A cat with two differently sized pupils has captured viral attention online after his picture was shared on Tuesday.
Ricardo—who uses the Reddit handle RikTehSpik—lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend Nancy and their 8-month-old cat Oreo. He shared the picture of his kitty on the popular r/cats where he has more than 13,000 upvotes and thousands of comments.
Alongside the picture, Ricardo asked: “One of my cats eye is dilated other is not what should I do?” prompting responses from thousands of internet users.
“Get to the vet asap. Don’t mess around with eye issues,” said one commenter. While another Redditor shared their experience and wrote: “This happened to my Kamella. In her case, it was accompanied by tilting her head to one side and an inability to fully blink the affected eye.”
Ricardo took Oreo to the emergency vet, he told Newsweek: “After running the two tests and not having a clear cause, the vet seemed pretty confident that it may be nothing but couldn’t come up with a clear diagnosis. He suggested checking up with a family vet within a few days to have a few more exams.”
After the visit, Oreo seemed his usual feisty self and his eyes were back to normal.
Another Reddit user said: “A recent rescue has had this for a while now. [It is] Horner’s Syndrome but because it is not resolving on its own we have to go to an expensive cat ophthalmologist who is booked out 6 weeks in advance.”
VCA Animal Hospitals says that Horner’s Syndrome is a common neurological disorder of the eye and facial muscles, caused by dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system. Typically appearing suddenly and affecting one side of the head, it often requires a series of neurologic tests to identify.
“Most cases of Horner’s Syndrome will resolve spontaneously or on their own over time, VCA Animal Hospitals said, adding that veterinarians may recommend eye lubricants or phenylephrine drops to dilate the pupil. “If an underlying disease is identified, it is important to treat that disease,” it said.
Emergency vet Dave Leicester, head of the Video Vets Now service at Vets Now, the UK’s leading provider of pet emergency care, told Newsweek: “There are many different causes as to why a cat’s pupils can present like this, but some are potentially very serious and it should never be ignored. An urgent vet appointment is advised if owners see this sign.”
In more light-hearted comments, Redditors noted the cat’s resemblance to a famous pop star: “Name them Bowie,” wrote one commenter.
David Bowie famously had a condition known as anisocoria, meaning that the pupils in his eyes were of different sizes. Medicine Plus explains that babies born with different sized pupils may not have an underlying disorder, and, for unknown reasons, pupils may differ in size. When unequal pupil size of more than 1mm develops later in life and does not return to equal size, it can be a sign of eye, brain, blood vessel, or nerve damage.
“I didn’t expect to gain this much attention from the post,” said Ricardo: “I was just looking for someone to tell me about their experience with anything similar and whether to worry. I’m glad it gained attention, helps spread awareness to those who may have to deal with the same situation.”
UPDATE 04/13/22 at 10:00 am ET: This article was updated with a new image.