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Cats and Blood Types

Blood transfusion is life-saving for cats. Though less common than dog blood banks, feline blood banks are growing. With more cat donors, more cats can benefit from this medical procedure.

Cats have 3 major blood groups:

  • Type A is the most common worldwide and in some breeds,100% of cats are believed to be type A  (e.g. Siamese).
  • Type B is less common overall but common in some breeds (e.g. British Shorthair)
  • Type AB is rare

 Type A and B must match with their own type respectively. Type AB can take Type A if Type AB is not available Blood typing is essential to avoid potentially fatal transfusion reactions. Cross-matching mixes the blood from the donor cat and the recipient cat to test for a reaction before the actual transfusion

Blood types reported in different geographical locations in different breeds:

Region

# of
reported cats

Type A (%)

Type B(%)

British Shorthair

UK

121

40%

59%

Denmark (Copenhagen)

30

67%

33%

Australia(Sydney)

8

38%

62%

Ragdoll

Italy

61

77%

5%

Bengal

UK

100

100%

0%

Persian

UK

17

88%

12%

Denmark(Copenhagen)

56

96%

4%

Siamese

UK (S.E. England)

13

100%

0%

Australia(Sydney)

12

100%

0%

Abyssinian

Denmark(Copenhagen)

20

100%

0%

Birman

UK

24

63%

29%

Devon Rex

Australia(Sydney)

70

45%

54%

 

If you are wondering if your cat can be a blood donor, an ideal cat donor is

  • Between 1 and 8 years of age
  • Over 10 pounds (4.5 kg) but not overweight
  • Stay calm in a medical environment  
  • Up to date with vaccination, worming and external parasite control
  • Healthy, medication-free
  • Never had a blood transfusion
    (Previous blood transfusions mean the cats may have antibodies to the blood they were transfused with, which can then pass on to the recipient cat, causing illness)
  • Normal blood tests results
  • Not FIV and FeLV
  • No infectious diseases
    (Indoor cats make better candidates because they have less exposure to infectious disease)

 

Full article: 2021 ISFM Consensus Guidelines on the Collection and Administration of Blood and Blood Products in Cats