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Kitten with eyes matted shut. Need low-cost solution

We have a small kitten that stays outside-(all our cats do-we haven’t been able to catch them yet for shots or anything-) his mother brought him to the food first about 2 weeks ago. We think he is about 3-4 months old.

We noticed his eyes were matted shut and we were able to catch him and cleaned them with a warm wet cloth, but it was Sunday and the vet was closed, so we turned him loose. We didn’t see him for a week-then he heard me outside and ran to me. His eyes were again matted shut-I cleaned them and we have continued to do so several times a day, but he very seldom opens his eyes and when he does they are very red.

He has stayed on the porch at the food and water-I guess cause he has finally found it! We called the vet and they want $70 just to look at him-my husband won’t pay it-they only want $20 to put him to sleep (the cat-not my husband-all though..) if he doesn’t get better we will have to do that.

Can you help???


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42 Responses to “Kitten with eyes matted shut. Need low-cost solution”

  1. Beth says:

    Unfortunately, discharge from the eyes can be an indication of an upper respiratory infection. Cats don’t typically cough, but when they have a URI, they tend to have greenish/yellow discharge from they eyes or nose and often sneeze. They do NOT have to be exhibiting signs of all three in order to have an infection. The cat could also have a chronic infection such as herpes. There is no way to tell for sure what is going on with the kitten without an exam. If it is a URI, then any other pets you have are susceptible. URI’s are typically very contagious. Also, if this kitten has not had any vaccines, there is a high likelihood that it may have one of the more common afflictions that cats typically get vaccinated for or it could be suffering from something more severe such as FIP or Feline Leukemia. This kitten could be suffering from something mild or very severe and needs to see a vet to address the concerns. Even if you ultimately decide to euthanize it, the best course of action is to assume it it highly contagious unless proven otherwise by the vet.

  2. Evan says:

    I am going through the exact same thing with one of the alley stray kittens. She is the runt and her eyes were glued shut. She was waiting for me to get home to help her. After I got her eyes open I could see she was very sick. I took her to the vet and she had URI, 102 degree fever, fleas, worms, and she was extremely dehydrated. The vet gave her fluids under her skin, put Advantage on her, and gave me penicillin, eye drops, and worming medication to give her. The vet was very kind and only charged me $133 for all that. After only one day she make remarkable progress. She felt well enough to roll over on her back and beg for belly rubs! It seemed like a hard thing to do at the time, charge $133 on my card for a kitten that was not mine, but I’m happy I did. She is a little cutie. I know I have to take her back for more shots and tests.

  3. this cat has yellow discharge coming from both eyes, which are matted shut every morning, This moring (Sunday) she in not playful and don’t seem like herself. Now I am afraid something is wrong with her.

  4. Linda says:

    I would take her in first thing Monday morning. Your cat needs to be seen right away. It may be just a cold but for cats this can quickly turn into something life endangering.

    Best Wishes,

  5. Melinda says:

    ok what really makes me mad is we donate to the spca every year no matter how many times but then they expect US to pay the bills on unwanted pets that are found and are sick… I have several with the matted eyes and I just keep cleaning them.. I feed and take care of all kinds of unwanted pets that show up at my house… I know one thing I will NOT be donating anymore money to any of those so call organizations… Boy this all makes me mad… There has to be some kind of home remeady(sp) that you can wash their eyes with… has to be…

  6. roni says:

    To clean a kitten’s infected eyes, brew one teabag worth of tea. Don’t add sugar, of course. Dip a corner of a soft clean cloth into the tea while it’s still lukewarm, and don’t squeeze it out much. Swab one eye, then use a different corner and do the other. Store the tea in anything with a lid and keep it in the fridge. Warm just enough for one use at a time.

    or a solution of epsom salts and water; epsom salt can be found at CVS, Giant, etc….comes in a box or bag….directions on how to mix it on container.

