DENVER, March 19 /PRNewswire/ — Memorializing a beloved dog through a donation to improve cat health may seem unusual. Yet Florida resident Judith Ditfurth says her beloved English bulldog, Jeremy (right), would bark his approval of her recent gift to Morris Animal Foundation’s (MAF) Happy Healthy Cat Campaign, which was launched in November to raise pet-owner awareness of feline health issues and increase funding for feline health research and scientist training.
“Jeremy loved his cat, Cinnamin. They were inseparable, and Cinnamin is lost without him,” Ditfurth says.
A lifelong animal lover, Ditfurth has shared her home with many cats and dogs, all of whom she has memorialized through gifts to MAF to help fund research to improve animal health. Jeremy was her only dog for the past year and a half – he wasn’t interested in canine friends, but he and Cinnamin (right) were attached like Velcro. When Jeremy passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Eve 2008, Ditfurth thought it fitting to honor his love of cats with a gift to the Happy Healthy Cat Campaign, which is working to improve cat health.
“There’s always been so much research for dogs, so I was tickled when I saw information about the Happy Healthy Cat Campaign,” Ditfurth exclaims. “There is such a lack of funding for feline health studies, and this is such an important undertaking for those wonderful cats that share our love and lives.”
Ditfurth’s interest in animal health was piqued when she lost her very first cat, Sassy, in 1960. She is well aware of the importance of good veterinary care and health research for all pets, especially cats, which tend to hide illness. A couple of years ago, her cat Smudge was diagnosed with an incurable heart blockage that could have easily gone undetected if not for his routine wellness exam.
“People think cats don’t get sick, but they do,” Ditfurth says. “Smudge looked perfectly healthy, but when he went in for an exam, the veterinarian realized he had a third-degree heart blockage. There was no cure, but he lived for another year and a half.”
Knowing that cats hide their health problems, Ditfurth advocates regular wellness visits for cats and says her veterinarian teases her that she would take in her pets for a hangnail. But for Ditfurth, animal health is no laughing matter – it is her passion and the reason she has supported MAF for nearly 25 years.
In addition to her memorial gift for Jeremy, Ditfurth recently honored all 16 of her past and current cats through donations to the Happy Healthy Cat Campaign. She hopes other feline lovers will follow her lead and honor or memorialize the cats they love through a gift to the campaign.
For more information about health warning signs in cats or to donate, visit research4cats.org.
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 MorrisAnimalFoundation.org.