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Jun. 22, 2023

In this article

Is eye discharge in cats bad?

Eye discharge isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Your cat’s tear ducts play an important role in ensuring proper vision as the tears produced help keep your feline’s eyes moist and free of dust and debris. Healthy eye discharge is easy to recognize as it’s colorless and odorless.

Why does my cat have black eye boogers?

Many cats develop a crunchy black discharge in the corner of their eyes, also known as ‘eye boogers’. While the crusts might look unsightly, they are actually perfectly normal. Cats have a black pigment in their tears, so when the moisture dries up, a black crunchy substance is formed, much like the colorless crusts us humans might develop after a night’s sleep.

Why does my cat have black eye boogers?

What causes abnormal eye discharge in my cat?

A change in eye discharge can have various causes, including the following:


Just like humans, cats can be allergic to a variety of substances, some of which can cause eye irritation. The most common allergens to trigger excessive eye discharge in your cat are pollen, dust, and mold.


Eye infections

As cats love to explore the world around them, they will inevitably come into contact with bacteria and viruses. When these get into your feline’s eyes, they can cause infections paired with symptoms like redness, swelling, and eye discharge. One of the most common causes of viral conjunctivitis in cats is a feline herpesvirus infection (FHR)


Some cat breeds have been designed to meet a certain aesthetic that isn’t always in the best interest of the cat. Brachycephalics (cats with a squished-in face) basically suffer from facial deformities that prevent their tears from being drained properly, causing the tears to roll down these kitties’ face, creating dark tear stains. In worst-case scenarios, the constant wetness of the skin underneath the cat’s eyes causes a yeast infection.

Foreign objects

If a foreign object, such as a wooden splinter, a leaf of grass, or an eyelash, becomes trapped in your cat’s eye, it can cause irritation and excessive discharge. Preferably refrain from trying to remove the object from the eye yourself as you could damage the cornea.

When should I contact the vet?

Actually, the answer is simple. If your cat has excessive eye discharge or discharge that is a different color or consistency than usual, contact your vet for a checkup. The cause of your cat’s weird eye discharge might be totally benign, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.