There are certain individuals whose accomplishments and contributions have helped to shape the world which we inhabit and make our lives just a little bit better. Joan Miller was one such person. While the name may not be familiar to you, the impact she has had on the world of cats can’t be overstated. If you’re a cat parent, your cat is more likely to live a longer and healthier life because of Joan’s unwavering commitment to improving feline health.
Always an animal lover, but particularly a cat person, Joan served 20 years on the Board of Directors of EveryCat Health Foundation (then Winn Feline Foundation), 16 of them as the Board President. During her tenure, Joan set up the Veterinary Advisory Committee to help review the grant proposals. Winn funded a broad range of ground-breaking studies, including those on little known or emerging viral diseases like feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. She encouraged the Foundation to fund studies in which no other organization was interested, including feline infectious peritonitis. In 1993, in conjunction with the University of California-Davis, the Foundation co-chaired the first International Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Feline Enteric Coronavirus Workshop.
Besides her work with Winn Feline Foundation, now EveryCat Health Foundation, Joan served for 25 years on the Board of Directors of the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), 15 years on the external advisory board for the Center for Companion Animal Health at the University of California-Davis, and 10 years on the Cornell Feline Health Center Advisory Board.
She traveled the world as a CFA All Breed judge, and monitored federal, state, and local legislative activity throughout the US that might be harmful to cats and cat owners. As a renowned cat writer, Joan contributed chapters and sections to multiple cat books, and penned a plethora of cat-related articles for various publications, all with the goal of educating people about cats and cat health.
Understanding the value of making information and education available to cat enthusiasts, she spearheaded the first Symposium on Feline Health at the Cat Fanciers’ Association Annual Meeting in 1979. This event has been held annually since that time, apart from the pandemic years, 2020-2022.
Joan Miller passed away on Tuesday, May 16th, leaving us to mourn our loss, but also to reflect on her extraordinary life and the legacy that she leaves behind for cat health.
And so, as we put the finishing touches on the 2023 Symposium on Feline Health, being held June 22nd in conjunction with the CFA Annual Meeting, we are honored to dedicate this, our 41st annual symposium, to her memory.