Monday, November 13, 2023

World Kindness Day--Please Consider Riverfront Cats

kindness homeless cats

Fellow pet lovers, since the pandemic, Florida is facing tremendous migration of residents with higher incomes from northern cities, while locals face higher cost of living and rent increasing by 40-50%.  At the same time, we have never witnessed so many evictions and locals losing their home; forced to go live elsewhere where they cannot bring their pets. Tragically many are left behind in the streets when shelters are full. The daily stories we learn about will leave you heartbroken and sometimes speechless.

The rate of homeless pets has not slowed down. Quite the opposite. The war continues in South Florida to rescue them, treat them, and find homes.  This year has been the worst. 

In addition, we continue to provide pet food for low- or no-income volunteers who are dedicated in managing the cat colonies (community cats are part of the eco system much like opossums). See our post regarding Little Havana by clicking here. 

Here are just a few of the stray or abandoned kitties we helped in addition to buying cat food for other volunteers in the community who want to help look after the cats. 

Oreo received treatment and after a week was released to his colony.
His girlfriend was missing him.  Awwww

Vet Bill - $123.26 was our contribution to overall vet bill

Vet Bill- $370.00

This is Tommy. He was abandoned by his family in
West Palm Beach and was found in neighbor's yard
with large, bloody gash. Thankfully our volunteer took
excellent care that he healed nicely.

VET BILL: $1307

Please consider donating to help these voiceless,

 helpless creatures

It really takes a village. Sometimes we need funding. Other times there is greater need for foster guardians.

Please click on the donate button below. It will take you to our PayPal site for our umbrella organization Pawsitively Humane, Inc. a 501c3 nonprofit organization


Friday, August 5, 2022

Helping our Neighbors in Little Havana

Miami community cats
Elegance on the sidewalk of Little Havana

While we continue to care for our Riverfront Cats, we have our eyes and ears open for cases nearby where we can make a difference. Right next door to downtown Miami is Little Havana. 

This humble neighborhood is home not only to Cuban and Central American families, but also home to scores of stray roosters, chickens, and cats. Believe it or not they coexist! Why? Well because they are all fed daily by a local volunteer. With a regular food source, the cats have no desire to chase the chickens like prey. If anything, the roosters attack the cats! Truly! Why? Well because the roosters prefer cat food to rice and grains. haha!

Christine works in the area and meets a local woman, named Tamara, who feeds not only the cats and chickens and roosters but also the pigeons and squirrels daily. Tamara is their guardian angel. 

Tamara pets Angel (May 2019), a very sweet but sick stray kitty

Sadly this incredibly sweet kitty passed away in 2020

Free roaming hen and chick on Cuban Memorial Blvd

As informed residents we know the sad reality of what may happen. One day Tamara shared some sad stories of a local resident poisoning the cats. Christine explained the importance of having the cats spayed and neutered to stop reproducing and therefore stop the suffering. 

FACT: Half of all stray kittens suffer and die before age 8 weeks

Tamara, like many local residents, has little to no income for these extra costs. So we sounded the alarm for volunteers to trap the cats and take them to an animal clinic for spaying and neutering, especially the kittens once they were old enough. 

Miami Stray cats
(Left) male cat or Tom cat    (Right) female cat -her name is Leslie

Feeding so many (over 20+) is another big cost.  So, we readily donated bags of food and cans of high-quality cat food and kitten food.  

Kitty smells cat food in blue bag donated by our nonprofit organization

We want to continue to help Tamara with this major feat. She is the only person who feeds the 20+ cats and 50+ roosters/chickens and baby chicks, spanning several blocks. She currently is unemployed.  

It really takes a village, everyone contributing what they can: cat food, time to feed, fundraising, taking cats to vet clinic...

Please consider making a donation to help provide food and spay/neutering for these sweet cats. Any amount is appreciated whether it's $5, $25, $50, $500.

Click on DONATE button on right column. If viewing from a cell phone, please switch to website view.

Or you can send funds via PayPal to 

We are a 501c3 organization for tax purposes. 


While we do not know the entire history of these cats, most have lived outdoors. Some may not adapt to living indoors right away and some may prefer an indoor/outdoor access. If you think you would like to adopt one of these cats we could try on a trial basis. Our team will offer guidance on what to do and what to expect or not expect.  Anyone interested in adopting or fostering must fill out an application and show driver's license. A home check (we visit your home) will be conducted to ensure you home is "cat safe" much like baby-proofing your home. 

If you would like to foster or adopt a cat, please contact us at

Thursday, September 16, 2021

We Lost a Legend--Romeo


Romeo 2013

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of the sweetest cat at the Riverfront colony who got along with all the other cats.  

