Benedict Cumbercat and Ceva raise $10,000 for Virginia cat rescue

Meet Benedict “Benny” Cumbercat, the new spokescat for Ceva Animal Health’s Catego for Cats flea and tick control. Together, they have some powerful fundraising mojo.

With a little assist from Benny, Ceva helped raise more than $10,000 for the Chris Griffey Memorial Feline Foundation at AAHA-accredited Nova Cat Clinic in Arlington, Virginia. The foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in 2014 by practice owner Marcus Brown, DVM, is named for a beloved former staffer who committed suicide in 2012 due to compassion fatigue. It is dedicated to helping care for at-risk neonatal kittens at the hospital. Nova staffer Ellen Carozza, LVT, runs point.

Using foundation funds to cover expenses, Carozza and her coworkers take in sick and at-risk foster kittens and provide them with veterinary care and adoption services.

She’s also Benny’s owner.

Last October, Carozza entered Benny in a contest sponsored by Ceva, which was looking for a new cat to take over the role of Speedycat, Catego for Cats’ goggle-wearing mascot. Benny won, and fame beckoned in the form of print ads and YouTube commercials.

But what Ceva didn’t know was that Benny was already something of a celebrity with a fairly big social media presence of his own, thanks to a series of videos Carozza posted on Facebook that showed him playing doting foster dad to a number of indescribably cute neonatal rescue kittens Carozza was fostering at home.

When Ceva found out about Benny’s pre-existing fan base and the memorial foundation, they decided to promote both. Ceva posted a video to the Catego Facebook page featuring Benny (minus the Speedycat goggles) and Carozza, who talked about her work at the Nova Cat Clinic and the Chris Griffey Memorial Feline Foundation. Ceva donated $1 to the foundation for every social media share the video received, up to $5,000.

In turn, Carozza says she challenged people to match Ceva’s donation. She didn’t have to wait long.

“We actually had one client who gave us $5,000 to match it,” she said, which put $10,000 in the foundation’s coffers with a single social media share. And even after that one donation put them over the top, money continued to come in as other donors did their bit.

And Carozza needs every penny.

At the Nova Cat Clinic, neonatal rescue work is all volunteer based, and, until four years ago, all out of pocket. Carozza says they didn’t know what they were getting into. “It started with just a few kittens, then a few dozen kittens, and then a lot of kittens. And then [more than] fifty kittens in one year. It started to get pretty darn expensive.”

Back then, the staff paid for everything themselves—formula, medicine, bottles, and bandages. With the establishment of the foundation, things got easier. Since then, Carozza and her colleagues have treated more than 250 high-risk kittens. Last year, the survival rate was a remarkable 96%, an amazing success.

When asked what she attributed that to, Carozza said, “Having an awesome medical team that actually lets you think outside the box and treat these babies the way they're supposed to be treated.”

And not only is Carozza grateful to Ceva for their help, she believes in their product. “All of our kittens [who] get adopted through us go home with a three-pack of Catego to make sure that they start off on the right foot for preventive medicine.”

Help fund kittens at risk by donating to the Chris Griffey Memorial Feline Foundation.


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