Ask the Veterinarian/Watery eye


Hi Jana, I read your bio clearly and understand you're not a vet.  BUT, if you could let me know if my cat should be seen, I'd appreciate it.

I have a five year old male cat who has a watery eye.  It's not that usual, but it's persisted off and on for a couple days now.  He's definitely not agitated and seems to be behaving normally.  He's eating, drinking, and playing.  The eye waters, he squints around for a while, and then clear liquid with a teensy bit of very light yellow matter emerges.  He lets me look at the eye, and I don't see any hair or foreign objects in there.  It isn't red at all, and he doesn't seem to give it any more attention than normal.  I've tried a couple warm compresses and that seems to improve things for a few hours, but then it gets watery again.

Does this warrant a trip to the vet, or should I keep on with the compresses?  Would saline solution be beneficial?  

Thanks much!


Cats just seem to get these Amy. This is how I look at my own cats when they do this:

I watch it for a couple of days. If it resolves by then and hasn't produced a pronounced half shut eye or squint, it probably was a hair in it under the third eyelid.

If it gets red, puffy or swollen, it's an immediate trip to the vets. That can be anything from an infection to a sticker in the third eyelid.

Some cats get stuff under that third eyelid and you just can't see it but if he scratches the surface of the eye it can also cause this watery, blinking and can get infected.

They can also get stuff in their tear ducts which will then clog and cause this same thing you are seeing.

Since it's been more than two days I'd take him in. Eyes can get nasty looking very quickly and I never mess with any eye problems for my own cats. I get them right in.

Hope that helps!

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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