We spoke to Charlotte Russo, head of transfusion medicine RVN at the Royal Veterinary College, about the process of cats giving blood, and which cats make suitable donors.
There are a number of criteria that cats need to meet in order to be considered.They must be between one and 10 years old; up to date with their vaccinations, flea, and worm treatments; and have no illnesses or medical conditions. The cat should weigh more than 4kg, with 5kg being the ideal.
Charlotte said:“The most important criteria is that the cat has the right temperament; we need cats to be naturally placid and chilled out and not bothered by a vet setting.
“Our cats give blood in a designated room, which is very quiet and non-clinical to make it calm and relaxing. We play classical music for them and make sure they’re as happy as possible.”
The donation process takes roughly four hours.The donating cat is given time to settle into the room and given plenty of treats. A numbing cream is applied so that he won’t feel the needle, and he is given plenty of fuss while the donation is taken, which is around 15 minutes. Afterwards, the cat is given some fluid therapy and some food, and monitored to make sure there are no after effects.
“We consider the cats as an extension of our own family and we want to make sure they are in the best of health, and we look out for them,” said Charlotte.“The cat is doing something extraordinary, and we really appreciate the owner agreeing to do this in their own time.”