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.
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.