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More Than 80 Million Cats in America Deserve More, Better Health Care

Cats and Cat Lovers Rejoice – Morris Animal Foundation Launches Research Effort to Eliminate Suffering, Premature Death in America's No. 1 Pet
Cats to Get Their Fair Share of Health Care, Happy Healthy Cat Campaign to Unlock Mysteries of Feline Health

Denver/Nov. 17, 2008 - Cats and cat lovers across America and around the world have reason to rejoice. Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) has launched the Happy Healthy Cat Campaign to help eliminate suffering and premature death in cats. Despite the cat's status as America's No. 1 pet —there are more than 82 million in U.S. homes — cats receive less veterinary care and research than dogs, and too few scientists are studying feline health issues. MAF's campaign will ensure that cats get their share of health care and research.

MAF has launched a dedicated Web site for the Happy Healthy Cat Campaign,, which includes information on feline diseases and symptoms, previous MAF research success stories and resources for cat owners. The site also features a fun, interactive quiz and blog entries from prominent bloggers who write about cats. Also available from MAF are a campaign DVD and brochure for cat lovers and veterinarians.

"Our goal is that the Happy Healthy Cat Campaign will give veterinarians the tools they need to dramatically improve the health and well-being of all cats," says Patricia N. Olson, DVM, Ph.D., president/CEO of MAF. "As the most popular pet in the country, it's time for cats to receive their fair share of health care, but we need the support and donations of America's cat lovers. There is a tremendous amount of cat health research that must be done."

As a global leader in feline research funding for nearly 60 years, MAF has funded projects that have focused on top diseases, including diabetes, kidney and heart disease, cancer, urinary disorders, hyperthyroidism and infectious diseases. Many of the results have led to the gold standards in feline veterinary diagnostics and treatments. The Happy Healthy Cat Campaign is an unprecedented effort to raise pet-owner awareness of feline health issues and increase funding for feline health research and scientist training. Hill's Pet Nutrition has donated $1 million to the campaign in addition to an extremely valuable genetic database of research data that will help scientists worldwide develop diagnostics and treatments for the most serious feline diseases.

For more information or to support the Happy Healthy Cat Campaign, visit

Media interviews with experts who study various feline diseases are available. Contact Heidi Jeter at


"The new feline genetic tools will quickly spawn important applications in cat veterinary medicine, in comparative genomic analyses of all mammals, including ourselves, and in streamlining diagnostics and treatment for some 250 hereditary and infectious diseases that afflict both cats and people. This is very good news for cats."
- Stephen J. O'Brien, Ph.D., Chief, National Cancer Institute-Laboratory of Genomic Diversity and chair of MAF's feline advisory group

"Research to advance the health and well-being of cats requires funds, and funding for feline research has not kept pace with the increased popularity of the cat. While there have been great strides made over the last 40 years to improve the health and well-being of cats, there are still a number of serious diseases of the cat for which cures or preventions are either lacking or need to be substantially improved. As the age of the cat population increases, diseases of the older cat become more and more important."
- Fred W. Scott, DVM, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor/Interim Director, Cornell Feline Health Center

"The Happy Healthy Cat Campaign is an exciting and unique opportunity to help our feline friends. Morris Animal Foundation has been a leader in providing the most financial support for studies related to cat health, and this campaign is another example of that leadership."
- Joe Bartges, DVM, Ph.D., DiplACVIM, DiplACVN, Professor of Medicine and Nutrition and the Acree Chair of Small Animal Research, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Tennessee

"Cats don't let anyone know that they're sick until they're really sick and can no longer hide it. At that point, trying to rescue them from their illness becomes even more difficult. This is why examining cats regularly and performing routine blood and urine tests as necessary are so important. It is much easier to prevent illness and continue to keep cats healthy than to try to treat an illness that has already become well established."
- Arnold Plotnick, DVM, ACVIM, ABVP, Manhattan Cat Specialists

Common Feline Diseases by Age

Many of the most common feline diseases show few clinical signs but can be managed if caught early. Routine veterinary visits are critical to early diagnosis and effective management of diseases. Below are some of the most common diseases by age.

Young (younger than 4 years)

Infectious diseases: panleukopenia (parvovirus), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), the upper respiratory viruses (herpesvirus and calicivirus)

Parasites: fleas, intestinal worms, heartworm, gastrointestinal diseases

Congenital: heart disease, diaphragmatic hernia Idiopathic cystitis, Behavioral disorders

Middle-aged (4-10 years)

Obesity, Urinary stones, Inflammatory bowel disease, Heart disease (nonhyperthyroid), Asthma/respiratory diseases, Liver disease

Geriatric (older than 10 years)

Chronic renal failure, Hyperthyroidism, Diabetes mellitus, Cancer Arthritis Diabetes mellitus

About Morris Animal Foundation: Morris Animal Foundation, established in 1948, is dedicated to funding animal health research that protects, treats and cures companion animals, horses, and wildlife. MAF has been at the forefront of funding breakthrough research studies benefiting animals on all seven continents. MAF has its headquarters in Denver. Charity Navigator ranks MAF as a four-star charity, the highest rating. MAF is a BBB Wise Giving Alliance Charity Seal Holder. For more information, call 800.243.2345 or visit


Heidi Jeter

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