Cleaning Persian Cats eyes is easier than you think!
Persians, with their luxurious coats and their sweet, gentle, personalities are an increasingly popular choice in American households. Their beautiful open pansy-like faces and large eyes do mean that a certain amount of tearing is normal. This flat face structure makes Persians susceptible to bacteria build up, which results in the tearing and the discoloration of fur. Usually, the eye drainage is simply unsightly, rather than anything harmful but if left untreated it can lead to infections.
What's on the label?
Daily eye maintenance will keep eye discharge to a minimum and can eliminate staining altogether. For brighter, whiter eyes - certain methods and ingredients are key. Your first instinct may be to reach for a "lightening/brightening" product but this in unnecessary, harmful and counterproductive to what you want to achieve - products that contain bluing agents, peroxide and bleach may lighten stains to a pinkish hue, but also set stains in. Other treatments will not work and you will have to wait for the stained fur to grow out to fully rid the discoloration.
Another choice is to use over-the-counter pet products that contain antibiotics as a solution to tear staining. This seems like an extreme and unnecessary option, as an infection may not present. Long term use of antibiotics (building up resistance) is not good for pets, especially for breeds which are prone to liver problems. Owners are not veterinarians after all. Treats, chews and food supplements with tylosin tartate added has left a bad taste in many owners mouths and the FDA agrees, issuing warnings to pet companies that are using unauthorized antibiotics in their products.
In recent years, breeders have leaned towards natural ingredients as a method of managing tearing. All natural treatments are also widely used by owners of show cats. The good news is the days of mixing boric acid at the home in the kitchen are long gone, with a number of these types of products readily available in the pet marketplace. Look for products that have natural ingredients with anti-bacterial properties and contain boric acid. Colloidal Silver is one such ingredient – a natural antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory, which mimics the properties of antibiotics. A safe alternative without the potential harmful implications of using an actual antibiotic. Eye Envy has a tear stain line, which includes only natural ingredients and is created specifically for cats.
Choices, choices, choices...
You now know what to look for on the label, but which method is best - with an increasing number of products available where do you start? Will one product do the job, will two, three or four?
The Cat Fanciers' Association recommends a daily face wash for all Persian color divisions, that seems a lot - but is it fanciful? A good facial wash is the perfect start. Used alone it will not be enough, but used in conjunction with other products, it will work wonders. It will loosen and remove discharge and crusty debris, allowing you to get to the hair shaft and skin easier. Look for a product with natural oils in, for example Avocado Oil – an anti-inflammatory packed with Vitamin E for improving skin and eye health or Argan Oil, which provides nutrients for a healthy, shiny coat. Try Eye Envy's Tear Stain Facial Cleanser, which has both of these oils and Colloidal Silver.
Follow up with a tear stain solution or treatment. Pre-soaked wipes are readily available and convenient, though there is a cost for that convenience. Otherwise a liquid, applied with a pad is ideal. An industry secret is to use a pad with a waffle-like texture, not the cotton round pads available in every drugstore or supermarket beauty aisle. This waffle like texture gently exfoliates the area, allowing the solution to penetrate deeper. It also non-irritating (lint free) and non-absorbent, so the pad does not soak up and waste the solution. Applied daily, it will gently lift out stains. You can find these pads here. They also come in Eye Envy's Tear Stain Starter Kits for Cats, which includes Tear Stain Remover Solution and Powder (see below).
The last product is often overlooked, but really is key in the prevention of tearing and staining. Applying a powder will absorb moisture and repel tears. A powder will get rid of tears before they soak into the fur and begin staining. Do not be confused with a chalk or a cosmetic cover up. Powders are readily available specifically for this problem and the best include natural cleansers and ingredients that also have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Make sure you apply the tear stain powder evenly, against the direction of the hair growth to get close to the hair shaft. Again an industry specific tool can help with the application of the powder, making it easier for the cat and their owner. Buy one here - the smaller head is better for use on cats.
Keep up the good work!
Whether you talk to Persian Cat owners, breeders and even manufacturers of pet products, one message resonates throughout - keep it up! Tearing is commonplace in Persians. If you treat the tear stains and then stop, in a matter of days they will be back. There is no way around this. Depending on the severity of your cats tears after initial treatment you maybe able to reduce daily treatments, to a lesser frequency but completely stopping is not a option.