All About Cats’ Third Eyelid

Thanks to this membrane, felines protect their eyes from bumps, dirt, particles, bacteria and other microorganisms. 
All about the third eyelid of cats

In addition to their undisputed beauty, cats’ eyes have some striking features. One is that they have a nictitating membrane that, in most cases, is not visible. Today, we’ll tell you some details about the third eyelid of cats.

Data on the nictitating membrane of cats

With this type of ‘invisible screen’, also called the  third eyelid, cats keep their eyes well cared for and protected from trauma, dirt and unwanted particles. 

In addition, the nictitating membrane produces tears and substances that help them fight bacteria and other microorganisms.

If you are very observant, you may notice the third eyelid when your kitten is about to fall asleep.

Between the two eyelids, you will see that white tissue appears which, when he is awake, is only minimally seen in the inner corner of his eye.

However,  this membrane remaining virtually invisible is a good sign. If you start to see her beyond what’s considered normal, it’s certainly a sign that something isn’t right with your four-legged friend.

membrana nictitante em gatinho com olho infeccionado

When to worry about the  third eyelid

A cat’s third eyelid may appear in one or both of the kitten’s eyes. In the first case, it is very likely that the animal has suffered an injury or has a foreign object in the eyeball.

If the nictitating membrane protrudes from both eyes, the cat is more likely to be ill.

The visibility of the third eyelid can be a symbol of multiple diseases, from a simple conjunctivitis to a more serious one.

In any case, an urgent visit to the veterinarian will help determine the cause of the problem and indicate the appropriate treatment.

And the sooner you act, the better the chances of your kitten’s quick recovery.

Cats’ Third Eyelid Related Diseases

As we said, there are  several diseases that can cause the  third eyelid to come  into the picture. And not all of them have a direct relationship with your cat’s eyes. Among them : 

  • Conjunctivitis. Under these circumstances, you will also notice swelling, watering and redness in your eyes.
  • Haw Syndrome. The nictitating membrane appears when the animal has or has suffered from intestinal problems (such as diarrhea or parasites).
  • Cancer. Unfortunately, this tissue can also be affected by cancer cells.

cats eyes

On the other hand,  if a cat suffers from severe dehydration, the third eyelid can also be visualized. 

In this case, it is more than likely that the animal has a serious condition such as kidney failure.

Also,  some breeds have a genetic predisposition for this membrane to appear in their eyes, which causes discomfort. It happens, for example, to the Burmese cat.

Treatments to follow

As we have seen,  the causes of this membrane taking up more space than it should in the kitten’s eye are varied. For this reason, the solutions are also diverse.

In the simplest cases, the application of eye drops will certainly be a more than sufficient solution. Sometimes some drugs will have to be administered. And, in the case of more serious problems, some kind of surgery may be necessary.

The important thing is that you pay attention to your kitten to detect any signs that something is wrong so that you can quickly take him to the veterinarian’s office.

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