Epiphora in Cats
Is the result of a lack of drainage or over-powering of the drainage system

Epiphora in cats can cause ulceration's and irritations in your pet’s skin below their eyes or near their nose and can also produce swelling of the eyelids as well as partial facial swelling.

It can also reach a point where it starts to become a very painful situation for your cat and may cause excessive blinking and squinting.

However, if it becomes severe enough, it may also cause a change in the size of your cat’s pupils which may lead to a temporary loss of vision.

If it becomes infected, it may than become permanent if it is not immediately treated and corrected.


Epiphora in cats is an abnormal amount of tear production by your pet that may be caused by two different factors; obstruction of normal drainage, or the over production of tears.

It is very common for any cat to have excess tearing develop in their eyes from time to time.

However,  if it becomes chronic it is referred to an Epiphora and it can easily develop into a very serious situation.

Tears in your cat are constantly being produced and they are a natural defense system that helps to keep your pet’s nose as well as their nostrils moist.

Every time your cat blinks these tears are pushed outward along the outer parts of the eyelids where they will drain down toward the nose.

However, when your cats tear duct system, also called the nasolacrimal duct, becomes obstructed, it can cause this condition.

Cats blue eyesEpiphora in cats must be treated as it can become a very dangerous situation

Your cat has a small hole that is located in both the upper and lower eyelids called a puncta and both are very close to where your pets eyelids meet at the nose.

Under normal circumstances the tears that are produced by your cat flow down these two holes in a draining motion.

They than drain into a central collection area or sac called the lacrimal that is located just slightly under your cats skin below their eyes.

From this collection area there is a small tube that than carries the tears into the nose of your cat.

Epiphora in cats develops when this process, somewhere along the line, becomes obstructed.

However, it can also be the result of your cats system over producing tears and they become so intense it over powers this protective system.

The overproduction of tears by your cat is a natural reaction by the immune system when it is asked to help expel some type of an irritation to the eye.

This irritation can be some type of a foreign object that has attacked the actual surface of the eye, or it could be could be an irritation inside of the eye.


Epiphora in cats will show you several different symptoms beyond just normal tearing and there is no one can spot these symptoms better that you can.

The first symptom that usually surfaces is a watery discharge that has developed in one of the eyes, however, in some cases, in may affect both eyes.

When this happens, you will than start to see what is referred to as tear staining that is occurring on your pets face below their eyes.

Once this develops the symptoms to watch for will be the buildup of a dry discharge either on or around their eyelids.

This is than followed by your cat rubbing both their eyes and face, which in turn will cause your pets eyes to turn reddish in color.

However, it can do a lot more than just produce a reddish color; it can also change the color of their eyes or cause them to become very cloudy in appearance.

From here the symptoms start to become much more severe and it is starting to become painful for your cat.

They will start to blink or even squint, and as a result the eyelids and the facial areas around the eyes may start to swell as bacteria are accumulating.

If it is becoming infected, it may now change the size of your cats pupil and as a result cause a temporary loss of sight.


Epiphora in cats can have several different causes with the first set being from the obstruction of the flow of their tears.

Persian and Himalayan breeds and other flat face breeds with long hair are most affected by the ducts becoming obstructed simply because of their long hair.

The tear ducts in these breeds can often become partially closed by the hair that is located on the face in the crease where the eyelids meet.

These breeds also seem to have, for whatever reason, a slightly smaller tear duct opening, which adds to this problem.

If your cat has recently had a severe case of conjunctivitis, or pink eye, it can also cause this condition.

The inflammation that is caused by pink eye, especially around the lining of the white part of your cat’s eye and under the eye lid, can clog the drainage ducts and cause Epiphora in cats

Tear duct scarring is very common as well and you will need to monitor for this very closely.

You will also need to seek advice from your veterinarian on what type of drops or ointments can help to prevent the scarring.

In some cases, it may take both topical eye antibiotics as well as anti-inflammatory medications to treat the scarring in order to stop the blockage of the drainage ducts.

Epiphora in cats that is caused by the over production of tears may be the result of hair that is rubbing in your cats eyes from a deformed eyelid, or by eyelashes that are growing in the wrong location.

With this condition the eyelashes actually start to turn up into the eye which is more common in dogs, but can also affect cats.

Pink eye can also affect the tear production, but Keratitis, which is the inflammation of the cornea, is much more common.

If your cat’s eyes have become cloudy, the chances are very high this is the actual cause.

Corneal ulceration's or scratches can also result in abnormal tear production, as well as any type of an irritation of the tear glands or eye sockets.

The development of Glaucoma can also cause the over production of tears in your cat.

However, there is one other potential cause that you might watch for if nothing else seems to be the underlying reason.

Some people’s nose always seems to start to run when they eat, and in some cases, eating may stimulate tearing in your cat. It is not common, but it can happen.


Epiphora in cats can become very dangerous if it is not treated as this lack of drainage or over powering of the drainage system can and does cause infections from bacterial buildups.

Once you start to see the symptoms develop the sooner you can get your cat to your veterinarian, the quicker they will be relieved of this painful condition.

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