Causes of Feline Cataracts
Cataracts in cats often occur as a natural process of aging. In some cases, cats can develop cataracts due to nutrition deficiency, injury to the eye, and a genetically inherited condition. While cats do not develop cataracts often, it is a condition that veterinarians are seeing more often in cats due to the increased longevity of today’s house cat.
Cataracts in cats typically are congenital but can also develop as a natural process of aging or from trauma, nutritional deficiencies or as a result of an underlying medical condition.
Causes of Cataracts in Cats
At the most basic level, all cataracts are caused by some change in the composition or arrangement of proteins and fibers in the lens of the eye. While feline cataracts are uncommon, they are becoming more frequently diagnosed due to the increased longevity of today’s companion cats. Cataracts affecting the lens of the feline eye tend to become more pronounced as the cat ages, although not all cataracts are progressive. When severe, cataracts can be painful and cause complete blindness.
Cataracts in young kittens normally are congenital or genetically caused. Nutritional deficiencies are another key cause of feline cataracts. Taurine is a dietary nutrient that is vital to the development and health of feline eyes. Cats that are fed a sub-standard died, including a homemade diet without appropriate nutritional balance, can develop cataracts as a result. Cataracts caused by nutritional deficiencies typically occur bilaterally (in both eyes).
Ocular inflammation from trauma or an underlying medical condition can also cause cataracts if left untreated. Unlike dogs, cats do not tend to develop cataracts as a result of a diabetic condition. Eye injuries from cat fights are among the more common causes of cataracts in cats in one or both eyes.