What are safe eye wipes to use on cats?

It is not unusual for cats to have discharge from the eyes, which may also be present during cold and allergy season. This discharge can stain the fur, and, if it dries and hardens, is uncomfortable for the cat. This matter should be gently wiped away, not picked out, which is not only physically painful, triggering aggression in the animal, but potentially dangerous to the cat’s sensitive eyes.

The safest way to wipe matter from a cat’s eyes is to use a soft, clean wash cloth moistened with lukewarm water only or, for more precise cleaning, a damp cotton square. Always work in the direction of the fur, moving along the lower eyelid. With each pass, use a clean section of the cloth or use a new cotton square.

Cats do not like to be restrained, and it’s a mistake to try to hold his head rigidly in place. Wrap the cat in a towel and place it between your knees if necessary, but try to encourage the cat to rub his face into the cloth as if he were being petted. The less the cat feels “held down,” the more likely he is to allow his eyes to be cleaned. Cats are highly skilled at reading body language. If you tense up expecting a fight, you’ll get one.

Eye cleanings can easily be paired with overall facial cleaning, especially with a washcloth, which cats tend to tolerate well if the cloth is not too wet. Regular face cleaning can not only prevent matter from building up in the corners of the eyes, but when extended over the facial fur and whiskers, it will hinder the development of feline acne from oil accumulation.

Never use over-the-counter wipes, rubbing alcohol, or any other chemical substance on a cat’s face and around his eyes unless the solution is specifically prescribed by a veterinarian.

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