Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ricky's Fund

Imagine a cat who's so famous, he's been on countless television programs, radio shows, and even done performances in public "arenas". That was Ricky, Steve Dale's Devon Rex cat. Although to him he was his best buddy, Ricky charmed the socks off friends and strangers alike with his learned skills of playing the piano, jumping over dogs and through hoops. He was undoubtedly one very smart cat! Ricky died, unfairly at a ridiculously young age, of a heart disease known as feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

HCM, as it is commonly known, is a genetic disorder of the heart; the muscle in part of the heart thickens, too much for the heart to work at its best, and over time cardiac function is diminished. Ricky died of a massive heart attack at only four years old. He was only one when diagnosed with the disease; medication enabled him to live well and no doubt longer than otherwise. There are countless cats who are affected by this very same disease; it is all too common, particularly among certain breeds.

Ricky may have left for the bridge in 2002, but his spirit remains strong. Dale, a lifelong pet advocate described in more detail here - Steve Dale and Pet World -  along with the Winn Feline Foundation, established the Ricky's Fund, to specify donations for research on the disease and hope for a cure. Since that time, more than $100,000 in donations have spurred research to discover a gene mutation involved in two breeds of cats - Ragdolls and Maine Coons - which can then be tested for the likelihood of this genetic tendency. Although not complete, as there could very well be other mutations that could occur and other breeds may involve something different altogether, it is certainly a start.

In the meantime, many cats die prematurely because of this condition. Thanks to a very talented cat named Ricky, and his adoring human, the Winn Feline Foundation supports this drive toward hopefully some day eradicating such a senseless shortening of a loving cat's life. For more information about the fund, go to
Winn Feline Foundation. I strongly recommend you visit Steve Dale's story of his beloved friend; to paraphrase him would absolutely not do it justice. It is a moving tribute to a wonderful animal, a beautiful bond.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for such a wonderful post.

    My Bobo had that too but didn't get it til much later in life....he was diagnosed when he was about 16 and lived til age 18.

    So sad about Ricky, what an amazing cat!


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