Feline blood bank could save your cat’s life!

A blood bank for cats! Maybe your next cat will be a retired blood donor!

Because I donate blood regularly at my local blood bank I wondered if there are blood banks for cats.

I learned that there are blood banks for animals, but most are dog blood banks and a few also have reserves of cat blood. Those banks which do are large operations and we aren’t so sure what happens to the cats when they “retire” from the blood draws because many of them do not have active adoption programs for retired donors.

But we found a blood bank just for cats and it won our hearts. Nine Lives Blood Services is the only blood bank for cats exclusively. They are a small, compassionate 2 person operation in Lansing, Michigan.

Nine Lives Blood Services was founded by Alice Parr because of her love for cats and their needs which often get ignored. She was a Licensed Vet Tech at the Emergency and Critical Care Unit at Michigan State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital for 30 years. Her co-founded is double degreed veterinarian and MBA, Kath Edsall.

Not only do they humanely collect and ship feline blood all over the US, they are active in finding forever homes for their retired feline blood donors and they are passionate about all things relating to cats.

Cats and have blood types too:

There are three blood types for cats – A, B, and AB. Here are some fun facts about feline blood types:

A: there is a higher incidence of this blood type in cats in the Midwest

B: there is a higher incidence of this blood type in cats on the East and West coasts

AB: is very rare. Alice Parr has seen only 3 cats with type AB blood in 30 years

A: is the blood type associated with mixed breed cats – or feline mutts

B: there is a higher incidence of this blood type of several pure bred cats, including British Shorthair, Rex, and Somali. Many of the cats in Australia are type B.

How does the blood bank acquire the blood?

Blood screening, the same policy as when people donate blood, is done to find ideal candidates. The cat must be free of 4 blood borne pathogens. They must also be FELV and FIV negative

The cats come from shelters and live with Alice for about 18 months in a closed colony. After 18 months the cats are returned to the shelter where they are put up for adoption. Nine Lives Blood Services are very active in feline adoption, particularly of older cats.

While the cats are in Alice’s care 45 milliliters or 3 Tablespoons of blood are drawn every 3 or 4 weeks. Are there any side effects? Alice tells us there are very few, but sometimes a cat won’t regenerate red cells quickly enough to donate every 3 weeks. Before taking the blood the cat is given a mild sedative and blood is drawn from a vein in the neck.

What we love about Nine Lives Blood Services is that Alice and Kath try to only use the cats for 18 months, which is unlike many other blood banks which might keep a cat until they can no longer give blood. Cat Faeries has a customer who adopted such a cat and the cat was under socialized and had a hard time adjusting to a house and home.

This would never happen to a cat who was in the program at the Nine Lives Blood Bank because their cats are well cared for and live with Alice personally. All of the cats come from the shelters and most adjust very well to life in the colony. They are group housed in large open runs with water fountains, climbers, resting perches, and lots of opportunity for play or hiding. Some of the cats come to them with shy or fearful personalities and they do their best to work with them…

When your cat might need blood:

Blood loss from an injury



Bone marrow disease

Feline FIV and FELV

Can a cat benefit from a dog’s blood?

Alice Parr tells us that it can be done, but that it’s extremely dangerous and the results can easily be fatal. We recently stumbled upon a video about how a dog’s blood saved the life of a cat. The reason we aren’t posting it here is that the cat was lucky. Most cats would not have survived the blood transfusion from a dog or from an animal of another species.

Is the blood of our domestic felines and the blood of the big cats the same?
Yes! Isn’t that a fun fact?

Can my cat be a feline blood donor?

Let’s picture the feline fantasy . . . .Madame Fluffy Tail holding out one manicured front paw while the attendant, Nurse Whiskers, draws the blood promising Madame Fluffy Tail a massage and a bowl of mouse pate’ to reward her for bravery and love for her feline brothers and sisters. But that’s all in fun. The reality is: probably not. Cats being cats they do require some mild sedation and it would be most likely be too stressful for everyone. But it’s good you want to help cats! You can do that by telling your vet and rescue groups about the good people of Nine Lives Blood Services.

When a cat retires as a blood donor at the Nine Lives Blood Bank

After a cat’s 18 month stay the cat goes back to the shelter for adoption. One of the pluses about adopting one of these cats is that they are used to being with a group of cats and thus might be an ideal addition to your multi cat household.

How the blood reaches your vet’s hospital:

The vet calls in the order and it’s shipped Fed Ex overnight

Tell your vet about Cat Blood Bank

Nine Lives Blood Services, PLLC

457 Lentz Court

Lansing, MI 48917

(517) 410-3350 mobile

(517) 367-6050 office

Fax: (517) 367-6052


Or Google: feline blood bank + the name of your state

Dear Reader, do you donate blood?

