The cross-eyed condition in cats is mostly genetic and is also called strabismus.
This occurs on each opposite side of the eyeball when the muscles attached to them are not on the same length. Additionally, it makes the eyeballs slide from top to bottom or side to side.
However, in certain cases, one muscle may be longer or stronger than the one on the opposite side of the eye, this causes the eyeball to deviate off the correct direction. If the eyes deviate towards the nose, the cat is cross-eyed
Cross Eyes in Cats, Is it Serious?
Strabismus is a visual problem in which the eyes point in different directions in cats when not aligned properly.
One eye may look straight ahead, while the other eye turns inward, outward, upward, or downward.
The cat-eye can be straight sometimes and or be misaligned.
Which Cat Breeds are affected by Crossed Eyes?
Cross-eyed can affect any cats with injury, nerve damage, or due to genetics. Particularly, it is more in some cats like Siamese, Persian and Himalayan cat breeds common in Boston Terriers due to genetics.
In Siamese cats, the eyeballs may deviate inwards towards the nose. This is called medial or convergent strabismus. It gives them their trademark “cross-eyed” appearance.
Additionally, if the cats’ eyeballs deviate outward, away from the nose it is called divergent strabismus.
Causes of Crossed Eyes in Cats
Cats can suffer from crossed eyes due to nerve damage, injury, or genetics.
Not only is Strabismus often mild but also can go unnoticed until a closer look at the cats’ eyes is performed. Cats with cross-eye may exhibit dizziness due to injury or nerve damage, and the deviated eye movement will often be very noticeable.
Due to Injury
Cats suffering from inflammation or trauma may experience crossed eye as the muscle mobility of the eye becomes restricted due to scarred tissue.
Unquestionably, disease or injury can also cause sudden changes of eye positioning as eye movement is controlled by small muscles. This allows side to side and up and down motion.
Nevertheless, when one of these muscles is stretched out or too strong, or if the nerves that control the muscles are damaged, the abnormal direction of the eye occurs. This is referred to as a “strabismus”.
The majority of convergent strabismus cases are due to genetics and are harmless to the cat. Importantly, crossed eyes may appear at birth or develop later in the cats’ life. Clearly, cross-eyed in cats can be inherited or can be brought about by abnormal crossing of visual fibers in the central nervous system.
Despite this, cats who are born with convergent strabismus generally adjust to the condition on their own and enjoy a good quality of life.
If a cat also has serious underlying problems it can develop crossed eyes as adults hence check with your vet for proper diagnosis. Regardless, some of these problems causing the cross-eye condition are treatable.
Cats that have a problem in the vestibular system and become sick the cats may suffer from dizziness due to muscle imbalances. The vet can treat your cat for the eyes to move normally after diagnosis and treatment.
Inflammation of the nerves from infections and inflammation of the inner and middle ear, or the center of the brain that coordinates eye movement, and meningitis can also cause crossed eyes in cats.
One may be asking is cross-eyed treatable. Depending on what is causing the condition once you notice these symptoms below immediately bring your cat to the veterinarian.
Crossed Eye Cat
For proper diagnosis, the vet will need your cat’s full medical history. Besides this, a complete physical, neurological, and ophthalmologic examination will then be performed. This will help to differentiate between problems of the eye, muscle, nerves, or brain.
The cross-eye problem can be from birth or develop later in life an outward sign for an internal problem.
Cross-eyed in cats can be caused by genetic predisposition, vestibular system disease, and birth defect, injury to the eyes, nerve damage, or cancer. The various tests from blood works, physical, neurological, and ophthalmologic examinations can be carried out to enable the vet to known if the cross-eye is due to genetic, cancer, injury, or nerve damage.
Some conditions are mild will some like malignant or tumors may need surgery. Surgical Correction can be done if the trauma has caused damage to the cat’s eye muscles. It can be performed to correct the abnormal lengths or strengths of affected eye muscles and help realign the eyes.
If the cross-eyed is due to cancer and is aggressive, it may be necessary to remove the whole eye to prevent metastasis (spreading). The vet may recommend the use of antibiotics for your cat after surgery, to prevent infection from developing.
Physical therapy may be used to help strengthen the eye muscles.
Ensure your cat takes the antibiotics as prescribe and have a follow-up appointment with the veterinarian after recovery to assess the success of the surgery.
Let your cat exercise indoor and try to prevent him from climb high height to avoid any more injuries as he recovers.
Symptoms of Cross Eyed Cats
One or both eyes facing abnormal directions
Uncoordinated eye movement
Lack of movement in one eye
Pupil size difference
Head tilting Turning to one side
Weakness Difficulty walking
When your cat is not able to focus on the same direction with both eyes and one tend to look off in a different direction it could be cross eyes.
Any pet owner may feel frustrated with dealing with this condition in their cats’ eyes. Nevertheless, do not wait for it to go away, visit your vet, and ask for treatment you can use. Depending on what the vet will find after diagnosis he can recommend surgery, eye exercises to solve this.