Newsday Tuesday – The Cat’s Third Eyelid

I sometimes write about the things I’m interested in or that I want to know more about. So why do I care about the third eyelid in cats?

As you know, with each cat come new experiences, realizations, and challenges. I noticed the other day that sometimes our kitten, Olivia’s, third eyelid is showing. It’s an eerie sight and I had to wonder what it means, so I looked it up. Commonly it means the cat isn’t feeling well or she is stressed. Maybe the third eyelid showing is because Olivia’s bad experience with vaccines recently. She seems to be super sensitive to them. Or it could be from stress. Olivia doesn’t seem to be stressed, but I guess it’s possible that she is. Our older cat, Sophie, didn’t seem to be stressed, but when she started licking her fur out a few years ago—creating a bald spot—the vet attributed it to PTSD from our (then) recent evacuation experience during a fire.

So the third eyelid—that odd membrane that seems to appear from nowhere and cover part of the cat’s eye can be a result of a compromised system. But there are numerous other reasons that it might appear as well. The cat could be in pain or have digestive issues. He could have something in his eye. Dehydration can cause that third eyelid to appear. Parasites is another reason or an injury in the area of the eye. Then there’s genetics. Take your pick as to why this is happening with your cat. Bottom line is, better see a vet.

For Olivia, we’re keeping watch and hope that membrane falls back into its pocket and stays there.



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