Catster logo

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

Image Credit: OlegKovalevichh-Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Patricia Dickson

Many cat owners are unsure how to handle the situation when their cat is diagnosed with an eye infection or anything to do with the eyes. After all, it’s not like you can just ask your feline pal to lean back his head so you can put the eye drops in, and it’s possible that your cat will panic and end up scratching you pretty badly.

While these tips might not work for every pet parent and cat, here are a few we’ve found that have worked in the past.

3 cat face divider

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 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. Sadly, some cats must be sedated when putting in eye drops. If your cat will not settle down for you to administer the medicine, it’s best to talk to your vet about the issue.

groomer wiping cat with towel
Image Credit: Standret, Shutterstock

2. Keep It at Eye Level

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

3. Try Positive Reinforcement

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

Remember, the cat has no idea what is happening, and being mean to him 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
Image 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.

If you can’t get your cat to sit still, it’s best to make an appointment with your vet to see if they can help you. These tips work for most felines, so they are worth trying when giving your cat eye drops.

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

cat paw dividerAlways Put Safety First

Getting the drops into your cat’s eyes is essential to helping your feline pal recover from an eye injury or infection. 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 is clean before using it again.

cat paw divider


When your cat has an eye infection or an eye injury, the last thing you want to do is make him feel worse. However, if you don’t give the cat the eye drops, he could become worse or lose sight.

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

Featured Image Credit: OlegKovalevichh-Shutterstock

About the Author

Patricia Dickson
Patricia Dickson
Patricia is a pet writer and lifelong animal lover. She has two cats (Binx and Link) and one dog (Mystery). Binx was found as a kitten under her house and has been part of the family ever since! Patricia is also a published author under the pen name Skylar McKinzie. When she isn’t writing, Patricia enjoys volunteering at her local animal rescue.

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.


Follow Us

Shopping Cart