Kim Burke almost lost her beloved rescue cat Harry to blood poisoning. Now the ginger tomcat helps other felines by donating his blood to a community blood bank for sick cats.
“I’d like to think that his blood can help save other cats like Harry,” she told ABC News. “It’s also been a great way to show our kids how blood donation can help others.”
The blood bank is run by a veterinary hospital in Perth, Australia, according to the report by ABC News of Australia. Cats need blood transfusions to recover from trauma and anemia and to survive major surgery or cancer.
The Animal Hospital at Murdoch University treats and saves many critically ill cats at its emergency clinic. And demand for blood has continued to rise, said Dr. Claire Sharp. “On a small scale we operate a facility like the Red Cross does for human medicine,” Dr. Sharp said.
“Harry’s donated once so far and he will donate again after 12 weeks. The recovery is fine and the cat doesn’t suffer in any way.”
Donor cats get a free vet examination with every donation. Typically, the pool of donors is made up with felines owned by veterinary staff and students. “Back in the day and in a lot of smaller clinics, if a vet had a patient that needed a blood transfusion, they would often pop home and get their dog or cat, bring it in and collect a blood donation,” Dr. Sharp said.
“It involves dropping your cat off to us in the morning and collecting your cat at the end of the day.” Cats who give blood are given anesthesia during the procedure. “We don’t have nearly as many cats as dogs on our blood donor list, and we go through that blood quite quickly.”