Buttercup is basically just your standard orange tabby. He never saved a child from bullies or ran across America to find his long lost family. On the surface he is nothing more than a cat. Go a little deeper, however, and what do you find?
That’s right. Coursing through Buttercup’s veins is a proprietary blend of cat and Greyhound.
How It Began
As you likely assumed, Buttercup was not born this way. The ordeal began when Buttercup’s owner noticed that he was acting a bit lethargic. After a visit to the vet, it was concluded that he was dangerously anemic, with a red blood cell count as low as 7%. The vet determined that he was in need of an immediate transfusion.
While it may come as a bit of a surprise, it can be quite difficult to get your hands on a couple of pints of viable cat blood at such short notice, even for a vet; let alone getting it in the correct blood type!
With time being a major factor for Buttercup’s survival, a choice had to be made. And the choice was for a xenotransfusion – a ten dollar word for taking one animals blood and putting it in another. Now, I cannot speak to why dogs’ blood would be any easier to acquire than cat blood, but it is.
While transfusing blood from an entirely different species generally presents a bit of a hurdle, for Buttercup and cats everywhere, there exists a nifty loophole. Cats lack the antibodies to ward of the antigens found in dog blood. That means a cat’s body won’t have the ability to identify the fluids as being foreign, allowing for a successful xenotransfusion.
However, this is only a one shot deal. After the initial transfusion, the cat’s body will produce the necessary antibodies to fight against canine antigens from here on out.
Lucky for Buttercup, the one shot is all it took. Since the transfusion, Buttercup has been more active and high spirited. He is on steroids and antibiotics to help with the transition to having dog blood, but the medications aside, Buttercup’s outlook is looking up.
Now we’re just waiting for a story about an orange tabby that fetches sticks, chases mailmen, and barks.
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Miami Herald – It’s Cat-Dog! Keys feline gets blood transfusion from dog
UPI – Dog blood transfusion saves cat’s life