"It's more than simply a philanthropic relationship," says Mary Sharrock, external relations director at Nestle Purina Petcare, of the partnership between the pet food manufacturer Purina and the animal welfare charity Cats Protection. But for the next 12 months, unadulterated fundraising will take centre stage.
Cats Protection has been selected as the charity of the year for Purina, which produces both cat and dog food, including Felix, Go Cat and Winalot. The usual charity of the year activities will feature - a three peaks challenge, sponsored bakes and cycle rides. Purina's 250 employees aim to raise £25,000, of which the first £20,000 will be matched by the company.
But the relationship between Purina and Cats Protection stretches back two decades and has embraced much more than fundraising. Purina provides free cat food for some of the 6,000 unwanted cats looked after by Cats Protection.
The firm has also helped the charity set up an online pet shop and hires rooms at the charity's National Cat Centre for meetings. The close relationship is helped by the fact that the two organisations are located just 20 minutes apart in Sussex. "This is the next stage in a multi-faceted relationship," says Cats Protection's director of fundraising, Lewis Coghlin.
Purina's first charity of year, in 2012/13, was another long-term partner, the dog training charity Canine Partners. The company is considering alternating charity of the year partnerships between Cats Protection and Canine Partners, but says it wants to see how well the link with Cats Protection works.