  7. paul says:

    I understand your frustration melinda,I,ve found myself in a similar situation.under another vets advice I purchase some medical eye drops for cats “neomycin polymxin B sulfates & dexamethasone ophthalmic” 1 drop each eye twice daily. It cleared right up. For about $10.00

  8. tina says:

    I have lived on a dairy most of my life and have had alot of cats.Everytime we found one with matted eyes my uncle witch is a vet always took a little can of pets evaporated milk and dropped a drop in each eye after he bathed them open..and did at least once a day….and they were fine……

  9. Cat Lover says:

    I have had farm cats all my life and it is common for a new litter of kittens to have “crusty” eyes. A solution I have always used with great success is to use a CLEAN warm pretty damp wash cloth – (no soap of course!) to wash the eyes as often as needed. Do not use the same one or at least same spot on the rag on all kittens.

  10. Cat Lover says:

    I have had farm cats all my life and it is common for a new litter of kittens to have “crusty” eyes. A solution I have always used with great success is to use a CLEAN warm pretty damp wash cloth – (no soap of course!) to wash the eyes as often as needed. Do not use the same one or at least same spot on the rag on all kittens.
    After washing the eyes, take iodized table salt and put a tiny bit in the pouth of each kitten. There is something about the salt that is very healing to cats! They will fuss a bit but it works miracles – I have NEVER lost a kitten when treated this way.
    In really extreme difficult cases, I have had to repeat this multiple times with larger litters and change the blankets used for bedding and disinfect the area where Momma has the kittens hidden if possible.
    Thanks Roni for the teabag tip — I will try that the next time I have a difficult litter.

  11. Cat Lover says:


    I have had farm cats all my life and it is common for a new litter of kittens to have “crusty” eyes. A solution I have always used with great success is to use a CLEAN, warm, pretty damp, wash cloth – (no soap of course!) to wash the eyes as often as needed. Do not cross contaminate by using the same wash rag or at least same spot on the rag for all kittens.

    After washing the eyes, take regular iodized table salt and put a tiny pinch in the mouth of each kitten. There is something about the salt that is very healing to cats! They will fuss a bit but it works miracles! We do not take all of our “farm cats” to the vet and I have NEVER lost a kitten when treated this way.

    In really extreme difficult cases, I have had to repeat this multiple times with large litters, in addition to changing the blankets used as bedding and disinfect the area where Momma Cat has the kittens hidden (if possible).

    Thanks Roni for the teabag tip — I will try that the next time I have a difficult litter.

    Another Tip: My Mother-in-law makes her farm cats gravy from any left over cooking grease / broth (such as from fried chicken, a roast or turkey) during the winter months and adds a bit of Garlic Salt (garlic is a known natural healer). She swears that this keeps her cats healthier and helps to makes their coats fuller and shinier all winter.

  12. Stacy says:

    I live in Iowa and have a ton of strays that show up from time to time. Some I have had to nurse and the vet bill alone would have caused me to roll over. Living in rural areas you learn a bit…If you have a Farm Supply store you can pick up pennicilin (spelled wrong sorry) Then I go to my local pharmacy and ask them to order really small insulin shot needles. If you can do the math on the pen. bottle and adjust it for the cats size it helps a lot and there is no appt needed.

  13. Misty says:

    I just moved into a house with 7 strays living under the porch, 3 of them were kittens. All were so ferel I couldn’t get within 3 ft before they would jet back under my house. After about 3 weeks all the cats had disappeared (I think my neighbor had something to do with it) except for one little white fur ball kitten and she was so sick and malnurished my 7 yr old son caught her without even trying and I have been looking for a home remedy solution for a while now because vets charge too much. Her eyes are pretty bad and everyone keeps saying I should just have her put down but after feeding her and getting her comfortable with being inside she is just the cutest thing with such personality! Tomorrow I’m going to try the tea bag remedy and I just gave her a pinch of salt so hopefully her eyes clear up because that seems to be the only issue now…she’s currently attacking my fingers as I type so I know she FEELS better, I just need to get her seeing better! Thanks for the home remedies! Its so irritating when you ask for FREE or CHEAP remedies and everyones first response is the most expensive (vet)! This has been the most helpful forum! 🙂

