Feline herpes outbreak that won't go away!


TCS Member
Thread starter
Sep 16, 2020
Reaction score
Hello all!

Here's the story. Awhile ago our boy was diagnosed with feline herpes some few months back. (We've only owned him ourselves a few months prior to this). He's an older cat, about 17 now? But pretty healthy if a little overweight still. He's a very affectionate and playful cat, and quite active when he wants to be.

Well due to the herpes he ended up giving himself a small ulceration, luckily it's shrunk down and been otherwise stable. But there's another much more pressing issue... he's going through an outbreak that will not go away. He's basically been mostly stuck in an e-collar for the past two months now because every time we take the collar off we need to be right at his side, watching him very closely to make sure he doesn't scratch at it or dig at it hard while cleaning his face. Sometimes he'll be itching so badly his ear and face twitches...

He has been seeing an animal ophthalmologist and we have been following their suggestions the best we could. Reduce stress (he is for the most part a very content, relaxed kitty), warm compress to his eyes, using a gel... the latter two seemed to only aggravate his condition.

We do scold him sometimes if he is bullying our other cat, or licking his cone trying to groom himself or otherwise doing something else he shouldn't be doing, but it's only a quick verbal reprimand, sometimes physically stopping him from doing whatever he's doing (but not with excessive force and not in a way that would hurt him), and if he's being particularly naughty and won't stop we'll infrequently give him a spritz of water with a spray bottle.

He has an appointment again tomorrow but the ophthalmologist seems to be about as much at a loss as we are... his eyelids used to be super inflamed but we since took care of that, now it's just that persistent itching :( I think right now the main source of any stress he has comes from the fact his eyes are so dang itchy all the time-- a catch-22...

Any suggestions for what we could do would be wonderful, as we don't want our boy to live out the rest of his days in an e-collar.



TCS Member
Top Cat
Jun 13, 2018
Reaction score
Central FL (Born in OH)
Hi. Where did he come from? Herpes likely didn't just crop up this late in life, so there is probably a history behind what he has gone through with it. Where are his medical records from before you adopted him? Also, were you able to maintain the food that he was eating before? Sounds to me like the itchiness is from something else besides the herpes - and, could be food related. Litter or environment related are other possibilities as well. What does his 'regular' vet have to say about the itchiness now that the eye issue seems to be fairly under control?

A cat that old, especially if you didn't know him from before, is probably still not fully adjusted to his new home and 'his new people'. It is probably what lead to his flare up with herpes in the first place. The picture above would tell me that the two cats get along well enough, that whatever you think he is doing to your other cat is not something of major consequence. There is a pecking order determined among cats, and maybe he is making his preference to be the boss of your other cat. If your other cat still accepts him, it is likely they are working out their own 'arrangement' and unless there is fur flying or blood drawn, you might be best to let them work those moments out on their own.

Scolding and spraying him with water are truly only adding to his stress. Diversion and distraction are more appropriate ways to attempt to get him to either stop bugging your other cat or to stop him from licking his cone, etc.

Any additional information would be helpful! And, I hope other members will come along soon and offer their input too!!


Every Life Should Have Nine Cats
Staff Member
Aug 13, 2009
Reaction score
I'm also thinking this is NOT herpes related. Sounds like some sort of allergy, possible even pollen related. Perhaps this is something even benedryl or zyrtec or something similar might take care of. I would definitely take the steps FeebysOwner FeebysOwner suggested.