A VET has launched an appeal for Cheshire cat owners to join a feline blood donor register.

Dr Ian Hopkins, Principal Vet for the Willows Veterinary Group, is looking to expand their local database of suitable cats to turn to when a vital blood transfusion is needed.

Ian, who is head vet at Holly House Veterinary Surgery in Knutsford, works part of his week at Willows Veterinary Hospital in Hartford where there is a specialist referral service for more difficult cases where the need for blood transfusions frequently arises.

Ian, who has two cats of his own called Tom and Jemima, said: “Transfusions can save an animal’s life but up to now we’ve tended to get blood only from staff members with cats and clients we know well.

“Now we want to spread the net further by having a register of local people we know we can turn to when the need arises.”

Four-year old Tilly helped save the life of a fellow feline after her owner, Zoe Storer, signed her up to the register.

Zoe, from Byley near Middlewich, said: “I got a call from Willows Veterinary Hospital asking me to bring her in as soon as possible for a transfusion to help a cat which needed an operation within a couple of hours.

“I took her in about 1pm and after a test to check she was compatible with the sick cat, Tilly gave the donation and was able to leave the surgery about an hour later.

“I understand the cat which received the transfusion was very poorly but did survive, so Tilly’s donation saved its life.”

Ideal candidates for the database are cats under eight years old with a calm personality.

All potential donors are fully screened for physical suitability and diseases. Blood is not stored.

Ian said: “Blood donations are vitally important and can be real lifesavers.

"The cat helped by Tilly was very sick and would not have survived without the blood she gave.”

To register for the blood donor database contact Willows Veterinary Hospital on 01606 723202.