eye problems by making sure his vaccinations are kept up to date. Another important way to ensure your cat enjoys good eye health is to inspect his eyes regularly for signs of trouble. Look for things like a discharge coming from the eyes, redness, cloudiness, and a change in the color or shape of the eyes.

If you need to clean discharge away from your cat’s eyes, do so with care. Simply dip clean cotton in a bit of water and carefully wipe the discharge away by staring in the corner of the eye and working outward. Use fresh cotton for each eye so keep things hygienic.

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Conclusion

While you don’t need to panic if your cat is keeping one eye closed, you do have to figure out why he seems to be winking at you. Your cat may be simply closing one eye now and then for no real reason, or he could have an underlying medical problem that’s causing the behavior.

If you can’t get to the root cause of why your cat is shutting an eye, contact your vet for some advice! Always remember that your cat depends on you to keep him healthy and happy, so always do what’s best for your furry friend!

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Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

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