If you haven’t donated blood recently or have never done it and would like to, find your local blood bank and call today. You’ll give one unit of blood which will help one other person! I time my donations so that I’ve had a lot of water and a big breakfast, and so that I’m done before lunch time. You are required to sit in the canteen area for a period of time to rest and eat. I take my own water, chocolate bar, and food to the canteen because to me what they provide is really junky and full of gluten. And someone drives me home. The rest of the day is pretty mellow – no exercise, no hard work, a lot of reading and relaxing, and the best of all they tell you to eat hardily!

Norman Reedus is a new spokesperson for banning animal testing for cosmetics. The cat in the photo is pretty cute too!

Big news! We just learned that “The Walking Dead” star Norman Reedus has joined Cruelty Free International to call for a ban on animal tests for cosmetics in the U.S. and around the world.

Norman says: ‘Scores of countries around the world are beating the U.S. to become cruelty-free by banning cosmetics tests on animals. Nobody wants rabbits or guinea-pigs to suffer for our vanity, least of all the animals. Let’s stop their suffering right here, right now. Join me in supporting the Cruelty Free International call to Congress and the FDA to bring an end to animal testing for
cosmetics in the U.S.’ — at Photo by Leslie Hassler in New York City.

Norman Reedus and cat - for cruelty free cosmetics

(Click the image to see it larger)

England’s first “cat café”

We’ve shown you “cat cafes” in Asia which you’ve loved. And many of you said that we need them here in the US. Well, it’s getting closer. Now there’s one in England!

Wouldn’t you love to have to create a cat cafe in your community? What a service this would be to the health and well being of the human visitors. It would give cats “jobs” and a safe place to live. Talk about meaningful work!

A cat café is the perfect mix of work and play, and service to cats and other people. Win-Win!


Sass Brown, a favorite person of Madame Cat Faerie, is the assistant Dean at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) Department of Art and Design in New York City. Currently she’s in Korea for FIT’s Summer Program.

Here she is having some feline fun and a cooling refreshment at the Cat Café in Songdo, Korea.

Eco Fashion author Sass Brown at a cat cafe in Korea

Eco Fashion author Sass Brown at a cat cafe in Korea

Sass writes extensively about Eco-Fashion on her always fascinating and very inspiring blog: http://www.ecofashiontalk.com/ – be sure to check out her upcoming book “Eco Fashion” which blasts the concept that eco fashion clothes are scratchy, sacky, and ugly. An eco-fashion outfit with splotches of cat fur here and there is green and beautiful and tells the world you love your cat!

Cats Are Like Music

Words of wisdom that all cat lovers will totally appreciate. Thanks for another great find Tara!

Cats Are Like Music

(click on the image to see it larger)

Meet Chester, a “cat on the job” in McKinney, Texas

Meet Chester, a “cat on the job” in McKinney, Texas

Most cats on the job got hired (actually, adopted through an agency or shelter) but Chester the cat pranced in to Chestnut Square Historic Village in McKinney, Texas. He didn’t need an interview or a new hire package because he’s the classic self-starter, he knew exactly what to do by pouring on the charm and showing off his skill in historic buildings and antiques.

Read his story here and read about his book, which he had help with typing from a ghost writer.


Did you miss our recent feature about Cats on the Job based in San Francisco? They place cats who might not be otherwise adoptable in businesses. We’ll re-run that story for you again. If you feel inspired to copy-cat their program in your community contact them and they’ll get you going.

Do you know of any working cats? Send us your story and picture about a cat or cats on the job and we’ll put it on our Facebook page in the newsletter it. Or if you find a newspaper or magazine article send it to us with a link.

Two California cities create resourceful programs to place unadoptable cats in businesses! Co-founder of “Cats on the Job,” Susan Wheeler tells us how YOU can do this in your community!

Cats on the Job

Cat Faeries talks to Susan Wheeler, co-founder of San Francisco’s “Cats on the Job” – a new organization which is placing cats in businesses “to work” who were previously thought to be unadoptable due to their personality traits.

CF: Hi Susan, how did you get interested in creating Cats on the Job?

SW: A number of years ago I read about a program called Working Cats in Los Angeles. It was being used to place feral and difficult-to-place cats in situations where people needed rodent control. Among the places they placed cats is the LA Flower Market, police station parking lots, a church, and a number of other venues. Because of my work on behalf of cats in Italy I knew that their culture respected cats for all the help they give us in keeping down rodents populations. I thought it was a great program and should spread to the US.

CF: How would an organization like this benefit a community?

SW: We think of this as a green program. Lots of people hate rodents and resort to really terrible poisons. With our program the cats do the work. They are also great to have around.

