We created 21Cats with one goal in mind – to help cat guardians help their cats through better knowledge of feline health, care and behavior problems. The impetus for 21Cats was through my own experience with FIP and related immune system disorders. In November 1996 one of my cats, Taz, was diagnosed with wet FIP (titer 1:6400). When diagnosed, he was as bad as one could get. He couldn’t walk, eat, or go to the bathroom on his own, and he had pronounced neurological problems. At the time very little information was known about FIP and multiple vets told me to simply put him to sleep. But having been educated as an immunologist/microbiologist I felt that there had to be at least something I could try. A final vet worked with me to put Taz on an aggressive drug therapy regimen of Interferon, Dexamethasone and antibiotics. He made no false promises about Taz’s prognosis, but allowed me to try. Through a tough fight Taz is still around and will be 6 years old May 1st 2002. His titer is now only 1:400, he has been off all medications for over 2 years, and his blood work shows a very healthy yet FIP+ cat. In January of 2000 I lost a feral cat, Nittany, who I had been socializing for 8 months, to severe immune system break down. His death was frustrating on many levels. First, that due to his rough life on the streets that he died at the young age of 3, and second that there was not more medically that could be done for him. There were many medications that as an immunologist I suggested, but unfortunately these medications were available for humans but not felines.
Nittany’s life and death, as well as Taz’s struggle, inspired me to help other guardians learn that there may be hope for FIP+ cats, that there are better ways to take care of feral cats, and that we need more research grants into feline diseases and medications. That idea then grew into the desire to help guardians know about feline conditions and problems such as when their cat starts urinating outside the litterbox, what to do when your cat has fleas, how to cope when kitty becomes pregnant, or what to do if kitty has ‘runny eye’.
As the Founder of a Silicon Valley design firm I knew that the internet was the perfect way to get good information to people all over the world, quickly, easily and relatively cheaply, especially compared to other venues such as print or publication. Companion animals have become a large part of many people’s lives and most guardians are very open and willing to treat their cats like part of the family. Whether that means investigating a new treatment for a previously terminal illness or trying to set up feral cat care coalitions in their own town, people want to take part, they just need to know how. And that is what 21Cats is designed to do. To take feline care and health information and make it available to everyone, whether they are in a city, foreign country, or a small community!
As we finish our first year of existence we have found the response to our site and our programs to be incredible and we believe that the number of cats and guardians we help will continue to grow exponentially. We invite you to share in our many goals as well through a donation to our organization. Thank you for your time and for loving your cat.