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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16902
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My cat is 15 weeks old and his eyes are running a mucus like

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My cat is 15 weeks old and his eyes are running a mucus like substance. Can you give me some idea what is the problem and what should I do?

Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear that Karma has runny eyes.


A mucous discharge means that his eyes are irritated. If this is a recent change for him then I suspect that he has picked up a contagious upper respiratory infection. Some cats get sicker than others and young, healthy adult cats seem to tolerate them and fight them off better than very young kittens or older cats. An upper respiratory infection in cats is just like a cold in you and I, and these are commonly caused by a virus, the most common one being Herpes virus. These are easily caught by breathing in virus particles in the air from a sneeze or nasal or eye discharge.


You can help him feel better by adding warm water to his food to make it smell more (they don't eat if they cannot smell) and with all of that discharge running down his face and into his nose via the nasolacrimal duct he probably isn't able to smell very well. It will also make the food easier to swallow.

The more fluids he gets the better. Offer tuna juice, low salt chicken broth, run the tap if he likes to drink out of the sink.
Take him into the bathroom with you if you run a hot bath or shower as the steam will soothe his sore throat and airways and thin the mucous.


If his nose become very congested you can use sterile saline to loosen the thick mucous and remove it. He won't like it but it will help him breathe and be able to smell his food better. You can also use sterile saline to remove eye mucous if it accumulates. I also recommend applying artificial tears to his eyes several times a day to keep them hydrated.

You can give him an amino acid supplement called L-lysine at 250mg to 500mg orally twice daily. If this infection is due to Herpes this amino acid interferes with virus replication and will shorten the infection's duration and severity. Good supplements to try are made by the Viralys brand which comes in a powder to add to the food or a tasty gel.

Some lethargy is understandable, let him rest as he needs rest to get better. If your cats normally go outdoors keep him (them) inside until they are back to their normal playful selves.

If he runs a high fever (more than 104F), has a green or yellow nasal or eye discharge, stops eating even with coaxing and clearing his nose and eyes, or starts coughing or having difficulty breathing then he needs a veterinary exam. Not an emergency as long as he is eating but soon if he isn't eating or has a green or yellow nasal or eye discharge.

Sometimes these upper airway infections turn into pneumonia so that's what we need to guard against. In most cases antibiotics aren't needed and can contribute to a decrease in appetite so I don't tend to prescribe them unless I feel there is evidence of a secondary bacterial component. These include a green or yellow eye or nasal discharge, evidence of pneumonia upon listening to their lungs or an infection that lingers beyond the normal 7 to 10 days.

I highly recommend testing him for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency viruses if his respiratory infection lingers. These
immunosuppressive viruses will make a simple infection much worse as they stop
the immune system from fighting infections the way it was designed to do.

If this has always been a problem for him other reasons for chronic tearing are abnormal eyelid conformation (entropian or ectropian), abnormal eyelash placement such that they are rubbing his eye (distichiasis) congenital glaucoma (increased eye pressures) or a blocked nasolacrimal duct. If he isn't much better in 7 to 10 days he needs a veterinary visit.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Dr. Kara and 2 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He is only 15 weeks old and my mother which has Early on-set Dementia loves this little kitten and she said thank you so much. I live 30 miles away from any Vet.

Thank you so much

God bless your mom and you. We dealt with that with my grandmother and though it is heartbreaking for the person it affects, it is just as rough if not worse on their caregivers and family. Take care, I hope that this little one brings her great joy, Dr. Kara.