  14. Julia Ray says:

    Just done the tea bag trick and then followed with the salt…..hoping it works….cat has been playful and eats and drinks so thinking it is just the matted eye thing. My son picked the cat because it was pretty and felt sorry for it…so hope this works…if not we will take it to the vet. Will anyway for shots…thanks for the tips

  15. tim says:

    The warm tea works just fine. for what about 5 cents cash?

  16. Isabel de los rios Blog says:

    Thanks for the post! I guess we owe you a lot of hard candy 🙂

  17. Carla says:

    I’ve had success with washing eyes daily for minor runny eyes and the tea wash method for mild to moderate infectionsl. But for the bad ones – where kitten’s/cat’s eyes are full of discharge and closed – the cure all is garlic. Squeeze a clove or two of garlic in a garlic press and catch the juice in a small container. Place a drop or two in infected eye twice a day for 5 days or until eyes are consistantly clear. It does sting a bit – they will fuss over it, but garlic is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic, I place it in my own eyes when they are red and itchy from allergies or colds.
    Anyway, it’s a dirt cheap cure I’ve had success with – safe and all natural and certainly worth trying before you break the bank at the vet’s office.

  18. lisa says:

    hello my cat has recently had four kittens a few days old….I don’t think she has had any injections due to she was a stray when we got her… out of four kittens has their eyes matted shut….. reading all of this has really got me worried, the mother has being panting but it is due to her being tired hot and dehydrated so i have being continuously changing her water, milk and food and ventilating my room that she is staying in…..all the other kittens seem fine though I hope it’s nothing serious 🙁

  19. Amber says:

    The tea works wonders!! Cleared up the matting overnight!!

  20. Lisa says:

    A lot of times for an infected eye, a vet will give you a tube of triple antibiotic opthalamic ointment. You can bypass an office visit, exam, etc etc and just buy it from a company like pet meds. (It’s around $40-50 not the cheapest, but for cases when home remedies don’t do the trick…)

    As for a fairly cheap home remedy for minor infections, you can flush the eye 2-3 times a day with a saline solution like what you would use to wash and store contact lenses. (I’m doing that now with a micro runt kitten.)

  21. Lisa says:


    Make sure the contact solution is plain saline. Or use artificial tears. (I get the contack solution for the bigger bottle.)

  22. Nancy Nelson says:

    So many good ideas to try. Also from a dairy farm with a couple batches of kittens each year. Always, there is some infection in the eyes….reddish, watery, sometimes glued shut or partially shut. Glad I found this page but a bit hesitant to use salt water? Will make it very dilute to begin and take it from there. Thanks to everyone.

  23. jennifer thompson says:

    Thank you all so much for such good advice.
    Keep in mind and be prepared for those of you that have not had much experience with mysterious eye issues.
    Years ago, I knew of a litter of kittens and they were not being taken care of. One day I walked up to property and a ktten with a very red large eye came up to me. A friend of mine and I held him to start washing. After a few minutes as the eye started to open up. BOOM out came a fox tail that had consumed his whole eye. =(
    Poor little guy AND TO ALL ANIMALS EVERYWHERE (I wish they could read)
    I wish more people would realize no animal can say “Hey, I don’t want to picked up right now, my tummy hurts.” OR “MOM!! I was in a scuffle on the roof and something happened to my eye.” (like mine tried to do last night as I “didn’t” pay attention.
    I wish they could tell us in “english” what is up. I know they talk AND i speak their lanuage, but it takes longer than words.
    I know I just rambled on, but that’s all for now.
    Again thank you


    Hi there….

    i jus got 4 beautifl kittens sadly my 1 kitty jus 3weeks old his eyes has been closed with mucus inside i have been wiping him with warm water but it doesnt help im going to try the tea bag tip thanks a million guys :
    ) i pray it helps him !

