The secret to understanding your feline companion is paying close attention and reading meanings in the body language they display all the time.
As a cat owner, it is important to learn this because this is the only way these little moggies can communicate with us. Although sometimes, these gesticulations may seem rather ambiguous, attempting to decipher possible meaning based on preliminary knowledge may save the life of your cat.
One of such signs that is hard to read meaning into is “cat closing one eye” because of the ambiguity and the complexity of the message they are trying to convey with the sign. In this article, you will find the possible meanings and/or if any, possible health conditions that may have resulted in such conduct. Keep reading for details.
Table of Contents
Is it normal for a cat keeps closing one eye?
No, it is not normal for a cat to keep choosing one eye. All cats, whether domesticated or wild are natural hunters I.e. they enjoy scouting for their food which means their eyes must be wide open at all times for prey.
This is their natural way of surviving and if you notice that your little tom squints a lot or always keeps one eye closed, there’s a great possibility that they are suffering a particular discomfort. This could be in any form, it could be conjunctivitis or any other infection.
Therefore, if you observe that this action is accompanied by a discharge, redness, or cloudiness, call the attention of your vet to it immediately to avoid possible loss of vision.
Why is my cat closing one eye?
- Eye injury or trauma
Looking at how affectionate cats could be especially when they are comfortable around their favorite person or pet, one can easily conclude that such an attitude is in their nature. That is not true though because they are very territorial and would engage in fights with any other animal they deem as a competitor.
Sometimes, this fight may not end well for them, and may sustain an injury, if this injury is sustained on their eye, they may close the affected eye due to discomfort.
- Something stuck in their eyes
While playing with other pets or their kittens, some particles from their environment like sand, dust, chemicals, wind, or grass seeds may enter the eyes of your cat which could cause irritation or itchiness.
They may close one eye or squint while trying to deal with the discomfort caused by the irritants.
- Eye ulcer
An eye ulcer is also known as a corneal ulcer is an eye condition that is common in cats. An eye ulcer will appear as a wound on the eye of your cat which could cause itchiness, discharge, or redness.
Most cats in the bid to alleviate the discomfort caused by this infection will rub their eyes with their paw or close one of the eyes. So if you see your cat opening just an eye, it is likely suffering from an eye ulcer.
- Allergic reaction
Your cat may want to munch on anything it sets its eye on, do not encourage such a habit. They may even want to have a bite of whatever you are eating, do not indulge them. This is because certain foods could impact negatively on their health which could lead to allergic reactions. Although allergic reactions can come in different forms, they can also come in the form of swelling around the eyes which could cause discomfort to your cat. Your cat may be closing one eye to assuage the pain.
Feline glaucoma is another possible eye condition that may cause your cat to close an eye. Glaucoma is a condition of the eye where it becomes difficult for the aqueous humor I.e. the watery liquid found in the frontal part of the eye, right behind the lens to drain normally.
Common symptoms of this infection include; eye pain, squinting, itchiness, and many more. Therefore, if your cat is suffering from this infection, it may result in this habit in response to the discomfort.
Cat closing one eye when tired
Cats have a third eyelid known as the nictating membrane which closes whenever they are tired or sick and would remain very much alert to happenings within their environment.
Hence, if you notice that your cat closes an eye whenever they are tired, it is most likely caused by an eye condition called Blepharitis or in some other cases, conjunctivitis.
This condition may cause the eyelid to swell and your cat may squint or close its eye in reaction.
Cats closing one eye-watering
It is one thing for your cat to close its eye, it is another thing for the reflex action to be accompanied by another anomaly.
These anomalies can come in various forms which could include, watering, redness, rubbing, discharge, or blinking excessively. Ordinarily, if your cat closes one of its eyes without any of these conditions, the effect is usually minimal and would cure naturally without any medical intervention.
But when it is accompanied by any of the symptoms above, it could mean severe eye condition but not in all cases. For instance, if your cat’s squinting is followed by water, it could mean that they are suffering from a blocked nasolacrimal duct or that they have dust or any other foreign body stuck in their eyes.
Cats closing one eye and sneezing
If you notice that anytime your feline companion closes one eye, it is accompanied by nasal discharge or sneezing. They might be suffering from a feline cold or upper respiratory infection.
Nonetheless, the good news is that the cold will go by itself in a matter of weeks even without any medical intervention. Other possible causes include allergies, glaucoma, conjunctivitis, and scratched cornea.
