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Special Funds

Supporting disease-specific feline health research

There’s no question about it, cats make wonderful companions. From playful kitten to wise and mature adult, cats enrich our lives. And sometimes we are lucky enough to find a cat that is uniquely special and fills our life like no other. For the Malanes, Andorra was that cat. A Devon Rex with a curly coat, big ears and a pixie face, Andorra was filled with curiosity and boundless energy.

A pioneer in kitty adventure travel, Andorra loved being in the car – traveling from the shoreline and mountains of the Pacific Northwest and Canada to the jungles and beaches of Costa Rica in her signature red hoodie. Never one to be left out, she’d often ride on Ryan’s shoulders like a furry parrot.

Sadly, Andorra was diagnosed with Evans Syndrome, in which immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) is a primary component, and the Malanes lost her almost 13 years to the day she first entered their lives. Primary IMHA is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks and destroys its own red blood cells. In secondary IMHA, the surface of the red blood cells becomes altered by an underlying disease process or a toxin. The cat’s immune system then recognizes the altered red blood cells as evil invaders that must be destroyed. Secondary IMHA can be triggered by a variety of causes such as cancer, feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), or feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).

While there is much that veterinarians and researchers understand about IMHA, improved diagnostics and treatment options can help more cats live full lives after diagnosis. To help make this possible, the Andorra Fund has been created to fight IMHA and further hematology and immunology research in cats.

In November 2005, Winn Feline Foundation announced the creation of The Bria Fund to accept donations for feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) research.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) was considered a fatal disease seen primarily in kittens and young adult cats. With your gift to the Bria Fund for FIP Research, new antiviral drugs have been developed showing that cats with FIP can be potentially treated and cured. However, our journey in eliminating FIP as a threat to every cat’s life is not finished yet. You can continue helping defeat FIP today by donating to the Bria Fund.

The fund was named after Bria, a nine-month old Birman kitten who died from FIP in April 2005. Bria had the good fortune to live with Susan Gingrich and her husband, James Shurskis, in Harrisburg, PA. Susan is a sister of Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and founder of the Center for Health Transformation. The Center provided a generous contribution to establish The Bria Fund.

In 2008, the first Bria Fund projects were announced. You can help fight Feline Infectious Peritonitis today by donating to The Bria Fund.

To make a donation to the Bria Fund, click HERE

In June 2002, Winn Feline Foundation announced the creation of The Ricky Fund. This fund was established to accept donations specifically for feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) research.

Steve Dale, nationally syndicated pet columnist, radio show host and EveryCat Board member, worked with EveryCat to create this fund in memory of his Devon Rex cat, Ricky.

Ricky was a musical prodigy. The piano-playing cat was featured on National Geographic Explorer, CNBC’s Pets: Part of the Family, on a Canadian TV show called The Pet Project, and on virtually every local TV station in Chicago. Ricky also jumped through hoops (literally), offered a high five (or four), and over a dozen more behaviors.

Steve says, “I taught Ricky these and other tricks to prove you can train a cat. And, in the process, Ricky taught me everything cats could be. Our bond was inseparable.”

During a routine physical examination, Ricky’s veterinarian heard a heart murmur, and Ricky was eventually diagnosed with HCM.

“The good news is that Ricky never realized he was sick,” says Steve. “We routinely returned to the cardiac veterinarian for ultrasound checks, and while the disease was progressing, it was a slow progression.”

Sadly, Ricky died at age four. In one of his columns, Steve wrote, “Ricky was a very small cat, but the hole he left in our hearts is enormous. Our house seems empty without him. And at least for now, our lives seem empty, too.”

This fund was established by Siamese, Colorpoint and Oriental Shorthair breeders with the hopes of finding a test for the dreaded disease, amyloidosis, in these related breeds. Designated funds will be used by researchers to discover a DNA test thus eventually eliminating this genetic trait through appropriate cat breeding programs. The funds are given in memory of all Cat Angels who have passed away due to amyloidosis.

Established in 2013 by Jeanne O’Donnell to honor her cat Ronan, this fund will be used for research to find genetic markers for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in Persian cats. Persian and Persian-derived breeds are believed predisposed to HCM, but no genetic causation has been determined as it has in the Maine Coon and Ragdoll breeds. Visit the website Jeanne has established to raise awareness of HCM in this very popular breed of cats.

