“My cat gave blood — AND SAVED another cat’s life”

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29 December 2021
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Humans can regularly give blood and save many lives in the process, but did you know that cats can also be life-saving donors?

One cat and his owner who know the importance of feline blood donors are Susan Smith and her cat Smokey, as the kitten became very ill after eating some sour cream and onion crisps. Smokey first came to live with Susan in May as a 10-week-old kitten and made himself at home straight away. Susan noticed that one morning, Smokey was very clingy and lethargic, and didn’t want to play at all, which was very unlike him.

When he didn’t improve the next day, she phoned the local vet and Smokey was admitted for blood tests. It was found that he had developed Heinz body anaemia, possibly caused by ingesting toxins found in crisps or paracetamol.

An urgent need

Smokey was then sent to the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), where it was discovered that his red cell count was only 10 per cent, and he was in urgent need of a blood transfusion. Thankfully for Smokey, a feline blood donor was already ready and waiting to offer him life-saving blood. Theo, a Maine Coon, lives with Kat Pearson and her family, and his three feline housemates, in Potters Bar; he is something of a gentle giant. “We’ve got four cats and he’s by far the most chilled of all of them,” Kat said. “He’s a bit of a giant, but he’s so placid and even from when he was tiny, the children would pick him up and carry him around and he couldn’t care less!”

Kat first had the idea of signing the ever-chilled Theo up to be a blood donor after reading about the outbreak of feline pancytopenia earlier this year. She said: “I contacted the RVC to ask if he could give it a try. There are a lot of criteria that need to be met for a cat to give blood, but luckily Theo met all of them so he was called in for blood tests and a heart scan to make sure he was as fit and healthy as possible.”

After passing the tests with flying colours, just five days later Theo was booked in to give blood and Kat dropped him off at the clinic in the morning and picked him up just four hours later...

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