When a kitten's eyes are sticky or weepy, we tend to refer to it as an "eye cold." It is actually a symptom of another illness and usually not specific to the eyes. Due to their delicate age and size, kittens are often more susceptible to them than adult cats.
Conjunctivitis is the condition we refer to as a cat eye cold. It is also called cat pink eye. It is an inflammation of the light pink lining around the eye. Other characteristics are redness, swelling, sensitivity to light, and discharge that can be thick, teary or mucous. It may occur in only one eye or both and is usually caused by a respiratory virus or bacteria. It can also be an allergic reaction to something in your kitty's environment. Treatment will depend on the exact cause, but your veterinarian may provide an antibiotic ointment for your kitten's eyes. Many of these contain a local anesthetic to reduce pain.
According to The Cat Health Guide, the leading cause of conjunctivitis is feline herpesvirus. It is one of the causes of upper respiratory infections in kittens and cats, commonly called cat colds. They catch it from contact with infected cats and, rarely, surfaces contaminated with it. Along with conjunctivitis, it can also cause ulcers or sores on the cornea, dry eyes and eyelids sticking to eyeballs. It is treated with medicated eye drops and antibiotics.
Chlamydiosis is the second most common cause of feline conjunctivitis. While herpesvirus is a viral infection, chlamydiosis is a bacterial infection. It too can cause upper respiratory symptoms commonly identified as a cold. They include fever, irritated or runny nose, and ulcers on the tongue or palate. It is treated with the antibiotic tetracycline.
See Your Vet
Basically, any illness that causes upper respiratory infections can cause blindness in kittens and cats if left untreated. Others can even be fatal. If your kitten has an eye cold, take him to your veterinarian immediately. The sooner he diagnoses and treats the cause, the sooner your kitty's pretty eyes will be back to normal.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Leslie Carver has been a professional author since 2009. Her work appears on multiple websites. She has an associate's degree in English with progress toward her bachelor's at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has been awarded an Outstanding Student Award in English and twice nominated for creative writing awards.