Determining Cat Blood Types For Emergency Situations

There are three cat blood types, two of which occur with much greater frequency than the third. Knowing your pet's blood type is crucial for breeding, but it is equally important for blood transfusions or other types of cat wound care or cat first aid. A cat injury requiring blood transfusion is fairly rare, but if the situation does arise it will be necessary to determine his blood type immediately.

Take the precaution of identifying your cat's blood type before any emergency situation might arise. Because one type of blood may bring about cat poison symptoms or death when mixed with another, knowing your cat's type in advance will allow you to respond quickly and act confidently when requesting a blood transfusion.

Feline Blood Types and Distribution By Breed

The three feline blood types are A, B and AB. AB is extraordinarily rare. More than 90% of housecats in the United States have type A blood, while type B is more commonly found in pedigree cats. Blood types A and B are incompatible, and may not be mixed through breeding or blood transfusion.

Certain pedigree cats are more likely to have type B blood than others. Particularly, Cornish and Devon Rex cats, British shorthairs, Abyssinians, Japanese bobtails, Persians, Himalayans and Sphinx cats tend to have a higher incidence of type B blood. In Rex and shorthair breeds, up to 50% of cats may have type B blood.

Risks Associated with Mixing Feline Blood Types

Type A blood is dominant over type B blood in cats, meaning that kittens born to a type B mother and a type A father will tend to have the father's blood type. This may result in emergency situations when the kittens are drinking their mother's first milk. Because the mother's milk contains antibodies to protect against type A blood, type A kittens suffer immediate and dire effects when they drink their mother's first milk.

Knowing the blood types of cats that you breed will help you to avoid such fatal consequences. Kittens born to a type B mother and a type A father must be handled very carefully and given special, veterinary-prescribed milk formulas during their first few days.

Determining Your Cat's Blood Type

A veterinarian can determine the blood type of your cat by taking a small blood sample and analyzing it. In an emergency situation, this process may be impossible, leaving a veterinarian with a risky blood transfusion procedure. Otherwise, a blood analysis will take extra time that may be critical in saving your pet's life. In either case, cat owners who already know their pet's blood type are better able to respond quickly and appropriately in emergency situations.

At your cat or kitten's first veterinary appointment or examination, request that the vet take a blood sample for blood type analysis. The procedure is simple and is typically performed free of additional charge. On the chance that your cat may suffer from an emergency medical situation later in life, knowledge of his blood type can mean the difference between life and death.