Are Matting Eyes Normal in Kittens?

Your kitten's eyes should be bright and clear.
Your kitten's eyes should be bright and clear. (Image: David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Your kitten's eyes should be clear. Matting is usually a symptom of illness, which requires diagnosis and treatment from your veterinarian. If your kitten's eyes are matted, take him to your vet immediately. Prompt care can help save his vision and his pretty eyes.

Feline Calicivirus

Feline calicivirus is a highly contagious and widespread virus, which is common in young kittens. It causes upper respiratory infections in kittens and cats. It is transmitted by kittens coming into contact with the oral or nasal secretions of an infected kitty. Discharge of the eyes, which causes matting, is a symptom. Other symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever, lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, an abnormal amount of salivation, gingivitis and even lameness or limping. Treatment includes antibiotics, decongestants, fluids and eye medications for the eye discharge.

Feline Herpes Virus

Feline herpes virus also can cause matting eyes in kittens. It is another common cause of upper respiratory infections. It, too, is transmitted by contact with an infected cat's eye, nose or mouth secretions. It also can be passed from an infected mother to her kittens before birth. Symptoms are similar to those of feline calicivirus and also include squinting, eye ulcers and lesions in or around the eyes. Once infected with feline herpes virus, a kitty can keep it for life. However, the symptoms are treatable, again in a similar way to feline calicivirus, including antibiotics, antiviral medications and medicated eye drops or creams.


Conjunctivitis is another reason why kittens eyes might mat. This condition is an inflammation of the light pink lining around the eyes. Other symptoms include redness, swelling and sensitivity to light. It is treated with antibiotic eye ointment.

Dry Eye

Even kittens can suffer from dry eye. In this case, chronic lack of tear production causes red eyes, an inflamed cornea and can lead to blindness if not treated. The yellow, gooey eye discharge it causes is a result of the watery element of tears not being present. Treatment includes antibiotics, immune-suppressing drugs, artificial tears or eye ointments.

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