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Dr Harrison
Dr Harrison, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 61
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for over 20 years
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why is the white layer of skin showing in my cats eyes

Customer Question

why is the white layer of skin showing in my cats eyes? they have been like that for 2 days, he has always been very active untill today.he has been eating alot of bugs an mosquito,s could that have something to do with it? please help.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr Harrison replied 9 years ago.

Important Information…the advice I am providing is solely based on the information you are giving me. To accurately diagnose and treat a patient, a veterinary doctor-patient relationship is required. Before I can tell you what is wrong, I must see you pet and perform an examination. Over the internet, your description may be misleading and you may not see what a trained veterinarian would see. Therefore, the advice I give you is not to be taken as 100% accurate. I can tell you how I have treated cases in the past with similar symptoms and you must make a decision whether you want to follow my advice or not. This service is not a substitute for visiting your vet. With that in mind, let us start…


What you are probably seeing is the nictitans membrane or more commonly referred to as the "3rd eyelid". I think you are correct in suspecting this has something to do with the bugs he eats. Very often the 3rd eyelid will appear from the nasal side of the eye when there is a digestive upset. It is not always due to this but happens frequently. Other reasons the 3rd eyelid comes into view are: weight loss, eye infection, ear infection, and various other diseases.

You should consult with your vet about this. It is necessary to find out what the underlying problem is and therapy to correct it.

Here is a link that may help explain in more detail. I must caution you that I have not reviewed this link and unless it is written by a veterinarian, the information can't be held to be medically accurate. But just to give you information that might help here it is:

The following link covers Horner's Syndrome which I don't think you are describing. However, look at the illustration and see the cats left eye is partially closed with the 3rd eyelid protruding.

Here is another link that gives a little more description of the anatomy of the eye and they include information about the third eyelid. Go down to where it says, "Accessory structures" and you'll see the "nictitating membrane" or third eyelid in the diagram.

If you find my answer helpful, please click "Accept". Bonuses are always appreciated. It was a pleasure responding to your question and follow ups are welcome.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Dr Harrison's Post: please tell me what i can give him for his digestive upset & i will gladly accept. thank you.
Expert:  Dr Harrison replied 9 years ago.
Most anything he needs is available only with prescription. Very little is available for cats OTC. If you have some Laxatone or Petro Malt (laxatives and hairball medications available at most pet shops), will facilitate transit through his digestive system, that might help. As I said before, it could be other things and your vet should be consulted. This site is for informational purposes only and does not replace the need to consult with a vet.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
thank you.
Expert:  Dr Harrison replied 9 years ago.
If you find my answer helpful, please click "Accept". Bonuses are always appreciated. It was a pleasure responding to your question and follow ups are welcome.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Dr Harrison's Post: sorry,your answer didn,t help. had to take him to vet. thanks for trying to help.
Expert:  Dr Harrison replied 9 years ago.
I am sorry you didn't find my answer helpful.
In my response I have made, clear that you should consult with a vet. This site is NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE SEEING A VET. and I point that out also. I thought I answered the question as to What the "white layer of skin" was you were seeing and what may have caused it.
In my opening paragraph, I specifically point out the need for me to SEE what you see. I go by your description because I have no other means to figure out what it might be.
For example. actual skin can form on the eye and that is called a pannus. I didn't think you were seeing actual skin, so I tried to imagine what would make you think you see skin. I think I was correct. Your vet probably told you the same thing I did.
Then you asked me what could you give to your kitty. I replied that what your cat needed was probably something YOUR VET could only give you because it requires a prescription. However, I tried to suggest something which was available over the counter (a laxative) to help pass what ever was causing the upset.
Perhaps, your vet agreed, perhaps he/she didn't agree. But your vet had the advantage to exam your cat. Therefore, I thought I did the best with the information I had available at the time.

Again, I regret that the information was not helpful. Perhaps next time we could be more helpful. We appreciate your participation.