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Why Is My Cat Keeping One Eye Closed? 4 Vet-Reviewed Reasons & Tips

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Orange cat with one eye

Why Is My Cat Keeping One Eye Closed? 4 Vet-Reviewed Reasons & Tips

While it may be a cute idea to think your cat winks at you, a cat with one eye closed may be a sign that something’s amiss. If your cat has one eye closed most of the time, they may have a scratch in the cornea, a foreign body, or an infection causing a painful eye that needs checking out.

Several medical issues can cause a cat to keep one eye closed, and we’ll cover those here. We’ll also give you some tips on keeping your cat’s eyes in tip-top shape.


The 4 Reasons Why Your Cat Is Keeping One Eye Closed

To help you figure out why your little buddy seems to be winking at you, we’ve put together some of the main reasons cats keep one eye closed.

1. An Injury to the Eye

When a cat sustains an injury to the eye, like a scratch, the animal will try to keep that eye closed to relieve the pain. It’s not uncommon for a cat to accidentally scratch the cornea, which is the transparent layer that makes up the front of the eyeball.

If your vet diagnoses your cat with an eye injury such as a scratched cornea, the most common treatment involves taking anti-inflammatory and pain medications and getting antibiotic coverage. It’s also likely that your vet will fit your cat with a protective cone that fits around their head to prevent them from pawing at their eyes. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, sometimes surgery is recommended.

2. Feline Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye as it’s also called, can cause a cat to keep an eye closed. Conjunctivitis is a relatively common feline eye disorder that involves an inflamed conjunctiva, which is the thin membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and coats the outer surface of the eyeball.

The most common cause of conjunctivitis is a bacterial or a viral infection that always requires veterinary intervention. It’s likely your vet will prescribe an antibiotic eye drop or ointment to help clear up the eye infection so your kitty can make a quick recovery.

Orange cat with injured eye
Image By: DariuszSankowski, Pixabay

3. Uveitis or Glaucoma

Your cat may be keeping one eye closed because they are suffering from feline uveitis or feline glaucoma. These two conditions are different but can be related sometimes since glaucoma in cats can occur as a consequence of uveitis.

Uveitis involves inflammation of the uvea, the vascular layer of the eye, and can be caused by different reasons, including infectious, non-infectious, and idiopathic causes. Glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside the eye builds up and, in cats, is almost always secondary to other eye problems. Other signs of uveitis and glaucoma include redness, abnormal pupil shape and color, and poor vision. Both conditions are, unfortunately, potentially blinding.

If you think your cat has uveitis or glaucoma, take them to the vet as soon as possible so the eye can be checked and treatment started as soon as possible.

4. Foreign Body

Your cat may be closing one eye due to the presence of a foreign body in their eyes. It may seem that this is a more common problem in outdoor cats; however, indoor cats can also get foreign material in their eyes, such as plant material, wood, or litter from the litter box.

A foreign body will be very uncomfortable and will also cause your cat to start pawing at the eye and tearing. If you suspect your cat got some foreign material into their eyes, you should seek veterinary help right away.

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Tips for Keeping Your Cat’s Eyes Healthy

cleaning persian chinchilla cat's eyes with cotton pad
Image By: catinsyrup, Shutterstock

You can help your cat avoid eye problems by making sure their vaccinations are kept up to date. Another important way to ensure your cat enjoys good eye health is to inspect their eyes regularly for signs of trouble. Look for things like a discharge coming from the eyes, redness, cloudiness, and a change in the color or shape of the eyes.

If you need to clean discharge away from your cat’s eyes, do so with care. Simply dip clean cotton in a bit of water and carefully wipe the discharge away by staring in the corner of the eye and working outward. Use fresh cotton for each eye to keep things hygienic.

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Cats show very subtle signs when they are unwell, and one of these may be keeping one eye closed. You will have to watch your cat closely and try to figure out why they seem to be winking at you. Your cat may be simply closing one eye now and then for no real reason, or they could have a serious underlying medical problem that’s causing the behavior.

If you can’t get to the root cause of why your cat is shutting an eye, contact your vet for some advice! Always remember that your cat depends on you to keep them healthy and happy, so always do what’s best for your furry friend!

Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

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