Most of the time, cats won’t scratch people unless they are provoked or frightened, but accidents do happen occasionally. Rough play with your kitten or cat can easily lead to scratching, which can be a bit unpleasant, especially in sensitive areas like your eyes.
If your cat scratches your eye, you need to act quickly, even if it’s just your eyelids being scratched. Cats can carry bacteria under their paws that can quickly cause infection in even the smallest scratch, so if your cat has scratched your eyeball, this could be serious.
If you or someone you know has been scratched by a cat in the eye, follow these steps.
What to do after a cat scratches your eye?
These methods can help treat a scratched eye, but no matter how severe the scratch, we highly recommend seeing an ophthalmologist as soon as possible to ensure there is no permanent damage or possible infection.
1. Rinse your eyes
The first step after a cat’s eye is scratched is to clean it thoroughly. Use a mild saline solution or warm, clean water to rinse. Saline is preferred because it can help prevent bacteria from persisting. Keep your eyes wide open, and rinse with a water solution for 1 or 2 minutes.
It may hurt at first, but after you rinse your eyes, try to keep blinking. This will help remove any remaining dirt and bacteria from your eyes and help prevent infection. After the initial discomfort, blinking will provide some real relief once the dirt and debris has been removed and can help relieve pain.
You can also try pulling the upper eyelid over the lower eyelid to help remove debris. The lower lashes act like a brush and help remove dirt that gets stuck under the upper eyelid.
3. Don’t rub your eyes!
No matter how tempting it is, try to avoid rubbing your eyes as this can easily make the situation worse. Scratches from cats can be very itchy, and it can be very frustrating if you hurt your eyes. Unfortunately, you have to endure the itching and avoid rubbing your eyes as much as possible.
Also, don’t close your eyes. Bacteria multiply in warm, dark places, so infection can occur more quickly with a patch.
4. Avoid eye drops
You may be tempted to use redness-reducing eye drops to help with the pain, but this is not a good idea. These types of eye drops are not intended for open wounds and will likely cause excruciating pain if you try them. It is much better to wait until you can see a doctor, as they will be able to prescribe soothing eye drops for the injury.
You should also avoid inserting contacts if you use them as they can also cause further damage. Glasses are the best choice; if not, ask a friend or relative to help you drive. It’s a good idea to wear sunglasses for travel to help with light sensitivity as well.
5. Go to the doctor
No matter how severe your scratch is, we highly recommend going to a doctor for proper treatment. Minor scratches on the surface don’t require much attention and will usually heal after a few days. However, a serious scratch is potentially dangerous, and you don’t want to take any risks with your eyesight. If scratches are not treated properly, they can easily lead to infection and cause partial loss of vision. Your doctor will be able to assess the severity of the scratch and prescribe the right medication, possibly in the form of antibiotic eye drops or other prescription steroid eye drops and even oral antibiotics.
Read Related: How to Stop a Cat Scratching Your Sofa
No matter how minor the scratch, we highly recommend that you see a doctor if your cat scratches the inside of your eye. Infections can happen so quickly, and when it comes to your eyesight, it’s much better to be safe than sorry. Before rushing to the doctor, follow these steps to make it easier and help prevent infection.
If you want to give your cat something to scratch besides your eyeballs, we recommend one of these great cat scratching posts!
Featured Image Credit: Khairil Azhar Junos, Shutterstock