Cat Eye Boogers & Color Meanings
Have you ever glanced over at your feline friend, only to notice something a little different about their eye appearance?
Their once clear eyes have a clump of eye boogers in the corner, causing you to wonder what could have caused this strange new symptom.
Cats can experience eye irritation of many kinds, with each complication leading to different colors of eye boogers.
To make sure you understand what could be causing your cat’s eye boogers, let’s break down the details of cat eye boogers below.
What Are Eye Boogers?
Before we dive into the details of cat eye boogers, let’s first answer the question of what an eye booger is in the first place.
A cat eye booger is simply an accumulation of mucus in the eye, and is usually the most noticeable after the cat has been sleeping.
Both human and cat eyes produce secretions that hydrate the eye throughout the day, but this mucus will buildup when the eyes are closed.
If a cat’s eye is irritated for any reason, the eye will also produce more mucus than usual.
This increase in mucus will often lead to a larger amount of eye boogers than usual, causing the eye changes you are noticing now.
Why Does My Cat Have Eye Boogers?
While every cat can have a tiny eye booger from time to time, a large accumulation of eye boogers is not normal.
To help you get to the bottom of your cat’s eye discharge, let’s list the most common causes below.
Allergies in cats can lead to a significant amount of eye irritation.
Cats can develop allergies to dust, pollen, fragrances, laundry detergent, mold, and even plant material.
If your cat has developed an allergy to any materials in your home, they may develop an increased amount of eye boogers.
They may also experience sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, itchy skin, and fur loss.
2.) Upper Respiratory Infections
Upper respiratory infections can lead to an array of uncomfortable symptoms for our feline friends.
Cats can develop URI’s as a result of everything from feline herpes virus to circulating bacteria, causing a waterfall of irritating respiratory symptoms.
These cats may experience eye boogers, thick eye discharge, nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, anorexia, lethargy, and even a fever.
3.) Eye Injuries
Inflammation is known for increasing mucus production in many parts of the body, eyes included.
Not only can eye injuries cause localized inflammation, but many cats will begin to rub and scratch at their eyes due to their localized discomfort.
This will only lead to more irritation in the area, causing an increased risk of eye boogers.
Cats with an eye injury may experience eye redness, eye swelling, watery eyes, abrasions around the eye and face, pawing at the face, squinting, and even bleeding in the area.
The term conjunctivitis refers to inflammation of the tissue around the eye.
This is often referred to as pink eye, and humans can develop this as well.
While conjunctivitis is a diagnosis in itself, there is almost always an underlying cause.
Conjunctivitis can develop as a result of allergies, infectious disease, injury, bacterial infections, and any other eye irritant.
These cats will typically experience eye redness, swelling of the pink tissue around the eye, and eye discharge.
5.) Dry Eyes
While you may not think dry eyes in cats can cause increased eye booger production, it is actually quite common.
Dry eye in cats can lead to localized inflammation and irritation, and this often results in increased mucus production.
When this happens, cats will typically have eye boogers.
6.) Skin Infections Around The Eye
If a cat has a skin infection around their eye, you may notice irritation to the eye itself.
This is often a result of the cat scratching and pawing at the area, and this may even cause injury to the eye as a result.
If the cat is pawing at their infected skin, you may notice some eye boogers as well.
7.) Foreign Objects In The Eye
If there is a foreign object in your cat’s eye, they may begin to produce excess mucus as a result of the irritation.
The eye may become more and more irritated as time goes on, especially because many cats will also paw at their eye in search of relief.
A foreign object in the eye can also lead to an increased risk of eye infection.
Signs Of An Eye Infection In Cats
Many times when a cat has developed eye boogers, owners will assume that they are battling an eye infection.
While this certainly can be true and should be ruled out by a vet, it’s not always the case.
To help you better understand what an eye infection can look like in cats, let’s list the most common symptoms below.
Symptoms of an eye infection in cats include:
- Eye discharge
- Crusting around eye
- Eye redness
- Swelling of the pink tissue around the eye
- Pawing at the eye
- Nasal discharge
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your feline friend, we suggest having them seen by a veterinarian.
Does The Color Of Cat Eye Boogers Matter?
While the color of your cat’s eye boogers may not offer a concrete diagnosis, it can offer your vet a few clues as to what’s going on.
Your vet will still need to perform diagnostics to get to the bottom of your cat’s eye discharge.
