Miles’ Accident (when cats get litter in their eyes)

Disclaimer: I’m about to give some advice in this blog post; however, my advice is just what I was instructed to do in my particular circumstances…use at your own risk, in an emergency, and call your vet immediately after! I just want to share what I learned since I had a problem finding info on this topic when I needed it.

For the full story, see below.

If you came here because your cat somehow managed to get litter in their eyes right now, here is what I was told to do:

– Get a human helper to hold the cat

– Obtain a means for squirting water into the cat’s eyes. I used a 50ml syringe (obviously w/o the needle tip). Anything very clean that hasn’t been used for any chemicals would work…worst case scenario, you could probably just use a cup of water.

– Hold cat on its side

– Flush the available eye with water (I used a full 50 ml of room temp water for each eye, plus another 25ml in each for good measure after a minute of letting the cat rest)

– Switch to the other side, repeat

– Continue until you’ve gotten as much out as possible

– If there is enough litter in there, it will clump up in the corner of the eye, and then you can carefully pull it out

– Be sure the cat does NOT rub their eyes until you’ve gotten everything out…they can scratch the eye

– If you can’t get everything out, or if your cat’s eyes water very badly, or if they seem to be irritating the cat, head to the vet or animal hospital immediately!

Now, for the full story:

This freak accident occurred about two weeks ago and I was fortunate enough to be sitting in the room at the time, and I witnessed the event. Two of our litter mats look like this:


Pardon the messiness, but you’ll hear why it’s messy in a second. Miles likes to use these mats as scratching mats…those little plastic nubs must massage his feet  or something. Anyway, Miles was picking the mat as usual when his nail got stuck. To remove it, he yanked his foot away from the mat. His nail was loosened from the mat, but the litter mat proceeded to fly in the air directly at him. It would have been kind of hilarious, except it dumped all the litter from that mat on him…including in his eyes.

He scurried off, blinking furiously. I yelled to Jimmy, we caught him and brought him into the kitchen (better lighting). It was pretty bad…you could see all the litter in his eyes…gray globs were forming in the corners of his eyes, but were too deep to pull out.

Obviously, my first thought was to rinse his eyes…but then…this is kitty litter…clumping kitty litter…it clumps when wet…Will adding water make it worse? What about that extra eyelid cats have? Is the process for flushing out a cat’s eyes the same as a human? Further, will flushing even *get* all of it or do we need to go to the emergency room?

Quick online search results in NO useful information.

Thankfully, I have a magnet on my fridge for the Animal Emergency & Critical Care Center which is open even at 9pm. They answered the phone quickly and gave me the instructions listed above. They told me to act quickly, and if the cat wouldn’t hold still or if I couldn’t get all of it, to bring the cat in. They were calm and informative. And since I didn’t have to go there, their advice was free. I’ve previously given them a bunch of money for both Harree and Lefty, so I didn’t feel bad about this. :p

We followed their instructions. Fortunately, I have a nice collection of sterile syringes thanks to the vet distributing them liberally when I need to give the cats medicine.



Miles was SUPER. Sure, he cried and struggled a bit, but both Jimmy & I came out unscathed…hardly any scratches. He was a superb and very trusting patient. We flushed his eyes three times with 50 ml in each. We managed to pull out a good size clump from one of his eyes, as well.

Immediately after, his eyes were a bit red and a tiny bit watery, but they looked clean, clear and didn’t appear to be bothering him at all. We kept a close eye on him for the rest of the evening, and week. I also kept doing various things to test his vision. Surprisingly, despite his ordeal in the bathroom, Miles did not hide from us as I had expected. He was back to normal only a few minutes after.

He’s currently doing wonderful. 🙂 I’m thinking about replacing those litter mats with the other kind we have, and then cleaning the mats he likes and letting him use those as pick posts.



3 thoughts on “Miles’ Accident (when cats get litter in their eyes)

  1. Hello, I stumbled into your article as it was the only one I found regarding this particular type of incident. This morning I was scooping crystal litter and my cat (a scottish fold) with big beautiful eyes was hanging around and suddenly started squealing and held both paws to his right eye and looked like he was trying to get something out of his right eye which remained completely shut. I had the good intuition to grab my bottles of hydrating tear drops and with some help was able to get 2 tear drops into his eye abt 10 minutes after the incident. He started squealing and scratching at his eye again. When I opened his right eye it was bloodshot red, swollen and the third eyelid was shut closed, with no pupil visible. I had to wait abt 45 minutes to take the cat to the vet as they opened only at 8:30 am. At that point he was able to open his right eye a little more but there was NO pupil. At the vet they completely flushed his right eye under the effect of mild laughing gas, they prescribed an antibacterial ointment and asked me to keep using my eyedrops on him as apparently that has been very helpful. They also said he should be completely recovered by about a week but to bring him back in 3 days if I didn’t see any clear improvement as they couldn’t open the third eyelid which seemed to indicate possible eye injury. On the way back home he could open both eyes, the right eye only midway with a partly visible pupil and part of the third eyelid visible too and very pink in colour. A few hours later his eye turned cloudy though opened a little more, almost to normal size. I am just curious how long did it take your cat to completely recover. Visually from the pic he seems perfectly fine, but did he display hazy eyes before recovery and a visible third eyelid? I am just curious as really worried about my cat and hoping that he will recover by 100% his previous vision and looks. Thank!


    • I’m so sorry this happened to your kitty. 😦 Miles had no haziness or a visible third eye. His eyes were red, puffy and bloodshot for a couple days, but nothing more. I would give your vet a call as soon as you can, and see if the haziness is expected and then they can advise you on whether or not you should bring him in again. Good luck! I wish your kitty a full recovery.


  2. This has happen to my cat 3 times now. The first time I was out of town my husband called and told that the cat would not open one eye. I contacted my daughter who would be in the neighborhood later and told her to use my contact saline solution to wash is eye, as it used to be her cat. The next day he was fine. It just happened for the third time. When I woke in the morning he was digging at his eye. I quickly got the solution , wrapped him in a blanket with just his head exposed and flushed his eye. Later that evening he had some goober so I flushed again. I flushed one more time before bed. Today he is fine. Though if not he would have gone to the vet. The solution I use is just saline, easier on the eye than water.


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