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Questions of A More Technical Nature

Feline Blood Types


QUESTION

Should blood type be factored in feeding pets? I'm particularly interested in any information you may have about cats. Thanks!


ANSWER

Three blood types have been identified in cats - type A (most common), type B, and type AB (very rare). In the United States, nearly 95% of all domestic mixbreed cats are blood type A. AH Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese, American Shorthair, and Oriental Shorthair cats tested so far have type A blood.

However, the following pure breeds have a 10-50% frequency of blood type B cats:

Abyssinian Birman British Shorthair Cornish Rex Devon Rex Exotic Japanese Bobtail Persian Scottish Fold Somali Sphynx

The frequency of blood type B in other pure breeds has not been determined.

Similar to humans, cats have naturally occurring antibodies to blood types other than their own. Blood type A cats have low amounts of weak antibodies to red blood cells (RBCs) from type B cats. Blood type B cats have high amounts of strong antibodies to type A RBCs, typically much higer than humans. Because of these strong anti-A antibodies, incompatibility between type A and type B cats can cause potentially fatal reactions when breeding type A toms to type B queens to produce type A kittens.

Unlike humans, it remains to be seen whether feline physiological functions (such as stomach acid levels) are linked to blood type through related genes. Certainly, food lectins would be as reactive for example in type A cats as they would in type A humans.




The Ask Dr. D'Adamo internet advice column ran from 1996 to 2009, at which time Dr. D'Adamo's teaching and programming responsibilities no longer allowed him to devote time and resources to directly answering visitor questions. However we've recently reorganized this treasure-trove of material and made it again available to his readership. He occasionally posts new entries. These are marked with a NEW tag.



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