We all know that important parts of cat care include supplying regular food and water, keeping a safe, clean shelter for them to retire to, and offering enrichment activities like toys. Eyecare isn't something that many people factor into their pet's hygiene ritual, but it should be, especially if your cat is prone to eye infections or irritation, which can lead to runny eyes, tear stains, and crusty buildup. Eye cleaners vary from liquid rinses to medicated gels to wipes. The right cleaner for your cat will depend on her exact issue at hand, as well as how she will tolerate being handled to have her eyes cleaned. If you keep an eye cleaner in your home for your cat, be sure to check the expiration date before administering, especially if it's a medicated topical, and it's always advised to consult your veterinarian before adding any new medication to your cat's routine, especially if she has other health conditions to treat.
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What to Consider When Purchasing Cat Eye Cleaner
Medicated or Unmedicated: Eye cleaners are used for a variety of reasons. Many people use them to keep their cat's eyes free of built-up grime and dirt, as well as tear stains, in which case, a standard, nonmedicated formula should work just fine. If you have a cat who has an ailment in need of treatment, like an eye infection, conjunctivitis, eye discharge, or pink eye, for example, you will need a cleaner or eye drops formulated to get these diseases under control, either prescribed from a veterinarian or purchased over the counter.
Container Size: Like all skin and hair care products, eye rinses for cats do eventually expire. So, if you have a multi-cat household and make eye rinsing a regular part of your routine, then a large bottle of ophthalmic solution or cat eye drops will make sense for you. If you have one cat who only needs to be treated for dry eyes or irritated tear ducts on a rare occasion, opt for the smallest container possible, and toss it after the expiration date if you're keeping it around in case you'll need it again as cleaners can lose efficacy over time.
Tolerance: You may know and understand that keeping your cat's eyes clean and healthy is essential for his overall health, but a cat who can't stand being held down simply won't care and may not cooperate. Most eye washes are liquid rinses, which can be uncomfortable for many cats, especially if they already don't like to be held. One way to keep your cat's eyes clean without subjecting them to a full-on flush is to use eye wipes, which are soaked pads made to wipe away dirt, grime, and tear stains quickly and effectively.
1. Cliny Universal Pet Eye Wash Cleaner for Dogs & Cats, 2-oz. Bottle
If you're looking for an all-around effective cleaner that's gentle, this product is a great option to consider. Made with all-naural ingredients, this liquid rinse cleaner is formulated with boric acid, which not only disinfects eyes but also soothes and reduces irritation on the eyelids. Additionally, this cleaner is made with silver ions, which work as an antibacterial treatment, and can be helpful if your cat has a foreign material in his eye that could become infected. This can be used up to twice a week to prevent infection and remove tear stains—just apply the solution to the affected area and wipe away with a cotton ball.
2. Miracle Care Sterile Eye Wash Pads for Dogs & Cats, 90-Count
If you have a cat who won't tolerate being held just to have a liquid eye wash or cream applied to his eyes (this is fairly common), then a pre-soaked pad may make more sense. These pads contain boric acid and sodium chloride to help clean the eye area while soothing irritated eyes, and are easy to keep with you on the go thanks to the resealable container. When it comes to regular cleaning, a product like this can be especially helpful for more flat-faced cats like Persians, who are prone to crusty build-up and tear stains due to the shape of their faces. This one isn't exactly medicated, but it can help prevent eye infections in cats with regular use.
3. Puralube Vet Ointment Sterile Ocular Lubricant for Dogs & Cats, 0.125-oz. Tube
If you have a cat who sometimes suffers from dry eyes then a lubricating formula can help alleviate the irritating symptoms that can come with that. Formulated with petroleum, this may not exactly fall into the cleanser category as it works as more of a protective barrier over the eyes, but it can prevent infections that arise from eye issues, and is recommended for use on dry-eyed cats just before grooming, as it protects the eyes from tap water and shampoo, along with the irritants that can come with those things. Unlike the other cleaners listed here, this one has a thick, creamy consistency. It does blend in well, but this should be kept in mind if you have a cat who does not like to be handled.
4. Vetericyn Plus Feline Antimicrobial Facial Therapy for Cats, 2-oz. Bottle
Not just an eye cleaner, this product is excellent for use around all parts of a cat's face and head, including the ears, mouth, and nose. This product does just about anything you would want a cleaner to do, including preventing tear stains, removing debris and crust, and flushing dirt or other irritants from the eye. A nontoxic formula made with hypochlorous acid, which disinfects and sanitizes, it's even safe to use as a mouth rinse for dental health or abscess treatment, and can alleviate symptoms that arise as a result of allergies, like sneezing or itchy skin.
5. Nutri-Vet Eye Rinse for Cats, 4-oz. Bottle
Maintaining eye health is part of pet care, and you certainly don't need to spend a lot of money to keep your cat's eyes clean. For an effective liquid eye rinse under $7.00, look no further than this product. Like many eye rinses, this one removes dirt and other foreign items from a cat's eyes safely and gently, which can prevent irritation, eye infections, and tear stains. Using a boric acid formula, this eye rinse is a no-frills option for anyone looking to soothe their cat's eyes, keep their ocular health in top shape, and ensure that the skin and coat on their face don't become irritated, all at a reasonable price.
6. MicrocynAH® Cat Ophthalmic Gel, 3-oz. Bottle
Like people, cats can sometimes suffer from allergies, often leading to discomfort in their nose and eye area. This gel formula is designed to alleviate symptoms like burning, itching, and stinging in the eyes. Both an eye cleaner and an irritation reliever, this gel is intended to rid the eyes of pollutants and other contaminants like dirt, dust, or pollen, without further irritating this sensitive area. Formulated with hypochlorous acid and sodium chloride, this powerful disinfectant sanitizes and soothes, and comes in an easy-to-use package to dispense eye drops slowly. Don't let the gel term frighten you—this product isn't a thick cream, but a liquid that's typically effective in just a couple of days.