My affiliation with EveryCat Health Foundation
Ricky, my Devon Rex, was one talented cat. He played a toy piano and knew all sorts of tricks, from jumping through hoops to leaping over prone dogs. In the late 1990s, before YouTube, TV stations loved Ricky’s act. He appeared on American and Japanese network TV, as well as on my radio show on WGN Chicago. The late Paul Harvey featured Ricky twice, and numerous newspaper stories dubbed him “Feline Einstein.”
Sadly, Ricky was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in 2000 and died suddenly 2 years later. I quickly set up a fund to raise money for HCM studies, and joined the Winn Board in 2004. Although it is a relatively common feline disease, the prevalence of HCM was unknown at the time and, more importantly, there was no effective treatment. To date, the Ricky Fund has raised about $200,000 for HCM studies. We now have a better understanding of the prevalence of HCM, and a simple cheek swab test in Maine Coons and Ragdolls can discern whether a gene defect exists.
As a proud member of the EveryCat Foundation Board of Directors, I remain determined to support finding an effective treatment HCM and other feline diseases.