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PIXEL's avatar

What does it mean when a cat starts to get brown spots on her eye?

Asked by PIXEL (1233points) January 25th, 2009

Over time my cat has been starting to get more and more brown spots in her left eye. She doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort and still acts happy and playful. Is there a reason for these brown spots to start appearing? Is she sick?

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4 Answers

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Here’s some info I found for you, but I would take your kitty to the vet, asap, just to be on the safe side:


Seventy-five percent of eye tumors in the cat are malignant, aggressive forms of cancer (in dogs the ratio is reversed, 75 percent of tumors are benign and do not spread or become life-threatening). An Iris melanoma is the most common type of tumor affecting cat’s eyes. Older cats may develop a visible brown or black spot on the iris of their eye. The Iris is the colored part of the eye. The spots may be single or multiple and are pigmented cells called Melanocytes that have overgrown. Examination involves the use of a slit-lamp biomicroscope, which determines whether or not the tumor is cancerous. If the pigmented area on the iris is flat, the lesion is referred to as an Ins Melanosis. This is considered to be pre-cancerous and is rechecked at six-month intervals.


Iris melanoma is also called Melanosis and/or Melanocytoma. Iris melanoma is the term used if the pigmented area on the iris is raised. This is a cancerous lesion. Treatment involves using a diode laser to destroy the cancer cells. Without treatment, Iris melanoma is generally result in Glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs because the cancer cells spread and obstruct the drainage angle of the eye, which is where the fluid within the eye normally drains. Since fluid can not drain from the eye, it builds up within the eye which increases pressure within the eye and causes Glaucoma. In dogs, Glaucoma rapidly results in blindness due to irreversible damage to the retina.

The only sign of Glaucoma in cats may be a slight difference in the size of the pupils which are the dark central area of the eye. Surgical removal of the eye, which is called Enucleation, is often necessary in advanced cases of Ins Melanoma. This alleviates the pain of Glaucoma and removes the cancerous mass.


Retinal Degeneration is an inherited condition in Abyssinian cats. It occurs between four to six years of age and results in blindness. A dietary deficiency of the amino acid Taurine can also occur in cats fed primarily dog food which results in Nutritional Retinal Degeneration. This condition was first described in 1975 and was called Feline Central Retinal Degeneration (FCRD). Commercial cat foods are now fortified with Taurine to prevent this problem.

PIXEL's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Thanks for all that info. I better take her to the vet soon and get her checked. It doesn’t seem to serious though.

Darwin's avatar

One of my cats and his sister developed brown spots in their eyes on their irises. Our vet said it was just related to aging. Both lived into their late teens (17 and 18 years) and died from unrelated causes. None of my other, unrelated cats have shone this change.

It is a good idea to have the vet take a look, but it may turn out to be nothing.

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