October 13, 2004 (published) | July 15, 2013 (revised)

The Winn Feline Foundation was established by the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA, in 1968 to create a source of funding for medical studies to improve the health and well-being of cats and to disseminate the resulting information through educational resources. The Foundation was named to honor CFA's long-time attorney and advisor, Robert H. Winn and is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status. Since its inception, over $4.5 million in grants have been awarded by Winn. Over the years, Winn grants have helped advance veterinary knowledge in all areas of feline health.

Important areas of research Winn has been involved with include:

  • Identification of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and investigation of PCR as a diagnostic tool
  • Development of in-clinic screening tests for FeLV infected cats
  • Evaluation of the feasibility and safety of early spay and neutering
  • Discovery of the link between taurine deficiency and feline dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Investigation of the biology of feline coronavirus and the epidemiology of feline infectious peritonitis as well as advances in diagnostics
  • Determination of the inheritance of feline blood groups and characterization of feline neonatal isoerythrolysis
  • Discovery of the gene causing feline polycystic kidney disease
  • Characterization of feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and identification of HCM as a heritable disease in Maine Coon cats and Ragdoll cats
  • Development of techniques to measure feline blood pressure
  • Determination of how to safely administer oral medications to cats
  • Determination of the need for a high protein/low carbohydrate canned diet for cats, especially in controlling diabetes mellitus in cats
  • Determination that aerosolized medications are efficacious in the treatment of asthma in cats
  • Discovery of the gene causing hypokalemia in Burmese cats
  • Discover of the mutation at the spike protein cleavage site and pathogenesis of feline coronavirus

Winn also helps sponsor conferences related to feline medicine such as:

  • First International FCoV/FIP Symposium (University of California, 1994)
  • First International Feline Genetic Diseases Conference (University of Pennsylvania, 1998)
  • International Feline Genetic Diseases Conference (University of California; 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006)
  • Second International FCoV/FIP Symposium (University of Glasgow, 2002)
  • Tufts' Canine and Feline Breeding and Genetics Conferences (2003 through 2013)
  • Advances in Canine and Feline Genomics (St. Louis, 2003)
  • Third International Conference: Advances in Canine and Feline Genomics (University of Utrecht, 2004)
  • International Plant & Animal Genome XX Conference (San Diego; 2011, 2012)
  • Winn Feline Foundation Symposia (Thirty-fifth held in Vancouver WA in June, 2013)

Other milestones in Winn history:

  • Winn establishes the Ricky Fund for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) research, through the efforts of Steve and Robin Dale to memorialize their Devon Rex, Ricky (2002)
  • Winn establishes the Bria Fund for FIP research, in memory of Susan Gingrich’s cat, Bria (2005)
  • Steve Dale is awarded the first Winn Feline Foundation Media Award for significant service to Winn and for promoting feline health (2005)
  • Winn establishes a Veterinary Memorial Program and Planned Giving Program (1999), Estate Planning Program and Virtual Memorial Program (2004), and Veterinary Honor Roll (2007)
  • Winn updates its website and adds a twice weekly blog focusing on current published research on cat health (2007)
  • Winn celebrates its 40th Anniversary as a charitable Foundation by development of a 40th Anniversary book featuring the story of Winn and artwork by the well-known artist, Jamie Perry (2008).
  • Winn joins social media using Facebook and Twitter (2008) and Pinterest (2012)
  • Winn partners with the AVMF on re-establishing the Excellence in Feline Research Award. Dr. Michael Lappin of Colorado State University is the first recipient (2009)
  • Winn partners with the AVMF to establish a $2500 scholarship for a feline-focused veterinary student (2009)
  • Winn establishes a monthly electronic newsletter for supporters of Winn and cat health and a monthly column in the CFA monthly electronic newsletter. “Winnie Sez” becomes a popular column. (2011)
  • Winn develops first audiocasts with transcripts of Winn Feline Foundation Symposium presentations in collaboration with the Veterinary Information Network (2011)
  • Winn collaborates with three other organizations (Morris Animal Foundation, American Veterinary Medical Foundation, and American Association of Feline Practitioners) to form the Cat Health Network, providing funds for close to 20 genomic-based cat health studies (2011)
  • Winn develops podcasts based on the results of Winn-funded health studies in cats and places them into syndication (2012)
  • Winn sponsors a speaker track for the first time at the American Animal Hospital Association annual conference, Phoenix (2013)