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Home > Cats > Cat Scratched Your Eye? Here’s What to Do!

Cat Scratched Your Eye? Here’s What to Do!

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Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

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Most of the time, cats will not scratch people unless they are provoked or frightened, but accidents happen occasionally. Rough play with your kitten or cat can easily result in scratches, which can be rather nasty, especially in sensitive areas like your eye.

If your cat has scratched your eye, you’ll need to act quickly, even if it’s just your eyelid that got scratched. Seeing an eye doctor promptly is key to avoiding complications. Cats can carry bacteria under their claws that can quickly cause infections in even the smallest scratches, so if your cat has scratched your eyeball, this can quickly get serious.

If you or someone you know has been scratched in the eye by a cat, contact your doctor first and confirm that you should follow these listed steps.

Please note: The purpose of this post is not to diagnose illness or provide medical advice. We recommend contacting your doctor immediately if you suffer any injury from your cat. 

divider-catThe 5 Things to Do If a Cat Scratches Your Eye

No matter the severity of the scratch, the first thing you should do if a cat scratches your eye is contact your doctor or eye specialist. We highly recommend seeing an eye doctor as soon as possible to get a diagnosis and start prompt treatment. This will help to avoid permanent damage or chance of infection. The tips described can help with a scratched eye, but you should always double-check the recommended steps with your doctor. 

1. Rinse your eye

The first step after getting scratched in the eye by your cat is to flush it once or twice. Use either a sterile saline solution or warm, clean water to rinse it. Sterile saline is preferable but not essential. Make sure to be gentle and do not rub your eyes. 

close up woman with patch on right eye injury
Image Credit: Ilya Andriyanov, Shutterstock

2. Blinking

It may hurt at first, but once you’ve rinsed your eye out, try to blink once or twice gently. If you can blink comfortably, you can keep blinking until you see your doctor.

3. Don’t rub your eye!

No matter how tempting it may be, try to avoid rubbing your eye because this can easily make the situation worse. Scratches from cats can get extremely itchy, and this can be super frustrating when the injury is in your eye. Unfortunately, you’ll need to bear with the itch and avoid rubbing your eye as much as possible.

Also, do not apply anything to your eye until your doctor examines you.

Man resting eyes
Image Credit: Pixabay

4. Avoid eyedrops

You may be tempted to use redness-relieving eyedrops to help with the pain, but this must be avoided by all means. These types of eye drops are not meant for open wounds and will likely cause a great deal of pain should you try them. It’s far better to wait until you can see a doctor, as they will be able to prescribe adequate eye drops meant for injuries.

You should also avoid putting in contacts if you use them because they can also cause further damage. Glasses are the best bet; otherwise, get a friend or relative to help you drive. It’s a great idea to put on a pair of sunglasses for the trip to help with light sensitivity too.

5. Go see a doctor

No matter the severity of your scratch, we highly recommend going to see a doctor for proper treatment. Small, superficial scratches may heal with the right treatment after a few days. A serious scratch is potentially dangerous, though, and you don’t want to take any risks when it comes to your vision. If the scratch is not treated properly, it can easily result in infection and vision complications. Your doctor will be able to assess the severity of the scratch and prescribe a proper remedy, likely in the form of eye drops or oral medications.


divider-catFinal Thoughts

No matter how light the scratch may seem, we highly recommend seeing a doctor if your cat has scratched the inside of your eye. Infection can happen so quickly, and when it comes to your vision, it’s far better to be safe than sorry. Contact your doctor immediately to get an appointment and confirm our tips to make things easier and help prevent infection from setting in.

If you’re looking to give your cat something to scratch, we recommend one of these great cat scratching posts!

Featured Image Credit: Alun Marchant, Shutterstock

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