For human beings, January is National Blood Donor month. Universal blood banks across the country and even worldwide, celebrate with massive marketing awareness campaigns. A person can give blood at anytime through a number of universal blood banks such as the Red Cross. Most people simply show up at a blood drive and are able to give blood on the spot. You do not need to know your blood type, they will let you know what it is when they send you your blood donor card after you give your blood. It is a streamlined, efficient and well orchestrated process. This is not necessarily the case for felines. Even though cats can give blood to help other cats, the marketing awareness is not as robust and the process is not as streamlined.
Cat blood donation is a great way to give to the feline community. If you want your cat to donate blood for a specific situation, it is important to know your cat’s blood type in advance to be sure it will not be rejected by the cat receiving the blood. Unlike humans, there are not massive blood drives going on regularly, but there are feline blood banks. This post will explore the options for your cat to be a blood donor.
Where Can My Cat Donate Blood?
Once cat owners find out that their fur-babies can be angels for other kitties, they want to know, ‘where can I sign my cat up’? Before we go down that rabbit hole, we should first review the requirements for your feline to offer up her blood. Firstly, your cat needs to be youngish to be able to do this. She needs to be healthy, young and free of certain diseases. The age range for your cat to donate blood is usually two to seven years old. He also needs to be free from FeLV and FIV. Your cat must also be a healthy weight of at least 9 lbs. If you can check these off and confirm your cat qualifies, let’s continue on and get to the topic at hand!
Where can your cat give her blood to save another cat’s life?
Your veterinarian may be able to check your cat’s health and also do the blood withdraw. In addition to a vet, there are actual pet blood banks. I have included a list further down in this post that should help you at least get started researching locations. Universities and clinics for cats also offer blood donor service, so if your vet does not, you can check around the Universities in your area if you do not find something in our list.
This pre-screening survey from Guardian Veterinary Specialists can be a good place to review what the requirements are and you may even want to use them! Click the image below to read the pre-screening survey.
Can My Cat Give Blood To Other Cats?
Yes, absolutely! Thanks to modern medicine, cats can donate their blood to a cat in need. A cat may need a blood transfusion, be critically injured or have a fatal illness that blood can literally cure. As mentioned above, your cat needs to be healthy, not obese and no older than seven years of age; plus have all her vaccinations. The nice thing is, she will get a copy of her own blood sample work so you will know her blood type!
Here is a list of cat donor banks.
List of Cat Donor Banks
1st PetVet, Arizona, Multiple Locations
Blue Pearl Pet Hospital,Multiple Locations
Premier Chicago Pet Blood Bank
Guardian Vets Blood Bank for Pets
Can My Cat Give Blood To Other Animals?
Animals have their own special blood type, so no, cats cannot be donors for dogs or any other animals.
Can My Cat Give Blood To Humans?
Just like animals, human beings have their own species blood type. Cats cannot be donors for humans as a standard procedure. Medicine is making big strides in organ donations. There is a shortage of organ donors so eventually there could be a breakthrough that makes organ and blood donations more common between species. Right now the standard practice is, cats with cats, people with people and dogs with dogs.
How Often Can My Cat Donate Blood?
Your cat can save another cat’s life approximately every 8 weeks. Although anemia is very uncommon in cats due to blood donation, be sure to ask your vet (or the blood bank) to check your cat’s red blood cells. This ensures there is no chance of your feline being at risk for anemia. Your cat will be sedated when donating her blood, so this might be even more of a concern than anemia. Talk everything over with the professionals who will be doing the procedure so your mind is at ease when you move forward. Your cat will know if you are anxious, so be sure to feel confident about blood donation ahead of time.
Who Benefits From Cat Blood Donations?
Just like people, felines need blood. The receivers of the donation is typically the primary beneficiary since her health will hopefully be restored. The receiving cat also has a family (owner) who loves him very much, so the caretaker will also benefit.
Cats need blood transfusions for a number of reasons. A cat could have a severe illness or a sudden accident (like being hit by a car) that requires the need for blood.
The good news is, your cat (and you) can ALSO benefit! The animal blood bank at the University of Wisconsin has a big list of ways a cat and her owner that donates will benefit.
BENEFITS FOR DONORS (Animal Blood Bank of University of Wisconsin)
- Free food (Purina or Hill’s pet food)
- Free routine vaccinations
- Free heartworm testing and preventative**
- Free flea/tick preventatives**
- Free bloodwork, urinalysis, and fecal tests as covered in the screening process
- Free preventative health examinations
- Free dental scaling and polishing
- Pride in your pet for helping other pets
**For cats, Feline Advantage Multi. For dogs, K9 Advantix II and Heartguard Plus. To remain eligible for benefits, cats must donate at least four times per year and dogs at least six times per year.
In summary, your cat can be an angel for another cat (or your own other kitty cat who needs blood). Thanks to all the wonderful pet professionals, you can now feel good to be a pet parent that gets involved in blood donation for cats.