Why can’t my cat open one eye?
1. Eye infection
The major reason why your cat can’t open one eye is probably that it is infected. This infection can be caused by bacteria or viruses such as feline herpes.
Some of the symptoms of infection in cats include redness, irritation, and dilation which could cause them to leave the affected eyes closed because of light sensitivity or pain.
2. Eye injury
If your cat suffers an eye injury or scratch, it may cause them to shut one eye. One such injury is the corneal ulcer which if appropriate medical attention is not given could damage the eye surface.
A corneal ulcer is painful and shutting the eyes is one of the easiest ways of securing the affected eye from contacting anything that could trigger the pain. Common symptoms include redness, watering, and rubbing or pawing at the affected spot.
3. Problem with the eyelid
Although more rampant with dogs, eyelid issues can also be the reason why your cat is closing one of its eyes. Your cat may be suffering from entropion, an eye condition that causes the eyelid to roll inwards, bringing the eyelashes closer to the eye. Your cat may keep the affected eye closed to avoid contact between these two parts.
4. Dry eye
Dry eye is also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca is an eye condition in cats that parents the eye from producing enough tears needed to keep the eyes lubricated. If this dryness persists for long, it could lead to irritation and pain which could cause them to shut an eye to relieve the pain.
Common symptoms of dry eye include yellowish discharge, dull eyes, and excessive blinking. Have your vet perform necessary tests on him to recommend appropriate medication.
How to tell if my cat has an eye infection
- If you notice any of the following symptoms in your cat, there is a great possibility that it is suffering from an eye infection.
- They wink or rub their eyes too frequently, obvious ocular discharge which could appear yellowish, clear, or green.
- Whiteness of the eye may turn red.
- They may also exhibit symptoms of upper respiratory infections like sneezing or nasal discharge.
- The third eyelid may become protruded and cover some parts of the irritated eye.
How to tell if my cat’s eye is scratched
- Inflammation of the eye
- You can see blood in its eye
- Eye discharge
- They paw frequently at the eye
- Distorted pupils
Why does my cat look at me with one eye closed?
If your cat looks at you with one eye, not that he shuts one of the eyes often, it is likely because he facies you and wants your affection. However, if the latter is the case, it may be a result of the various infections discussed in the previous sections of this article. Revisit the sections for details.
What to do if your cat is squinting one eye
If you observe that it is becoming perpetual for your cat to squint one eye, it is best to contact your veterinarian for a possible diagnosis to reveal the actual cause. It is important to do this so that the appropriate medications can be prescribed. Delay or unprofessional intervention may cause your cat to permanently lose its sight.
Should in case you do not have access to a veterinarian or it may take days for any medical intervention, you can prevent the condition from further deterioration by following the steps below.
- Put an Elizabeth collar on the cat to prevent self-trauma to the injured or infected part of the eye.
- Place the cat where they can be comfortable. Put them in a place with dim light.
- Except you are sure that it is a traumatic injury, it is ideal that you assume that the possible cause is contagious, so it is recommended that you isolate the infected cat.
- Clean the ocular discharges with a cloth damp in warm water moving from the corner close to the nose and then moving outward to remove debris from the eyes.
- Place sterile pad damp in cold water on the affected spot to help with the irritation.
Can you use human eye drops on cats?
No, it is not advisable to use human eye drops for cats. We have different types of eye drops. We have artificial tears, anti-redness drops, and allergy drops.
Of all these three, artificial tears are considered the safest for cats because the other two contain a human medication which could lead to further deterioration of the eye condition.
Why is my cat blinking only in one eye?
If your cat is blinking at you with one eye. There’s need for concern, it only means that your feline friend is happy, contented, and relaxed. In essence, they are comfortable around you.
Why does my cat sleep with one eye open?
Cats are natural hunters and are programmed to sleep with their eyes open. In the wild, predators hunt mostly at night, so cats sleep more during the day so they can stay awake at night and usually do that with an eye open so that they can be aware of their surroundings even while they relax.
Therefore when next you find your cat in this situation, know that it is merely showcasing its hunting instinct.
The unique literary talents of Dr. A. Barton are well known throughout the veterinary profession. He is a regular contributor to the New York City Veterinarian and his professional articles have also appeared in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Journal of Small Animal Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Cornell Veterinarian and Philadelphia Medicine. He is the only veterinarian ever to have had an article published in the human medical publication, What’s New.