Knowing if a mutation is present can lead to a genetic test. Determining which cats are carriers leads to better breeding programs and elimination of that trait in the breed, similar to what is being accomplished with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) in Persians and related breeds.

Norwegian Forest Cat breeders have banded together to raise funds to study HCM in their breed. Genetic mutations for HCM have been identified in both the Maine Coon and Ragdoll breeds, and researchers hope to soon identify a genetic basis for HCM in the Norwegian Forest Cat.

In 2012, Winn renewed a separate fund to support research into Norwegian Forest Cat HCM. By February 2013, due to the energetic fundraising support by Norwegian Forest Cat Fanciers, a research project lead by Dr. Virginia Luis Fuentes of the Royal Veterinary College of London was funded for $23,577. For more information, visit Norwegian Forest Cat HCM DNA Research Project.

Evidence indicates some Birman cats are known to have heart problems, particularly in the form of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.

The Birman Heart Disease Research Fund was established in 2013 by the Birman Heart Foundation to fund research into the genetics of heart disease in Birman cats. Led by Alwyn Hill and other volunteers in Europe, the fund hopes to create a DNA test designed for breeders to manage the situation.

A devastating loss of their beloved companion, Speckles, has led an anonymous donor to reach out to Winn Feline Foundation regarding a one-time sponsorship of future research.

Speckles was tragically lost to one form of abdominal cancer, carcinomatosis. Thus Speckles’ family wants their donation to fund new health studies leading to potential answers for the major cancers (lymphoma, carcinomas, and mast cell disease) of the “triad” in cats– the liver, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract. Pioneering studies regarding prevention, early diagnosis, pain management and treatment of major triad cancers will be encouraged.

The Winn Feline Foundation Board of Directors considers this gift an excellent opportunity for a “Gift In Action”. In other words, Winn will use this generous donation as a catalyst to raise additional funds over a short time period (crowdfunding) and we hope to turn one research project into two or three studies on abdominal cancer. None of the funds from the Speckles’ donation will be used for fundraising – only cancer research. Winn’s and the donor’s goal is for the gift in Speckles memory to benefit many more cats who face such overwhelming challenges.

The Kidney Disease Fund began with one of our Cures4Cats campaigns, conceived and developed by Dr. Vicki Thayer. In practice and as EveryCat’s past president and Executive Director Emeritus, Dr. Thayer has devoted many years of service to the improvement of feline medicine and research. This fund is targeted specifically at research into the most common geriatric ailment of cats, kidney disease, as well as the syndromes associated with it, such as anemia and hypertension. Your donations will impact the thousands of cats diagnosed with this disease each year, improving and extending their lives, as well as honor a beloved leader in the field of feline medicine.

The Kitty Kollar™ story is really the story of a remarkable cat, “Quasimodo,” who developed intestinal cancer. His owner, Donna Garrou, developed a special collar to manage his feeding tube that resolved the issues of security, cleanliness, and comfort. This now-patented medical device is rapidly becoming the standard for protecting feeding tubes, but began as a labor of love for a special kitty.

“Far too many beloved pets are suffering from lymphoma and other cancers, pancreatitis, chronic kidney disease, and other heartbreaking illnesses. Through donations, I hope to honor Quasi’s memory and perhaps help us learn more about diagnosis and prevention of these chronic diseases,” said Donna.

Quasi’s memory lives on by your generous donations to Everycat’s Kitty Kollar Fund which promotes studies on intestinal cancer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Diabetes mellitus is a common and growing disease affecting cats in ways much like people. Approximately one in every 230 cats will develop diabetes during their lifetime, and it’s expected to increase by 18% over the next ten years.  A dynamic disease that changes over time, diabetes can be complex and expensive to treat, and requires constant monitoring. Everycat Health Foundation is at the forefront of diabetes research, pioneering the use of high protein diets that freed many cats from the need for daily insulin injections. Your contribution will further our resolve to improve the lives of cats with this chronic illness, and fund critical research into treatment and prevention of this common disease.