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Can I Use Human Eye Drops on Cats? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

a person getting eye drops into the cat's eyes

Can I Use Human Eye Drops on Cats? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ


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.

Learn more »

While cats can develop eye problems just like humans do, their eye conditions should never be treated the same way that we would treat our own. This is especially true when it comes to treatments like human eye drops, as these should never be used on cats without a veterinary prescription. But are there any other home remedies that can be used to treat a cat’s eye problems? What about veterinarian treatments? We have the answers to these questions and more for you right here!

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Why It’s Never a Good Idea to Use Human Eye Drops on Cats

eye drop isolated in blur background
Image Credit: Jarva Jar, Shutterstock

Some human eye drops, such as saline solution, lubricating drops, or certain eye medications, may be suitable for use on a cat’s eyes, but unless you have taken your cat for a consultation with your vet and received a diagnosis and a treatment plan, you can’t know for sure how any human product will affect your kitty’s health. Since there may be ingredients in eye drops that could be harmful, it’s best to stay away from human treatments and focus on ones that are proven to be safe for felines of all breeds. Sometimes, prescription medications and veterinarian treatments are necessary.

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You Can Try Eye Drops for Pets

While human eye drops can’t be used on cats without a veterinary prescription, there are products on the market that are designed just for cats. For example, certain eye washes or antimicrobial solutions, such as Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Ophthalmic Pet Gel, add moisture to the eyes and have antimicrobial properties. Keep in mind that it’s meant as an eye wash, not as an alternative to medicated products that your veterinarian might prescribe. Over-the-counter products are not intended to get rid of an infection and might only relieve some side effects.

Signs of Eye Infections in Cats

It is crucial to know what signs may develop if your kitty gets an eye infection so you know what to look for and can act quickly if you do notice a problem.

Several signs can clue you into the fact that your cat has an eye infection:
  • Watery eyes
  • Squinting
  • Redness
  • Excessive discharge
  • Eye rubbing
  • Eye swelling
  • Obvious irritation

If your cat does seem to have an eye infection, you should schedule a checkup with your veterinarian to determine if prescription treatments are necessary. Otherwise, the infection is bound to fester and could cause serious problems, up to and including blindness.

a cat with eye infection
Image By: RJ22, Shutterstock

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Cats can get eye conditions just like humans can. On occasion, your veterinarian may prescribe human eye drops for your cat if there is no alternative for pets. Only your veterinarian can make a diagnosis and a treatment plan suitable for your cat. Over-the-counter drops can be used to wash your cat’s eyes and to help them with minor irritations, but it is essential to double-check the use of these with your vet. Any eye condition in cats requires prompt veterinary intervention since there is a high chance of serious complications if severe eye problems are left untreated. Don’t be misled by the subtle signs of discomfort in your cat; eye problems can progress very quickly, leading to serious consequences and even blindness.

It is important to know what signs to look for so you can seek veterinary help as soon as they develop. While you should not use human eye drops on your cat without your veterinarian’s input, you can use over-the-counter pet drops or eye gel with your vet’s approval for routine eye care. For a severe case, your veterinarian should be able to help you get rid of the problem once and for all.

Featured Image Credit: OlegKovalevichh, Shutterstock

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