Blood donation in cats is a little more involved than it is in dogs. Though it is rare for us to have to give sedation to dogs for donations, a sedation or light anaesthesia is routinely required in cats. It a rare cat who will tolerate lying completely still for the 10-15minutes required to collect a blood donation. Therefore we most commonly use either a staff members cat/s or a cat belonging to the family of the patient who requires a transfusion. We do not have cat donors living in the hospital because ethically we think donors have a better quality of life living with a family. Many of our cat donors live very close to the hospital and can be called in at short notice if our feline patients require a transfusion.
General information about blood transfusions in cats
We rarely have cats in hospital that require a blood transfusion and therefore never store feline blood. When a cat arrives that requires a blood transfusion we immediately start sourcing a donor. If you would like register your cat into the blood donor program at WAVES, or you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cats have the following blood types- A, B , AB and Mik. In Australia we can currently only type for A, B and AB. It is very important in Australia that cats are either blood typed or cross-matched because we have a high incidence of Type B cats (compared to the rest of the world). Type B cats are born with anti-A antibodies and they can develop a dangerous anaphylactic type of reaction if they receive even a tiny amount of Type A blood. Blood typing (or cross-matching) is therefore always required in cats, prior to receiving a transfusion, to ensure safety for the patient.