    Take care all

  25. jasmine says:

    i found this poor little kitten in the alley and i saw that it had discharge in its eyes… so now im taking care of him. he still has discharge in his eyes:( for the warm towel and seasalt couldnt i just use regular salt?

  26. Teresa katlyn Reid says:

    Not a dime left over after taking all my cats (jackpot,lucky, UGGIE and ChaCha) in for checkup-current shots-frontline-now have one w/matt in eyes-
    Sound scary! @
    All remedies sound scary to me! GARLIC IN THE EYE
    , !

  27. Julie says:


  28. Amy says:

    ok…. so how contagious is this? I have left my parents house and currently living on own. But i offten go out there as my dog is still on their farm (outdoor dog off farm doesn’t do well in town). Currently we have lost one kitten last week. I thought it had gotten into something as we had jsut gotten new hay and dust might have gotten in his eyes. no he actualy died with in 24 hrs of me trying to help him (sunday=closed vets) my mother just informed me that now most of his litter mates (guessing since no one momma is takking care of them) have it now too. they are all wild. and now there are some new kittens. will this only effect the kittens since they are young and their emune systems are low? or will it effect the adults also….. will it hurt my dog (who lives in a different barn than the majority of the cats)? I dont think it will harm the livestock because of thier size…. I have looked at all the remedys given. most that you have to hold on to them for i could only do to a handful and they are adults. the rest are wild. the broth and garlic salt is a good idea but was wondering if there was something more redaly available in lareg quantities that the garlic salt could be on (like cat food?)or if the broth is also a plus. I want to thank all for this blog thing… it realy helpful. and jsut so everyone knows. we have rats, coons, mice, owls etc on the farm hence why we let the cats produce. we also live on a highway with corn fields and trees around so there lot of space for them. and we whe used to have 4 toms we now got it so we only have 1 so we didnt’ have mommas getting pregnant so fast when they just had a litter.

  29. shelley says:

    Garlic can kill a cat!! Never use garlic on a cat or feed it to them. Yes it’s all natural, but it is not safe for cats at all. It can shut they’re whole system down. You need to do your research instead of listening to these people, before you kill your pet!!

  30. Regina says:

    garlic WILL NOT kill a cat! i’ve been using it on mine for yrs and they are still alive! thanks everyone else for the info!

  31. Michelle says:

    I have had great success with washing infected kitten eyes out with Johnsons and Johnsons ORIGINAL baby shampoo (the yellow soap). My vet had me do this with a litter of kittens with matted eyes and it works great. I usually dilute it a little with a small amount of water and flush the eyes twice a day.

  32. louise says:

    thank u for the really useful tea bag tip . i have just been out side and treated the kittens and given the pinch of salt . I still have four kittens to do when they swing by for their supper . My question is .. how often do you do the pinch of salt ? I have already just done the ear mite treatment, flea treatment and de wormer . which gets repeated in 3 weeks . Got to stay on top of this very easy and cheap task :)\

  33. Willian says:

    “…purchase some medical eye drops for cats “neomycin polymxin B sulfates & dexamethasone ophthalmic”

    This is apparently a controlled medication and you can’t get it without a prescription. The vets require that you bring the cat in for an office visit.

    You can buy Terramycin ointment over the counter — but have you ever tried to apply an ointment to a cat’s eyeball? Sheesh.

    Guess I’ll try the teabag route. Darn shame we can’t buy something effective for farm cats.

  34. Joanne says:

    Garlic is classified as a species of the Allium family. Other species in the Allium family include onions, shallots, leeks, chives and rakkyo (otherwise known as the Chinese onion).

    Unfortunately, dogs and cats cannot digest these particular plants as we can. The ingestion of Allium species in dogs and cats causes a condition called hemolytic anemia, which is characterized by the bursting of red blood cells circulating through your pet’s body.

