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31.08.2022

Persian cat eyes—the usual problems and ways to handle them

A flat face is one of the features that make Persian cats unmistakably recognisable. Many feline admirers find it captivating, but it's also the cause of several health issues, including eye problems. For this reason, Persian cats need more care than many other cat breeds.

To help you take excellent care of your kitty, Untamed explains all about Persian cat eyes. You will learn what eye problems typically haunt these kitties, how to handle such issues, and how to keep your furry friend’s immune system strong with a good diet.

Why does the flat face cause eye problems in cats?

The flattened face everyone loves is the cause of all the problems with Persian cat eyes.

Source: Irene Lasus

Persian cats have a brachycephalic head shape. The characteristics of brachycephaly in felines include a more rounded head and a reduced face and skull length caused by an inherited developmental defect of their skull bones.

There are four brachycephalic head shapes that signify the severity of the deformity:

  1. I category—mild
  2. II category—moderate
  3. III category—profound
  4. IV category—extreme

The more extreme the deformity, the greater the risk of health problems. Affected felines can experience numerous niggles, including:

  • Discomfort and distress
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Restricted activity
  • Reduced quality of life

Felines with flattened faces can also develop numerous severe medical conditions, such as:

  • Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BAOS)—This condition causes respiratory problems
  • Maxillary dorsorotation—This disorder is characterised by the rotation of the upper jaw upwards, which can cause serious dental problems
  • Brachygnathism—It’s another jaw abnormality characterised by a short top jaw that also leads to gum and teeth problems
  • Eye problems—A flat face typically implies underdeveloped tear ducts, which leads to excessive tearing and improper drainage, resulting in frequent eye infections

Persian cat eye problems

Your Persian can suffer from many eye problems, but they are manageable. 

Source: hazan aköz ışık

The most common congenital eye conditions in Persian cats include:

  1. Epiphora
  2. Exophthalmos
  3. Ankyloblepharon 
  4. Entropion
  5. Primary glaucoma

Epiphora

Epiphora occurs when the nasolacrimal duct doesn't function properly. This condition prevents a Persian cat's tears from draining normally, and since they must find their way out, they stream onto the kitty's face, wetting and staining the fur.

The constant moisture irritates the skin around the eyes and causes skin folding, which creates a perfect breeding ground for viruses, fungi, and bacteria.

If you notice a discoloured discharge from your Persian's eyes and their eyes look red and inflamed, you must take your kitty to the vet. They will determine the specific cause of the infection and prescribe suitable medication.

Exophthalmos

Exophthalmos is a condition characterised by eyeball protrusion, which causes the eye to sit in the socket in an abnormal position. In such cases, it seems as if the Persian's eyes will pop out of the socket, but they are not actually enlarged. 

Although exophthalmos is not a severe condition, it increases the risk of:

  • Corneal ulcers—a painful and uncomfortable condition that can lead to partial vision loss
  • Corneal sequestra—areas of dead corneal cells that appear as dark pigmented patches on the surface of a feline's eye (other names are corneal nigrum, corneal mummification, and corneal necrosis)

Ankyloblepharon

Blue-eyed Persians are stunning, but their eyes are even more sensitive.

Source: Asim Raza Khan

Ankyloblepharon is a congenital abnormality that typically affects Persians with blue eyes. Felines with this condition can have a partial or complete fusion of the upper and lower eyelids by a web of skin. In cases of complete ankyloblepharon, the accumulation of tears can cause the formation of cysts.

Surgery may be necessary if the fusion obstructs vision too much.

Entropion

Entropion occurs when the eyelids and eyelashes turn inward and irritate the cat's cornea. The inversion of the eyelid edge is the consequence of the flattened face and causes constant eye irritation, which leads to excessive tearing, inflammation, and infections. The continual lacerations to the feline's eyes can lead to permanent corneal damage.

Affected Persians typically have narrowed eyes and corneal vascularisation that causes ulcerations. Surgical treatment is often necessary in such cases.

Primary glaucoma

Primary glaucoma is generally a rare condition in felines and is typically the result of anatomical abnormalities of the eye. It happens due to a defective drainage apparatus that doesn't allow normal fluid outflow, affecting both eyes. The kitty's vision is blurred, or they lose sight entirely. Your cat may need medicinal drops or surgery, depending on the severity of the case.

Besides Persians, this condition most commonly affects Burmese and Siamese cats. The usual symptoms include:

  • Spasm of the eyelids
  • Obvious eye discomfort
  • Discharge
  • Corneal oedema (bluish-white colour of the eye)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Enlarged eyeballs
  • Eye redness

How can you take care of your Persian cat’s eyes?

Persian cats need their eyes cleaned daily.

Source: EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA

Excessive tearing of your Persian cat's eyes demands daily cleaning and care. Since you already need to groom your kitty every day, you can include eye cleaning in the routine.

