Our Cats Shop

Cat Chat with Chris Stalker

New arrivals
Since I wrote my last column, we have had a new family of kittens arrive. They were born on Sunday, 15th April. All five kittens are doing well. I thought you might like to see the above photo of Chloe, cuddling her kittens.

For the birth and the first few weeks, I use a “Newborn Birthing” box. These disposable boxes are available from http://www.whelping-boxes.co.uk/ Tel: 0800 0744302
There is nothing quite like kittens to divert one from work! I have to tear myself away from just sitting and gazing at them!

Cat Blood Donor Register
A new web-based blood donor register for cats has recently been launched. It is a free service that enables vets to contact owners of potential blood donors in an emergency. The site was established by veterinary surgeon, Clive Elwood and dog breeder, Diana Crutwell, who initially began by setting up the dog register in October 2006. The cat site became a reality thanks to numerous requests from cat owners, wanting to have a feline facility in place, like the successful dog blood donor site.

Claire Bessant, Chief Executive of the Feline Advisory Bureau says that, “we offer our full support. We are encouraging owners to register their cats in order to build the register and provide a potentially life-saving service for cats requiring a transfusion.”
The website offers some answers to frequently asked questions:

How might a transfusion be used?

Blood transfusions have many uses and can be critical, life-saving procedures. Blood loss through injury e.g. road traffic accidents or other causes of bleeding, such as rodenticide (warfarin) poisoning can lead to death or make any anaesthesia to treat underlying damage very risky. In these circumstances, fresh whole blood can make all the difference!

Sometimes, an animal’s immune system can attack its own red blood cells (immune- mediated haemolytic anaemia), and blood transfusions are necessary to prevent fatal anaemia whilst medical treatment is working.

As well as fresh blood, in some circumstances, whole blood can be stored for anticipated usage or even divided into component parts. In the latter case, one donation can help two or three patients!

Cat blood types and cross-matching

The main blood group system in cats is the A-B grouping. Cats can be either type A, type B or type AB. Unlike dogs, and similar to humans, type A cats automatically react to type B blood and vice-versa. The rare AB blood group cats can receive blood from either type A or type B donors.

Reactions can be serious. Type A blood can cause a fatal reaction in type B recipients and, although the B blood type is rare in non-pedigree cats, because of the potential for serious reactions, untyped blood transfusions are not recommended in cats.

As well as typing donor and recipient, cross-matches can be performed to confirm compatibility, and are recommended where the recipient has had a previous transfusion. This test involves incubating donor and recipient serum and red blood cells and looking for a reaction outside of the body that indicates an increased risk of a reaction inside the body if the transfusion is given.

What is an ideal cat blood donor?

An ideal blood donor is a friendly, healthy, clinically normal cat in good body condition, ideally 4.5 kg in weight or greater. Pregnant queens should not donate but previous pregnancy does not exclude donation. Donors should test negative for feline leukaemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus and should be at low risk of other blood borne infections or parasites.

How is blood obtained?

Sedation or anaesthesia is necessary to keep a cat sufficiently still to make a safe donation. Blood is obtained directly from a large vein in the neck using syringes pre-filled with anticoagulant and a direct venipuncture or ‘butterfly’ type catheter. Fluids are often administered before and during blood collection to minimise the effects of blood volume reduction.

How much blood is taken?

The recommended ‘draw’ for a feline blood donation is a volume of 11-13 ml/kg. This will typically mean a donation of a total of 60ml (including anticoagulant to stop the blood clotting).

How often can my cat give blood?

Repeated blood donations over a relatively short period of time can lead to anaemia, and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. For this reason, after a donation is made and recorded on the site, the donor will be blocked from being called via the registry for three months.
For more information please see www.catblooddonors.com

My thanks to an OUR CATS’ reader for the picture (right) of a very chilled cat, enjoying the view from his windowsill seat.

Top Ten things only women understand
10. Cats’ facial expressions.
9. The need for the same style of shoes in different colours.
8. Why bean sprouts aren’t just weeds.
7. Fat clothes.
6 Taking a car trip without trying to beat your best time.
5. The difference between beige, ecru, cream, off-white, and eggshell.
4. Cutting your hair to make it grow.
3. Eyelash curlers.
2. The inaccuracy of every bathroom scale ever made.
AND, the Number One thing only women understand…
(With apologies to our male readers, regarding number10!)

Useless cat

Some readers may have seen a series of photos in the Daily Mail recently. They were entitled ‘useless cat’ and the photos are also to be found on a website created by Bert Christensen, Toronto. I thought they were amazing and reproduce just two of them here. I wonder if the cat and mouse are still friends?