Can a cat donate blood: how to do it, who to contact, what rules to follow

Human beings can save lives, and like us, our animals too. Our cat can donate blood, in fact, to help other cats in difficulty or in danger.

There are a number of structures on the national territory already equipped in this regard: our cat can donate blood to help other cats in danger of life. The need for a transfusion is quite common: a transfusion is almost always necessary in cases of surgery or for serious accidents, which is why donation is essential, so that blood is always available. So let’s see who to contact and how to participate in this fundamental moment of help between animals.

The importance of blood

For a cat, an accident or surgery are terrible episodes that hopefully will be overcome in the best way. To do this, however, a blood transfusion is usually carried out: both to restore lost blood and to keep the heart activity active, this precious liquid is essential.

And since there is no way to artificially reproduce it in the laboratory, the survival of us humans and our pets is linked to donors, who are compatible and whose owners understand the importance of a simple but fundamental gesture and – maybe – can also be received later. Tomorrow, perhaps, our pet will need a transfusion: let’s think if there were no donors!

Blood in cats

As we all probably know, for us humans there are four main blood types (A, B, AB and O), and each type can be positive or negative, with a total of eight blood types. Feline blood groups are less complex, in fact cats only have three possible blood groups: A, B and AB.

Unlike our groups, there are no universal donors or recipients among feline blood groups, unfortunately. If the wrong blood type is used when giving a cat a transfusion, this could be fatal. This means that if we need direct blood donation rather than donating to a blood bank, we need to be sure that both cats are of the same blood type.

In cats, blood has a rarity depending on the type: A is the most widespread group, B rather rare, AB is the rarest of all. Some breeds (Angora, Siamese  and Sphynx, among others) almost always have the same blood groups, but it is always essential to ask our veterinarian (or a laboratory indicated by our veterinarian), to know the blood group of our cat.

Animal transfusion

If our cat can donate blood according to the indicated rules, and we want to proceed with the donation, we must first properly prepare the cat for the procedure. We certainly don’t want the cat to be stressed and unhappy during this practice, so the animal will usually be sedated while donating blood. The good news is that this means that our cat will not experience any discomfort or stress during the donation.

However, this means that the vet will likely advise the cat not to eat before the procedure. We can feed them the night before the donation, but then they can have food only after the donation. However, we can make the water available to the cat until donation. In fact, the better its hydration, the smoother the process will be.

Blood collection takes only about 10-15 minutes, but as the cat will need to be sedated, the whole process is likely to take a few hours. We may want to leave a toy or other object that can give our furry comfort. In most cases, the cat will be fed at the donation center shortly after the procedure. Some blood banks also offer toys or snacks for the animals they donate.

The requirements for eligibility

When our animal donates blood, as for us humans, there will be requirements to be met. The veterinarian through a complete clinical visit will evaluate if our cat can donate blood, and if everything is confirmed in his place, he proceeds with the blood sample to check the blood group. The blood tests and the visit are free at the affiliated institutions.

The donation is completely safe and painless, and can be repeated every 2 months. The requirements are age (between 1 and 8 years, but the ideal is between 1 and 5 years), weight (at least 4 kg, but don’t be overweight), have a calm temper, be spayed (in females it is mandatory, for males it is only recommended), to be in compliance with the mandatory vaccinations and the relative calls, to be an indoor cat (preferably), in addition to a state of good health. If necessary, a donor cat can receive a transfusion and consultation for free.

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