Cat Tear Stains: How to deal with feline “sad eyes”?

What is epiphora?

Epiphora in cats is excessive tearing from your cat’s eyes. Epiphora is a symptom rather than a disease. It may indicate an underlying condition. Normally, tears are colorless, but they can dry to a dark reddish brown color due to the pigments they contain. It can also be the dampness in corners of eyes. Sometimes it will cause nasty odor or even infection.

What causes epiphora?

So what causes cat eye stains? According to Doctors of Veterinary Medicine Ryan Llera and Ernest Ward, “the most common cause of insufficient tear drainage is a blockage of the nasolacrimal ducts or poor eyelid function due to a deformity.” Normally, tears from a healthy eye would go into the inner corner of the eye and drain through the tear ducts into the throat. A cat suffered from epiphora may lack of proper tear drainage. The tear film fails to enter the duct and simply rolls off the face.

Some breeds are prone to have teary eyes. Cats with flat face and small nose (brachycephalic cats) often display more tear stains. For example, Exotic Shorthair, Persian, Burmese and Himalayans usually have reddish brown streaks under their eyes.

Other common causes of cat eye stains include:

  • conjunctivitis;
  • eye infections;
  • injuries;
  • corneal ulcers;
  • abnormal eyelashes or eyelids;
  • glaucoma.

how to clean tear stains

How to treat epiphora?

If your kitty suddenly, excessively tear and doesn’t stop within 24 hours, you should visit the vet. Treatment will depend on whether your cat’s nasolacrimal duct is blocked or another eye condition is diagnosed.



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