The good news is you don't need any special supplies for this. Some warm water and cotton pads will suffice, but try to find lint-free cotton pads because fluff may irritate your kitty's eyes. You can buy cleaning solutions, such as a saline wash, but they are usually unnecessary and can even irritate your Persian's already sensitive eyes.

The cleaning procedure is also pretty simple. The easiest way is to approach your kitty from behind. You can sit on the floor, place your Persian between your legs with their face outward, and gently lift their head upward. Once you do it, you should:

  1. Gently sweep the undereye area with the dampened cotton pad going from the inner eye outward and never touching the eye itself
  2. Clean the skin folds on the face as well (if your kitty has them)
  3. Dry the cleaned areas with a dry cotton pad so there is no moisture left
  4. Always use clean pads when you move between the eyes to avoid spreading potential infections
  5. Reward your Persian for being patient 
  6. Repeat daily (if your kitty experiences extreme tearing, you may even want to do it a few times a day)

Inspect the pads before you toss them. The Persian cat eye discharge should be clear or pinkish, while old tear staining is usually a brown shade. Yellow and green discharge is typically a sign of infection, which warrants a vet's attention.

Repeating this procedure every day will prevent or eliminate staining on the fur, so you won't need to invest in expensive cleaning products.

The best diet for your Persian cat

If I can’t have a single day without you brushing and cleaning me, at least I want to eat like the royalty I am.

Source: Dmitriy Piskarev

Besides hereditary conditions, your Persian cat's eye problems could be the result of other medical conditions, such as:

All of these health problems are usually the consequence of poor nutrition, which is why you should always invest in high-quality food. Kitties as sensitive as Persians require a well-balanced diet to be healthy and have an efficient immune response that can handle frequent eye infections and other conditions.

When it comes to feeding your Persian, you have to ensure they get controlled portions of food that meets their dietary requirements. It means that you can choose any type of food you like—wet, dry, semi-moist, B.A.R.F., or homemade—but ensure it has suitable quantities of:

  1. Animal protein
  2. Animal fat

High-protein diet

Like all other felines, Persian cats need a lot of animal protein. A diet based on this nutrient is the closest to what they would naturally eat. Meat and fish deliver all the vitamins and minerals a cat needs, as well as essential amino acids that felines need for:

  • Maintaining normal energy levels
  • Building strong muscles
  • Maintaining normal organ function
  • Having healthy eyes, teeth, skin, and coat
  • Ensuring efficient immune response

Below are the three most important amino acids your kitty gets by consuming animal protein and their effects on a feline’s health:

Amino acid

Why it’s important

Taurine

Critical for:

  • Normal vision
  • Digestion
  • Heart function
  • Immune system
  • Healthy pregnancy and foetal development

Lysine

Necessary for normal eye function and respiratory health. It helps manage:

  • Watery eyes
  • Inflamed eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose

Arginine

Helps eliminate ammonia from the organism through urine, thus preventing:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Vomiting
  • Ataxia
  • Hyperesthesia
  • Coma

The importance of animal fat

Animal fat delivers healthy fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid, crucial for brain and eye development.

Fat also hydrates the skin and helps with the prevention of hairballs and ingested hair elimination through the gastrointestinal system. This is particularly important for Persian cats, as they are long-haired. Their hairballs may become too large to pass through the intestinal tract and cause blockage, which can end fatally.

Recommended sources and quantities of nutrients in cat food

Meat or fish must be the number one ingredient in the cat food you choose for your Persian.

Image (c) Untamed

Here is the perfect protein-to-fat ratio and an acceptable quantity of carbs in the food you pick for your Persian cat:

Macronutrients

Recommended quantities

Sources

Animal protein

At least 50%

Animal fat

No more than 20%

Carbs

Less than 3%

Keep your Persian healthy with Untamed

Untamed meals provide all your Persian needs to be healthy.

Our recipes are made with what felines naturally eat in mind, and we steer clear of all known allergens and other unwanted ingredients.

Every Untamed tin is:

The fussiest kitties have approved our dishes, so order Untamed now—we guarantee your Persian friend won't sniff their food bowl and leave our wet meals uneaten.

How to order Untamed for your kitty

Untamed meals are just a few clicks away.

Image (c) Untamed

Your Persian can start enjoying delicious Untamed meals almost immediately. All you should do is:

  1. Take our Try Now quiz
  2. Choose the products you like
  3. Place the order

The trial pack will be at your doorstep after a day, and your Persian can choose the flavours they like best. We can then keep sending you monthly supplies so you never run out of healthy meals for your bestie.

Once you switch your kitty to Untamed wet food, you can expect the following results:

  1. After one week—Easy digestion, a tidy litter tray, and a better mood
  2. After two months—Reduced shedding, fewer hairballs, and luscious fur
  3. Within four months—Clear eyes, lean body, and no gastrointestinal issues
  4. Life-long—Easy weight control, healthy eating habits, and improved overall health