What blood type are cats?
Domestic cats have blood types: A, B and AB. Most cats have blood type A. Blood type is is genetically inherited and depends on the geographic location of the cat. Type A is dominant and type B recessive (both parents would need to have type B).
For example in Switzerland, almost all random bred cats are type A. In the UK, Austria and Holland 97% of random bred cats are type A. In Germany it is 94% and in Italy 89%. In France the percentage of type A cats is 85 1.
In New England, USA, almost 100% of cars are type A while on the West Coast the figure is 95%. UC Davis Veterinary Medicine say that in domestic cats the common blood types are A and B.
Type A is the most common in domestic cats occurring in 94-99% of US domestic cats. Blood transfusions must be in the same blood type. If a cat is given the wrong type it can be life-threatening. I presume that all blood donor cats are blood typed. Six percent of cats in the northwestern areas of North America are type B.
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The breeds and blood type
Selective breeding influences the blood type of pedigree, purebred cats. Many pedigree breeds such as the Siamese, Tonkinese and Oriental Shorthirs are 100% type A but the Exotic Shorthair has varying levels of type B up to 25%. Nearly 50% of Devon Rex’s and about 36% of British Shorthairs are type B. Other breeds with a high prevalence of type B blood are the Cornish Rex, Turkish Van and Turkish Angora.
Cat breeders needs to be aware of blood types. For example if a female with type B is bred with a male with type A, the kittens born with type A may be affected by neonatal isoerythrolysis from nursing by their mother whose milk contains type A antibodies. This can kill the kittens. Neonatal isoerythrolysis is also called hemolytic anemia. The type A antibodies in mother’s milk kills the kitten’s red blood cells. Affected kittens become weak and jaundiced. The kitten may die in 23 hours to a few days. It may be too late to save a kitten under these circumstances.
Type AB is very rare 1. Some breeds are more likely to have this blood type such as: Abyssinian, Birman, Bengal, British Shorthair, Scottish Fold, Somali (longhaired Abyssinian) and the hairless Sphynx.
USA regions and blood types
|Incidence of feline blood types by USA geographic region (Wamsley, et al, 2012 CVMA Proceedings)|
|Region||# of Cats||%A||%B||%AB|
Refs: 1. The Encyclopedia of the Cat by Dr Bruce Fogle.
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