Applying Eye Drops to Cats

The proper administration of eye medication is critical in helping your cat recover quickly from an eye injury or infection.

Make sure you carefully read the drug label and understand the prescription instructions. If you have any questions, contact your veterinarian for clarification before administering any medication.

"Wash your hands before and after administering the medication to prevent contamination and avoid the potential spread of infection."

Wash your hands before and after administering the medication to prevent contamination and avoid the potential spread of infection.

Be sure to keep the eye medication’s applicator tip clean, and do not allow it to contact the cat, the surface of the eye, eyelids, or any other surface. If this occurs, wipe the tip with a clean cloth and ask your veterinarian for specific cleaning instructions.

If your cat's eye is painful, you may need someone assist you with restraint. Usually, as the treatment begins to take effect, the pain lessens and assistance becomes less necessary.

Here are some helpful tips and step-by-step instructions to make it easier to administer your cat's eye medications:

  • eyedrops_catGently clean away any debris around your cat's eyes with warm water and a washcloth before giving the eye drops. This can be soothing and helps prepare your cat for the medication(s).
  • If you are administering the medication on your own, you may find it easiest to place your cat in your lap. It may be helpful to restrain the cat by wrapping it in a blanket or towel with only its head exposed. The first few times, or if your cat's eye is painful, it may be helpful to have someone else gently hold the wrapped cat while you apply the drops.
  • Often, shaking or gentle mixing of the bottle is required; instructions should be provided.
  • Hold the bottle using the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand with the tip pointed downwards. You may want to rest this hand on the top of the cat's head for stability.
  • Use the last two fingers of the same hand to pull back the upper eyelid. Place your other hand around the cat’s jaw and behind the ears to hold the head still. Alternatively, use your other hand to pull up the upper eyelid while holding the head still. The lower eyelid acts as a pouch to receive the drops.
  • Hold the bottle close to the eye but do not touch the eye's surface with the applicator.
  • Squeeze the prescribed number of drops directly onto the eyeball, aiming for the center of the eye, and then release the head.
  • The cat will blink, spreading the medication over the surface of the eye.
  • It is common for cats to blink or paw at the eye after receiving the drops. Some drops also have a bitter taste, which drains to the back of the mouth via the tear ducts. This can cause cats to drool or salivate. If rubbing at the eye persists or if the eye appears more inflamed or red after administration of the medication, consult with your veterinarian before further administration.
  • This is best attempted when your cat is relaxed or sleepy. A favorite treat afterwards may also help. Consult your veterinarian if you are not able to apply the medication as directed.

© Copyright 2023 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.