NEW YORK, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Randy Jackson of FOX's "American Idol" and Morris(R) the Cat, famed 9Lives(R) cat food icon, announced today a campaign to rescue one million homeless cats. Morris and Randy are leveraging their celebrity status, and Morris'(TM) own humble beginnings as a shelter cat, in an effort to rescue one million of his fellow felines. Morris has adopted the very first cat in a million -- Li'l Mo(TM), who resembles a younger version of himself. Morris and his new sidekick Li'l Mo will appear together for special events and media interviews, in 9Lives advertisements and online at http://www.9Lives.com. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060919/NYTU097 ) Morris and Li'l Mo will also travel the country by bus to find homes for homeless cats in 34 cities nationwide, including New York, Chicago, Charlotte, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Houston, Cincinnati, Tampa and Pittsburgh. Check http://www.9lives.com for a complete listing. "I love cats, and I've always admired Morris the Cat, who himself was a shelter cat," said Randy Jackson. "Morris asked me to help him spread the word about his Million Cat Rescue campaign and the importance of cat adoption, and I was happy to lend my support. Each year, millions of cats are never given the chance to find loving homes, and I wanted to encourage people to adopt a cat -- they make such great pets! Morris and I have both adopted cats to kick off this incredible rescue effort. Morris, of course, selected the mirror image of his younger self and named him Li'l Mo. I named my little one "Dawg"!" 9Lives(R) brand is also partnering with 3,600 shelters across the country to distribute Morris' Million Cat Rescue(TM) Welcome Home Kits that will educate consumers on proper care for their cats at home. As a commitment to Morris'(TM) efforts, 9Lives brand will donate a percentage of all sales, including the newly formulated 9Lives Daily Essentials(TM) and 9Lives(R) Tender Cuts cat food, to animal rescue shelters nationwide. "With the launch of the new 9Lives Daily Essentials cat food, a product that will help to keep millions of cats happy and healthy, we wanted to work with Morris to support a cause that is near and dear to our spokescat's heart- cat adoption," said Ryan Thomas, 9Lives Brand Manager. "Through Morris' Million Cat Rescue campaign, Morris, Li'l Mo and 9Lives are going to educate people about the importance of adoption, and give people the resources and opportunity to adopt a cat of their own." A shocking 3 out of every 4 cats that enter shelters do not leave alive. The reality is that 5.5 million cats are euthanized each year, representing 71% of all cats that enter animal shelters. On the flip side, there are tremendous advantages for the entire family in owning a pet -- for adults, pet ownership can decrease the risk of having a heart attack by up to 6%. Pet ownership can teach children about responsibility, compassion and loyalty -- in addition, positive self-esteem is enhanced in children with pets. And pet ownership has been shown anecdotally to help children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to focus and concentrate. About Randy Jackson Randy Jackson, a Grammy Award winning producer, is a twenty-year music industry veteran. He started out at the age of 13 playing bass and got his big break when he joined the band Journey. As a musician and producer he also spent eight years, as the V.P. of A&R at Columbia Records followed by four years as Senior V.P. of A&R at MCA Records. Jackson recently completed his fifth season as one of the judges on FOX's hit television show "American Idol" which once again garnered record breaking ratings. Randy has recorded, toured and performed with the likes of Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, *NSYNC, Madonna, Elton John, Destiny's Child and many more. Randy has worked on over one thousand gold and multi-platinum albums. His contributions have helped to sell over 200 million albums worldwide. With his amazing talent, immense studio knowledge, performing, touring and record company experience, Randy is one of today's highly coveted music industry experts. Last fall, Jackson launched his own radio countdown show "Randy Jackson's Hit List" for the Westwood One radio network. About Morris(R) the Cat In 1968, a street-wise orange tabby from a Hinsdale, Illinois shelter was about to be put down when the shelter staff noticed something special about the cat -- a certain "star quality." They quickly contacted Bob Martwick, a professional animal handler quickly adopted him on the spot, and-20 minutes from death-- Morris(R) the Cat got a second chance. Recognizing his charisma, 9Lives(R) cat food quickly signed him up, and the entire nation took notice of this new star of their television commercials. From then on, Morris was to become the most recognizable cat in the world. He was ubiquitous. He graced the covers of national magazines, he was a darling of the national talk show circuit and even was cast in the major motion picture "Shamus," with Burt Reynolds. Morris'(TM) fame continued to grow over the years, and his accomplishments even include runs for the presidency in both 1988 and 1992 on the Finicky Party platform. Despite all of his accomplishments, it is important to mention that Morris never forgot where he came from. Morris the Cat is currently in the running for Favorite Advertising Icon at http://www.advertisingweek.com. About Del Monte Pet Products At Del Monte, our pet products nourish and enrich the lives of pets and pet parents by providing great-tasting, high-quality and innovative products for dogs and cats and by encouraging them to enjoy an active lifestyle together. With trusted brands including Meow Mix(R), Kibbles 'n Bits(R), 9Lives(R), Snausages(R), Pup-Peroni(R), Milk-Bone(R), Meaty Bone(R) and Pounce(R), our products enrich the connection between people and the pets they love. As a premier provider of taste-oriented pet food and pet snacks, our products play a key role in the lives of millions of pet families everyday. About Del Monte Foods Del Monte Foods is one of the country's largest and most well known producers, distributors and marketers of premium quality, branded food and pet products for the U.S. retail market, generating approximately $3 billion in net sales in fiscal 2006. With a powerful portfolio of brands including Del Monte(R), StarKist(R), S&W(R), Contadina(R), College Inn(R), Meow Mix(R), Kibbles 'n Bits(R), 9Lives(R), Milk-Bone(R), Pup-Peroni(R), Meaty Bone(R), Snausages(R) and Pounce(R), Del Monte products are found in nine out of ten American households. The Company also produces, distributes and markets private label food and pet products. For more information on Del Monte Foods Company (NYSE: DLM), visit the Company's website at http://www.delmonte.com. Del Monte. Nourishing Families. Enriching Lives. Every Day.
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