If you’ve ever donated blood or need surgery, you are likely familiar with your blood type. But what about your cat’s blood type?
Knowing your cat’s blood type can be vital in an emergency.
Here is everything you need to know about the different cat blood types.
There are three different types of cat blood
Humans have a complicated system of blood types. Your blood group is determined by two different blood groups, the ABO group and the Rh blood group (positive or negative). Your blood type determines which blood you can receive or donate without causing an adverse reaction in your body.
Cat blood types are a little less complicated than human blood types. There are three blood types for cats: A, B, and AB.
Type A is the most common. An estimated 94 to 99 percent of all domestic cats allow it to flow through their veins.
B is the second most common and is usually found in exotic purebreds, if still then.
The rarest is AB.
There is no such thing as a universal blood donor for cats
In humans, O-negative is the universal blood donor. Anyone can bring O-negative blood into their body without antibodies attacking it.
This is not the case with cats.
There is no universal cat dispenser, but luckily, since almost all domestic cats are Type A, a dispenser is usually available in a veterinarian’s office should this be needed.
But there is a universal recipient of cat blood
Cats with the rare AB blood group are universal recipients of any type of cat blood transfusion.
Cats with the AB type do not have anti-A or anti-B antibodies, so they can accept type A, type B, or type AB.
A cat’s blood type is determined by genes and breed
The reason there are so many cats with Type A blood is because Type A is a dominant gene.
In order for a cat to have type B blood, a recessive gene, a kitten must have B genes inherent in both parents.
Many cats are born with Type A blood, but purebred cats such as the British Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Exotic, Ragdoll, Turkish Van, and Turkish Angora typically have more cases of Type B blood than other purebred or mixed domestic cats.
Differences in blood type can harm kittens
Occasionally, kittens can be born with blood types different from their mother’s.
Different blood groups can lead to different antibodies in the kitten’s system than in the mother’s system. This can lead to complications as the mother may have different antibodies in the milk she provides to her kitten than the antibodies the kitten’s body is equipped for.
The antigens in breast milk can destroy the kitten’s red blood cells, which some experts say may be the cause of the “kitten fading,” or the kitten that doesn’t make it past a few days.
To prevent this from happening, some vets recommend bottle-feeding kittens to avoid being administered antigens that can cause harm.
Do you know your cat’s blood type? Has your cat ever donated blood to another kitten in a time of need? Let us know in the comments below!