CF: Are there other similar programs?

SW: Los Angeles of course, and I’ve heard of a few other which are mostly informal groups. A friend just gave me an article that came out recently about a cat in Richland, Washington who has become a crossing guard at the local school. There are surely working cats that we don’t know about.

CF: How long did it take to get this program off the ground in San Francisco?

SW: The Los Angeles people sent us their template. We tweaked it to meet our concerns and local conditions. We worked on it for a couple of years.

CF: How many cats have you placed, and where?

SW: A couple of cats are in a horse barn. There are cats in a taxi cab yard. There is a cat in a warehouse. There are 3 cats at SOMAarts. We have placed cats at a plant nursery. We did need to turn down a couple of requests as we thought the places were not safe for the cats.

CF: You are partnered with the San Francisco SPCA – why was this important? Can a group be independent?

SW: We are partnering with the SF-SPCA because they have a lot of visibility and they will be putting up a website for us as part of their online presence. They are also giving us some money so we can get any cat we place a health check, microchip etc. My other organization, Friends of Roman Cats, a 501 c3 nonprofit, has taken Cats on the Job as a local program. As a nonprofit we are in much better shape to deal with the SPCA than if we were just individuals. Any donations for Cats on the Job will go through Friends of Roman Cats. We have some fund raisers planned.

CF: Where can a group learn how to set this up?

SW: Anyone interested may contact us for our protocols which are written up. It’s lengthy but they will know what it takes to start up a similar program. It is one more way of placing cats that might otherwise not be adopted.

CF: If a business wants a cat or two how do they go about getting one through Cats on the Job?

SW: After they contact us we send 2 people to their location to make an assessment to see if we think the place is safe for cats. We find out what it is they want the cats to do.

We make a list of things the people need to change or fix at the location so the cats will be safe and have easy access to food and water, and litter boxes. If the people don’t respond to our requests, we politely say we don’t think they are good candidates.

CF: How are these programs funded? Tax payer money or donations?

SW: No taxpayer money! It’s all donations.

CF: What types of cats are ideal candidates for Cats on the Job?

SW: Sometimes feral cat colonies need to be relocated because they are threatened. Relocating cat colonies is extremely hard to do, so we are able to draw from the feral colonies. We can place shy and under socialized cats who have been taken to Animal Care and Control which is our city run animal shelter. Many rescuers have foster cats in their homes who might be considered if the location is safe.

CF: How many cats can be in one location?

SW: We think a pair of cats is the optimum number. Each situation is unique.

CF: What can an office expect from having an office cat?

SW: People who want an office cat might want one that may become quite friendly over time. However people must understand these are not going to start out as lap cats.

CF: What types of businesses benefit from having a cat or two around?

SW: All sorts of businesses! Bookstores, retail stores, pet stores plant nurseries are the obvious choices. We are more than happy to evaluate any business that wants working cats, in particular for rodent control. Cats aren’t allowed in places where food is sold or served. Although we wish that would change!

CF: What businesses are not ideal for having cats around?

SW: Businesses that deal with toxic substances, substances the cats can get into and places where the cats can’t be kept reasonably secure.

We make certain that everyone in the business is on board with having cats around. To help everyone with this new idea we suggest a contest for employees to come up with the best name for the new cat. A recent cat that we placed at an art exhibit space was named Georgia O’Kitty, a great play on words about the great artist Georgia O’Keefe.

CF: How is food paid for?

SW: This is like a regular adoption, so we expect the people or company to feed and care for them just like with any cat adoption.

CF: How is veterinary care paid for?

SW: The SF-SPCA gives the cat an initial health check. If the cat needs anything special Cats on the Job would consider paying or partially paying as long as we have the funds. Ultimately the cat is the new owner’s responsibility.

CF: Let’s say a cat is placed in a warehouse – is there one employee in charge of the cat? Someone to feed the cat, tend to the litter boxes, and notice if the cat is ill? Or would someone from the organization do this?

SW: We make certain there is a trained primary person at the business where we place the cats. This person will take responsibility for them and set up a team to feed them, particularly on weekends and during vacation times. We are on call to give advice and we will come by and make an assessment if the business feels they are having a problem.

CF: We love the name “Cats on the Job.” Can anyone use it? Would you want them to also use their city name, for example:
Cats on the Job: Cleveland, Ohio.

SW: Yes, that’s how we’d like them to use it, with their city name attached. Or better yet – get creative and come up with your own name! Originally we were using Working Cats assuming that the Los Angeles group would be flattered and see it as for the greater good, but they told us to stop using it.

Interested in starting a similar program in your community? Contact Susan Wheeler at rappwheel@aol.com