“It is important that breeders and cat owners know the blood type of their cat” – Gloria Stephens in Legacy of the Cat. I have no idea what blood type my cat has but it is almost certainly type A. Blood transfusions have to be carried out with great care and must be of the same type. For cats, there is no universal blood type as for humans (type O).
Transfusing type A blood to a cat with type B blood kills the cat. A type A male mating with a type B female can result in the kittens suffering from neonatal erythrolysis (isoerythrolysis). This is because the kittens will probably have type A blood (type A is dominant to type B) and they will drink the colostrum of their type B mother. It can kill the kittens. They should be fed milk replacement for three days or a surrogate, type A mother, employed to feed them.
My research indicates that the risk of an A-B blood type mismatch is higher in the East (Asia) than the West (North America)
Note: “the A and B blood types in cats are not the same as the ABO blood types in humans.”1
So what type of blood do cats typically have? Domestic cats have predominantly type A blood. Here are some examples from my internet research:
301 non-pedigree cats were checked. There is a high level of type B cats in Turkey. There is an estimated 18.6% of an A-B mismatch causing neonatal isoerythrolysis2 , which is higher than average.
Bejing – China
262 freeborn (random bred) cats tested. The frequency of type B cats is relatively high in Asia and Australia3.
Lisbon Area – Central Portugal
515 domestic shorthair cats were tested4. These were non-pedigree cats. Portugal has a cat blood type profile similar to the USA.
Cat Breeds – Selection
Siamese cats and cats associated with the Siamese such as the Oriental Shorthair – USA – These are 100% type A cats. This means no risk of matings causing neonatal isoerythrolysis. This 100% figure is due to breeding for appearance. The spin off is that there is no possibility of blood type mismatch. I don’t know if the Siamese breeders had it in mind to eliminate cats with type B blood.
Here are some other cat breed examples5:
|Cat Breed||Percentage Type A||Percentage Type B|
|Abyssinian, Scottish Fold, Persian,|
Japanese Bobtail, Birman, Somali8
|British Shorthair, Devon Rex, Cornish Rex8||20-50%|
|Maine Coon, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat8||1-5%|
Examples from other Countries
|USA||Vast majority are type A – of 205 cats tested 203 had type A blood = 99%. The two cats that were not type A, were type B. They were a Himalayan and a random bred cat in Florida6.|
|Australia (Sydney region)||Type A = 62%, Type B = 36%, Type AB = 1.6%7|
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- Gloria Stephens in Legacy of the Cat
- Frequencies of blood type A, B and AB in non-pedigree domestic cats in Turkey. Arikan S, Gurkan M, Ozaytekin E, Dodurka T, Giger U. — Department of Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kirikkale University, Kirikkale, Turkey.
- Frequencies of blood types A, B, and AB in non-pedigree domestic cats in Beijing. Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.
- Frequency of blood type A, B, and AB in 515 domestic shorthair cats from the Lisbon area. — Veterinary Blood Bank, Technical University of Lisbon (UTL), Lisbon, Portugal.
- Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6010
- Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science, Conference Centre, Building B22, The University of Sydney, New South Wales.