Have you ever heard that cats have the third eyelid? In fact, most mammal animals have this part to protect their eyes from dirt and tiny particles. Often, you only see a small portion of the third eyelid when your pet opens eyes. However, if your cat’s third eyelid is showing clearly, it is abnormal with your cat. So, what is a third eyelid protrusion in cats, or what causes third eyelid protrusion in cats? Is it a health issue? Keep reading to the end to find your answer. 

What is the third eyelid protrusion in cats

As I stated, the third eyelid is also known as “nictitating membrane” or “palpebra tertia.” Sometimes, it is also called haw syndrome. In theory, the third eyelid works like the eye’s lymph nodes that can keep dirt and other unwanted particles out of the eyes. The part can cover the pet’s cornea, but you only see a tiny portion of it in the eye’s inner corner when your cats wake up. Nancy Bromberg, a veterinary ophthalmologist in the US, explains that when an animal blinks, the third eyelid will sweep across the corneas under the eyelids. It works like a windshield wiper to cleanse dust, debris, and so on. 

You think that it can make your cat feel painful, it is not. Still, if you don’t address it, the gland of your cat’s eyes may become painful and inflamed. Time over, it would become more serious, infected, or even bleed if the pet rubs the eye. 

What about the symptoms of protrusion of the third eyelid in cats? The first and easiest detectable sign is the appearance of a red mass of the corner of your kitty’s eye. It may occur in one or both eyes of your pet. It means that the third eyelid is showing. If you see your cat’s third eyelid, it may suffer from a disease. Hence, take your pet to the vet to treat as soon as possible. 

Causes of protrusion of the third eyelid in cats

There are some of the root causes of the nictitating membrane showing in kitties. Let’s see. 

  • Conjunctivitis: This is a common disease in both humans and animals. The infection will make the third eyelid visible and also cause swelling and tearing.
  • Dehydration: You should care for your pet health. When the pet is experiencing a severe lack of water, the third eyelid will appear. It is a symptom of severe health disease. Please take it to the vet who knows what causes dehydration and how to treat it. 
  • Wounds: Your pet has a trauma on his eyes, the third eyelid may occur. Sometimes, it can cause infection. Take your cat to the vet straight away if you do not want it to become worse. 
  • Parasites: This is one of the most prevalent causes of haw’s syndrome. You wonder that “Do worms cause third eyelid protrusion in cats?” Of course. Eyeworms can lodge themselves in your cat’s eyes, and they are so dangerous. If your pet is not treated promptly, it can result in blindness. 
  • Cancer: This small tissue can be affected by the formation of cancer cells. Luckily, the disease is rare in this part of your pet’s eyes. However, if it occurs, it will result in losing weight and fatal. 

We also receive many questions related to Bartonella infection. So does Bartonella cause third eyelid protrusion in cats? This disease is caused by Bartonella bacterium that is a flexible intracellular bacterial genus. There is no exact information about the link between the third eyelid protrusion in cats and Bartonella. But Bartonella is the cause of a wide spectrum of clinical syndromes in humans, including unexplained persistent fever, encephalitis, and so on.

Above are primary third eyelid protrusion in cats causes we want to show you. Hence, if you see your cat appear unusual health symptoms, give it a treatment right away. 

Treatments for protrusion of the third eyelid in cats

Take prescribed eye drops or other medications

Third Eyelid Protrusion In Cats

The treatment is depending on the root reason for the problem. It is better if you bring your pet into the veterinarian for a test. Cats do not only have one or two eyelids, but they have three eyelids. If the third eye appears in one eye, it means that your cat suffers from eye problems. Don’t delay seeking veterinary care for your pet because if you don’t visit your veterinary, it can make your cat uncomfortable and experience pain. Your fur friend needs a full ophthalmic examination to find the causes and prescribe appropriate treatment. The vet can prescribe (eye drops, medications) for your pet if the problem is not severe.

Give your pet plenty of wet food

The third eyelid protrusion in cats is the result of dehydration, you should use this treatment. Put a cat in a diet to keep it stay healthy. Wet food and water help raise the total daily water intake and provide your pets with the variety they want. If the pet is dehydration for a long time, we recommend taking the cat to the vet.

Have a surgery

Depending on the severity, the vet can suggest an operation. If your pet has cancer, it may be recommended surgery or radiotherapy. Only the specialist can decide and give the best option to converse the health of your cat. Once the pet recovers, the eyelid will start to retract. If you see the third eyelid protrusion in cats after anesthesia, ask for the vet’s help right away to find the treatment. 

Note: You should ask the vet about the surgical procedure is performed before letting the pet have surgery.  

If the cat appears the third eyelid because of haws Syndrome, it is not a big problem. Because most cases of haws Syndrome are self-limiting, it means your pet will get better by themselves. It takes time to recover, about two or three weeks.  

Unfortunately, there is no exact way to stop and prevent third eyelid protrusion in cats. All you can do is to keep your pets in clean places and avoid fighting with others. Besides, you should always look after your furry friend’s health condition to keep them in the best condition.

The Bottom Line

Cats are amazing and wonderful gifts for us. They are our pets and friends as well. Hence, you should treat and take care of them as you would do with your child.

It’s hard to know exactly what causes the third eyelid protrusion in cats since many factors cause it. Learn how to care for your pet is necessary and never waste your time. We hope that our blog post will be useful and give you the best treatment for the third eyelid protrusion in cats. We highly recommend taking your pet to see the veterinarian for the most helpful prescriptions and advice. Make your cat stay healthy and happy, you will stay happy, too. If you need more useful and interesting things about cats or how to take care of pets, you don’t forget to visit our website to read attractive posts.


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