    Ingestion can also lead to gastroenteritis, also known as an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, causing stomach pain.

  35. Julie says:

    Garlic and other Allium plants CAN cause hemolytic anemia in cats and is not generally used. However, garlic is NOT toxic to dogs, holistic vets actually recommend it. You just have to work them up to the proper dosage for their weight.

    For eye problems in all animals & humans-use goldenseal root. It’s a herb, sold at health food stores in bulk & almost everywhere as teabags. Make some tea and once cooled (can be warm), use cotton balls to clean the eye area. DO NOT DOUBLE DIP THE COTTON BALL AND ONLY USE ON ONE EYE. After the eye is open you can put some of the fresh tea in as drops. Refrigerate leftovers in a sealed container, may settle but just shake it and reheat before using again. Look it up-it’s supremely healthy for EVERYONE. I’ve had up to 27 cats, 3 dogs, approx. 100 raccoons, a few possums, squirrels, birds, and a one eyed guinea pig. I treat them mostly by myself with the help of the Internet. Some good herbal websites are:,, A great website for natural home care for people & animals is Hope this helps all!

  36. Brittany says:

    Two years ago I struggled with three farm cat litters all having the matted shut eyes, and even after going out three times a day and cleaning them all every single one of the kittens died. I talked with an elderly neighbor who told me to go to the farm supply store and get a bottle of penicillin and a dropper, and to put some in the bad eyes of all the kittens. And this last year they all lived.

  37. Carolynn says:

    The neomycin etc. ointment is sold with or without the above mentioned dexamethazone. Dexamethazone is a steroid and can cause serious problems if there is a scratch on the suface of the eye (corneal abrasion). This ointment is prescription only. The neomycin ointment comes without the steroid -much cheaper and much, much safer.
    We need to remember that drug resistant bacteria is a huge problem.If we want these meds to continue to be effective *follow the complete instructions for all antibiotics!
    Also, you might want to look up ‘feline herpes virus. Treatment.’

  38. Tom S. says:

    The posts about garlic are dangerous!
    For 3 generations my family in Florida has used garlic for insects that bite. Ticks, fleas, skeeters, flies, worms and anything else that eats us or the pets will be reluctant on a body that has regularly eats garlic. However, when we gave some to our family member Goldie (cat) a few years ago, he almost died and has had serious problems ever since. Garlic is NOT consistent in animals.

  39. Chasity P. says:

    I have 3 kittens the oldest male is 8mnths the youngest are about 12wks a male and a female. they are not related in any way, they came from totally different litters. The 12wk old male is very sick. He has matted eyes, squirting watery stool, lethargic, and has lost wieght . I don’t have any money to take them to a vet at all.

  40. Chasity P. says:

    {my post continued}; I have some liquid penicillin that was left over from my son when he was sick. If antibiotics are needed could I cut the antibiotics into a fraction of a dose for the kittens ? Now my 12wk old female is getting sick. I have wormed her once but the 12wk old male has only been treated for round worms. Is there a home remedy for worms? If anybody knows anything that can help please let me know. They are so sick

  41. Chris J says:

    My vet told me to use the large tube of Safe-guard dewormer that I use on my horses to worm my dogs and cats. Just a little depending on the size of the pet. I usually give the cats 1/4 inch from the tube, and for dogs 1/2″up to 3/4″ depending on their size for 3 days in a row. Been doing it for years.

  42. Sarah says:

    I live out in the country and people drop off animals. That’s why we have so many cats. One had a litter and 2 of them died. We had 3 left. They were all starting to get crusty eyes, but the poor little runt got hit the worst. Both of her eyes were matted shut. I’ve been cleaning with just warm water, a saline solution, and the tea method. But today, I can’t find the runt at all. She’s so tiny and was so sick that I’m not sure she’s even alive anymore… I wish I could take them to the vet, but we just can’t afford it.

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