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Why Does My Cat Have Black Eye Boogers?

If you are a first-time cat parent, you undoubtedly have questions in regards to your fluff baby. No question is too stupid and deserves an answer.

Knowing the whys and wherefores of excellent cat care begins with asking questions and seeking answers. It is vital to be an informed cat parent.

Seasoned cat parents cannot and do not know everything and can always learn something new.

Never adopt a cat or a dog that you have no intentions of giving the best possible care to until the day they pass on. Even seasoned cat parents like me often find out new things by answering a question I never thought of asking.

Remember that where there is an eyeball, there will naturally be eye boogers.

Why Does My Cat Have Black Eye Boogers?

I am a seasoned cat parent with over 30 years of caring for cats, and yes, all my cats, at one time or another, get eye boogers. These eye boogers in a cat are the same thing as when you find sleepers in the corners of your eyes, also called eye boogers.

One cat may have more frequent eye boogers than another cat. All I ever did was gently clean the eye boogers out with a soft, wet, warm washcloth—the same as I wash my face off in the morning.

Most times, this is nothing to be concerned about unless the cat has definite eye drainage.

The odd thing I first noticed many years ago, as a cat parent was,

  • My all-white cats had white whiskers, pink lips, eyelids, paw pads, and brownish eye boogers.
  • All my black cats wore a tiny white spot of fur on the front of their necks. These black cats had black whiskers, black lips, eyelids, paw pads, and black eye boogers.
  • All my orange-colored cats were somewhere in between.

I always assumed the color of a cat’s fur dictated the color of the cat’s lips, whiskers, eyelids, paw pads, and eye boogers. Perhaps after all these years, I “thunk” wrong.

That’s what you get when you assume anything; we will see—being a nurse for many years, I do recognize when a cat has an eye infection versus eye boogers and needs vet intervention.

However, concerning eye boogers, what I found is that this is a purrfectly normal accumulation of eye mucus and tears.

Eye boogers look just like the hard crusty gunk you may have in the corners of your eyes every morning. I have heard these called eye sleepers or eye boogers.

You could monitor this accumulation of gunk in your cat’s eyes, and if you notice more than average amounts, you should have your vet check your cat for a possible eye infection.

You will monitor your cat’s eyes to make sure they are bright, shiny, and clear. Eye boogers are nothing that sounds an emergency alarm for an immediate vet call unless your cat has other signs and symptoms.

Most times, cats display a dark crusty matter in the corner of the inside eyes towards the nose. This matter could be black or brown. Some cat parents mistakenly think that because this matter is dark in color, it is blood.

This matter is neither blood nor an infection, but an expected accumulation of eye matter. This matter is a clear fluid until it comes in contact with the air; then, it tends to darken. This drainage can stain the cat’s fur around the eyes.

Some cat breeds have naturally watery eyes, and you need to gently clean the eyes with a soft cloth and warm water. You can also run some warm water over a cotton ball to cleanse the cat’s eyes.

Make sure the eyes are closed, and there are no dry cotton fibers that could get into the cat’s eyes. For this reason, I always use a warm, wet washcloth.

Some experts say that you do not need to do anything to clean the corners of your cat’s eyes. However, I always gave my cats a helping hand by gently cleansing the outside of their eyes. They seem to think this feels good, as I am sure it does.

The following eye issues are not uncommon in cats and can cause eye boogers.

  • Allergies
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • An eye injury or scratch on the eyeball
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Eye infections
  • Pink eye or conjunctivitis
  • Glaucoma
  • Cancer

Cats can get a hereditary condition of the eyelids where the eyelid turns inward onto the eyeball. The eyelashes and hair on the eyelid constantly brush across the eyeball, making the eyes water constantly.

This condition is called Entropion and also happens to some humans. The vet can repair this turned-in eyelid.

Imagine how uncomfortable or painful this would be for your cat or you?

Your kitty could have pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis. This infection could be viral or bacterial. Your kitty could also have blocked tear ducts. If your cat is showing the following things in addition to eye drainage, the vet needs to see your kitty.

  • Not eating
  • Has a fever
  • Is listless
  • Is sneezing
  • Has a runny nose
  • Excess eye discharge
  • Squinting the eyes due to pain or sensitivity to light
  • Rubbing its eyes with its paws
  • Reddened eyes
  • Skin irritation around the eye
  • Swelling of the eye
  • Impaired vision
  • Corneas look cloudy, white, or opaque

What To Do About My Cat Having Black Eye Boogers?

Suppose you notice no other signs or symptoms of eye concerns other than a bit of dried matter in the corner of the eyes. Wet a cotton ball or soft washcloth with warm water and gently cleanse your cat’s eyes.

Start from the corner and gently wipe outward until they look free from this dried matter.

  • Eye infections in a cat are a cause for concern, the same as if you had an eye infection. It would be best to see your vet.  There are various kinds of infections. Your vet will let you know if your cat has an eye infection, why type, and the treatment needed to eliminate the infection.
  • The drainage that is an infection is never clear. This drainage in a cat or human can be greenish or yellowish. Humans sometimes get a quirky eye inflammation, and after a few days, it is gone.
  • Monitor your cat for a day or two.
  • Ocular eye disease is not uncommon in cats. Your kitty could have pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis. This infection could be viral or bacterial.
  • Your kitty could also have blocked tear ducts.

Monitor for any of the following signs and symptoms in your kitty. It would be wise to take your cat to see the vet because something is going on health-wise that needs attention.

  • Not eating
  • Has a fever
  • Is listless
  • Is sneezing
  • Has a runny nose
  • Excessive eye discharge that is green or yellow
  • Squinting due to pain or sensitivity to light
  • The cat is rubbing its eyes with its paws
  • Reddened eyes
  • Skin irritation around the eye
  • Swelling of the eye
  • Impair vision
  • Corneas look cloudy, white, or opaque

Sometimes this eye drainage starts to stain the fur around the eyes. You can purchase special wet wipes used specifically for cat eyes. Please never use products containing hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or any type of soap on your cat.

If your cat has no other signs or symptoms, there is usually nothing to worry about. A brownish discharge from the eyes happens when there is excess tearing, and this is not a serious issue.