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5 Vet-Reviewed Tips on How to Use Cat Eye Drops (Without Getting Scratched)

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on July 2, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


5 Vet-Reviewed Tips on How to Use Cat Eye Drops (Without Getting Scratched)


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Many cat owners are unsure how to handle the situation when their cat is diagnosed with an eye condition, and they’re prescribed eye drops. After all, it’s not like you can ask your feline pal to lean back their head so you can put the eye drops in, and your cat may panic and end up scratching you pretty badly in an attempt to run away.

Important note: Remember that it might be very helpful to ask your vet clinic staff for a practical demonstration on how to administer eye drops. Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to administer the eye drops, it is important to communicate this to your veterinarian. Failure to administer the prescribed medication may lead to serious problems for your cat’s eye health. Therefore, if you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to administer the eye drops, certainly talk to your vet and work together to find a solution.

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The 5 Tips to Apply Cat Eye Drops

1. Get Help (Second Pair of Hands)

When putting eye drops in a cat’s eyes, your best bet is to ask for help. In other words, see if you can talk to a family member, friend, or neighbor for a second pair of hands. Get your assistant to hold the cat while you drop in the medicine.

If you have a smaller cat, you can wrap them in a blanket or towel. This should keep your cat calm and prevent you from being scratched if the cat becomes upset and frantic. If your cat will not settle down for you to administer the medicine, it’s best to talk to your vet about the issue, as they might be able to give you hands-on advice or even consider a change in medication.

groomer wiping cat with towel
Photo Credit: Standret, Shutterstock

2. Keep It at Eye Level

Sometimes, keeping your cat at your eye level will help when putting eye drops into their eyes. You might have to put the cat on the counter, table, couch, or anywhere you don’t have to bend over to reach them. Not only will your back feel better, but your cat will also do much better because you won’t be hovering over them.

3. Try Positive Reinforcement

Using positive reinforcement is always recommended when dealing with your pets. Never yell at your cat, scold them, or hit them if they don’t behave when you’re trying to administer the eye drops.

Remember, the cat has no idea what is happening, and being mean to them will only worsen the situation. Instead, reward your cat with treats, playtime, or toys for a job well done. Hopefully, the cat will remember this and start associating good things with having the eye drops put in, making it easier on you next time.

treating cat eyes with eyedropd
Photo Credit: Ilike-Shutterstock

4. Get Organized

It’s easier on your pet if it’s easier on you. Get organized by setting up a chart listing the medications your cat needs. You should also set a timer on your phone so you don’t forget when the next dose of medicine will be given.

5. Ask Your Vet

If you can’t get the eye drops into your cat’s eyes, it’s best to contact your vet or your vet’s assistant for advice. They can advise you on calming your pet enough to administer the medication. Don’t forget to ask them if there’s anything else you need to know when giving your cat eye drops.


scottish fold cat checked by vet
Photo Credit: Irina Vasilevskaia, Shutterstock

cat paw dividerAlways Put Safety First

Getting the drops in your cat’s eyes is essential in helping your cat recover from an eye injury, infection, inflammation, or other eye condition. It’s also critical to put safety first.

Start by reading the label on the bottle and calling your vet if there’s something you don’t understand so they can clarify. Ensure that you wash your hands before and after giving the medicine to your cat, and always ensure that the applicator tip does not touch the eye.

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When your cat has an eye condition, the last thing you want to do is make the administration of medication a battle. However, if you don’t give your cat the eye drops, their condition could worsen, or they could lose their sight.

The tips above are designed to help you give the cat the eye drops while keeping them calm and prevent you from being scratched if your cat panics. Remember, talk softly to your cat, hold them carefully, and do what you must to help them recover and be happy again.

Featured Image Credit: OlegKovalevichh-Shutterstock

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