On my way home from work, I saw a bumper sticker “My pet gave blood at the [location specific clinic]!”
I started thinking about it, and what it meant. What it meant, specifically for those of us who care for companion animals, and also what it means for those of us who are vegan. Specifically of the anti-exploitation stance.
If our “pets” give blood, it is because we’ve decided that they will. That makes me uncomfortable right from the start.
But what if our companion was injured in some way that required a blood transfusion for them to have a hope of a survival? When I adopted my cat, it was a commitment to care for her as best I could. I have to make decisions for her all the time.
No, she’s not allowed to be outside unsupervised. (she goes out with me on my fenced in patio because it has been made escape proof, something that’s easy given that she isn’t a jumper and has no actual desire to escape.)
No, she’s not allowed to eat as much as she thinks she should. (She gains weight incredibly easy, and we’re always battling to keep her weight in the healthy range. I’ve never not had a vet tell me she needs to lose weight.)
No, she’s not allowed to try to chew my arm off. Ouch! Tempest!
Whenever we have responsibility for the care of someone, whether they are a companion animal or a young child or an elderly parent or rescued farm animals or whoever it is that needs our care for whatever reason and is thus a dependent…we make decisions. Some of them, at least. That’s the nature of things, as the world is now, and we have to deal with that, and weigh and consider and think and do our best.
So, the blood donating. I have my doubts as to whether it would be responsible for me to volunteer Tempest to give blood. Not that she, at 10 and as a cat (I’m still researching), even qualifies, but this is a theoretical thing at this point. Yet if I decide that ethically I can not make the decision for her to donate blood, then wouldn’t I be bound to not receive blood in the event she was in need? And that means I’m making an even more drastic decision for her – that I won’t allow her the option of a potentially life-saving transfusion.
That seems even worse to me. Better, isn’t it, to decide for her to periodically donate blood (assuming that it is risk-free, with the most minimal discomfort) than that she should die even if it was preventable with a transfusion?
This leaves me a lot to think about. I haven’t come to any conclusions, it was just sparked by seeing that bumper sticker on my ride home.
Has anyone had their dog (or cat? can cats give blood?) donate blood? Been on the receiving end? Have other thoughts, perhaps more thoroughly thought-through logic?
I have an acquaintance (a friend of a friend who I have met only once, and hardly had a chance to talk to) who is a vet. A vegan vet! Our mutual friend has advised me to ask her about the Canadian Animal Blood Bank. I checked out their Donor FAQ and zeroed in straight on the cat-specific questions:
Can cats donate blood?
We do not collect blood from cats at the CABB. There are more complications involved when collecting from a cat. As you probably know, most cats will not sit still and would have to be sedated. We only use minimal physical restraint on our canine donors. The amount of blood volume needed to be taken from a cat and their small size in combination with using a sedative may increase the risk of an adverse reaction such as low blood pressure.
What happens when a cat needs a transfusion?
The need for transfusions in cats is not as common as in dogs. Transfusions for cats are dealt with on an as needed basis. A volunteered cat will be brought in to the vet clinic to provide an immediate transfusion to the recipient cat.
A volunteered cat? Where do they come from? Are they on call?
I have lots of questions. I hope to get in touch with the VeganVet to see what her thoughts are on this.