Eye booger color and any accompanying symptoms can help your vet determine the best plan of action for testing.
Cat Eye Booger Colors And What They Mean
Now that you have a better understanding of what can cause eye boogers in cats, let’s introduce you to the different colors of eye boogers that you may see in your feline friend.
These colors may point to certain underlying factors, so let’s break down each cat eye booger color below.
Green & Yellow Cat Eye Boogers
Green and yellow eye discharge in cats can point to the presence of an infection.
There are many different causes of eye infections in cats, ranging from foreign material in the eye to infectious viruses.
Yellow and green eye boogers should always be assessed by a veterinarian, especially if they are experiencing any other signs of illness.
White Cat Eye Boogers
White eye boogers in cats have often been linked to either an eye infection or the presence of dry eye.
This thick white discharge will often develop as a result of irritation to the area, and will typically be accompanied by a red and irritated eye appearance.
Red Cat Eye Boogers
If a cat parent notices red tinged discharge around their cat’s eyes, there are typically a few potential factors at play.
First, you may just be seeing the redness and irritation of the eye itself, and the eye boogers are not actually red.
This can occur due to a number of factors ranging from an eye infection to eye trauma.
Next, the red eye discharge you are seeing may actually be a light brown color.
This can be a result of increased tear production for any reason, as well as irritation to the eye.
And last, if your cat is truly experiencing red eye boogers, they could have injured their eye or the skin around their eye.
If this is the case, we always suggest having the eye assessed by your vet.
Eye trauma can be serious and lead to the potential for blindness, so you will want to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Brown & Black Cat Eye Boogers
Brown and black discharge is often a result of increased tear production for any reason.
This could be normal depending on the cat, or it can be a result of anything from allergies to eye duct complications.
This typically is nothing to worry about unless it is excessive.
If it seems like you are cleaning your cat’s eye boogers each day, we suggest speaking with a vet and getting to the bottom of the cause.
Clear Cat Eye Boogers
Clear cat eye discharge is often just necessary eye lubrication for the cat.
The discharge may even turn brown if it pools around the eye and dries, but this is typically nothing to worry about.
However, if your cat’s eye is constantly watering to the point of concern, this could point to underlying irritation.
If this is the case, we suggest having the eye assessed by a vet.
What Should I Do If My Cat Has Eye Boogers?
The best plan of action for your cat’s eye boogers will vary based on the situation.
For example, if your cat has a small amount of brown crust around their eyes from time to time, this is often nothing to worry about and can be easily cleaned at home with a warm washcloth.
As long as their eye boogers are not accompanied by any concerning symptoms, there is no need to rush your cat to the vet.
However if your cat is experiencing green, yellow, white, or red eye discharge, we always suggest having them seen.
You should also keep an eye out for any other symptoms that are occurring alongside their eye irritation, as this can help your vet determine the underlying cause that is to blame.
At the end of the day, if it is abnormal for your cat, we always suggest giving your vet a call.
Once you explain your cat’s symptoms and your current concerns, they can determine whether or not they need to be assessed.
What To Expect At The Vet For Cat Eye Boogers
If you take your cat to the vet for any concerning eye boogers, there are a few diagnostic tools your vet may explore.
First, your vet will ask you about your cat’s medical history and any current symptoms they are experiencing at home.
Your vet will then perform a physical exam and take a close look at the eye, and determine which diagnostic options they should explore.
In most situations that do not involve any obvious signs of respiratory infection, they will either stain the eye and look for any evidence of injury, perform a test that measures the pressure in the affected eye, and even perform a test that measures the lubrication of the eye.
Based on the result of these diagnostics, your vet can determine the best treatment options available.
This could include:
- Antibiotic eye drops
- Systemic antibiotics for any upper respiratory infections
- Tending to any eye injuries
- Helping your cat manage their allergies
Every case will vary, so we suggest speaking with your vet about the details of your cat’s treatment plan.
My Cat Has Eye Boogers After They Sleep Sometimes
Just like you and I, our cats can develop eye boogers after a night of sleep.
This is usually nothing to worry about if it occurs in small doses, and can typically be cleaned away with a warm washcloth.
If you think their eye boogers have become excessive, or appear to increase in amount suddenly, then we always suggest giving your vet a call.
Eye boogers in cats come in an array of colors that can point to underlying causes.
If you are ever concerned with the color and frequency of your cat’s eye boogers, it may be time to give your trusted vet a call.
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 12 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! More About Us