Romeo just relaxing-Nov 2013

Romeo had developed dental disease (a sign when the tongue starts to stick out) and the infection coupled with his FIV caused him to lose weight, discolor his coat and slowly deteriorate. Thanks to a kind resident, she offered to provide hospice care for his remaining weeks. He was estimated to be about 13 to 14 years old. Not bad for an outdoor cat with FIV. (Feline AIDS).

Romeo resting in his tee pee bed

Romeo was loved by everyone who met him. Especially the security guards of the neighboring condos who interacted with him daily. He was a cool cat, laid back and loved to rub on your legs.  He often would meow just to say hello, wanting affection, not food. He was a true gentlecat. 

Romeo we fed you and cared you for the past 12 years. Your meows and tender looks and affectionate ways are missed by everyone who met you.  You were such a joy and taught us so much about the essence of community cats. Now you are over the rainbow bridge with your great love Aurora, and the other Riverfront cats who have passed on Lion King, Cosette, Fanny, Sinbad, Mama, Gabriel, Sabrina, Muki, Scotty, Missy, Master & Zeke. We know you are together running freely, having a grand time. As you should.

You were the heart of the Riverfront community. The Riverfront will never be the same. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Never Did I Imagine I Would be a Pioneer

by Christine Michaels

When someone would ask, "where do you see yourself 10 years from now," in  my "younger" years, normally in a job interview I had a prepared statement. Something along the lines of a position utilizing my degree... I now say I have no idea. In this fast-paced digital life where everything changes and evolves yearly even monthly, it is impossible to answer that question.  It is my hope to be doing what I love most.

 In April 2009 I moved from south downtown (Brickell area) to a new building in north downtown, within a neglected neighborhood--empty gravel lots, old, dilapidated buildings and many stray cats.  Never in my life did I live in a neighborhood with stray cats. I thought they only existed in other countries. How wrong I was. That led me to do some homework and seek answers to my burning questions about how to help these stray cats that looked hungry and sad. Thus, the more I learned, the more hands-on I became in helping these helpless creatures. 

A community cat in downtown Miami

So I started learning how to care for these stray cats and kittens and find homes for the friendly ones. But there were so many. A few volunteers across South Florida would never put a dent in the estimated half a million homeless pets.  Education was key to get others informed and involved. So I started blogging to share what I was learning with hopes of motivating residents to take action in their neighborhood. This was in 2009.

First I never realized there were other cat bloggers. And some who had been blogging consistently for over a year.  I wasn't alone! We shared our knowledge and love for cats through our blogging. 

At a pet blogging conference in May 2012, the keynote speaker was Betsy Saul, founder of She shared the history and progress of our nation in helping stray and unwanted dogs. But the world was sorely behind in science when it came to stray cats. The population of stray and feral cats was only rising at epidemic proportions. That is the greatest need.

A slide from Betsy Saul's presentation

She went on about how to start a movement. The room was so quiet, Betsy had us spellbound.

When she asked the question how many blogs were dedicated to feral and community cats, out of an entire conference room of 200 attendees, only two people raised their hands. Ironically those two individuals raised their hands from the "newbie" table.   The two bloggers were Peter Wolf of and me. Certainly there were others in the country right? 

It was not until after the conference that I met a veterinarian at my regular job and she brought her dog on a tour that I was guiding. I was excited to talk to her about pet care especially cats. When she asked me how long I had been blogging, she turned to me in amazement and said, "Do you realize you're a pioneer ?"  I stood dumbfounded.  I studied in college and held a Master's degree in business. Never in my dreams did I picture myself a trailblazer in a field not related to my academic studies.

To learn that my hard work, blood, sweat and tears was paving the way was one of the greatest discoveries and joys of my life. 

I had joined the ranks of cat bloggers like Bonnie Koenig, Ingrid King, Deb Barnes, Debbie Glovatsky, Tamar Arslanian, and Caren Gittleman to name a few. 

Christine Michaels, Snoopy, Deb Barnes, GloGirly

Pioneering women. 

Little average me. 

Ten years ago:
I had no idea I would become a cat owner.
I had no idea I would become a cat lover.
I had no idea I would become a stray and feral cat trapper and rescuer.
I had no idea I would become an award-winning, nationally recognized cat blogger.
I had no idea I would be a pioneer. 

I Am A Pioneer. 

And I used to say I'm not a cat person!

The power of social media and passion combined with determination can move mountains to make a difference in my city. Yes we are making a difference. 

Join us--and let's move mountains!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Sweet Romeo Needs Your Love and Help

Romeo, always with tongue out

One of the sweetest cats in our colony is no doubt a black cat named Romeo.  Always gentle. Ready to greet you. And no he is not expecting food. If anything, he is disappointed if you serve food before spending quality time bonding with him, petting him. He is a true gentlecat.  Manners and affection come first. He is loved by all, the volunteers that feed him, the security staff, guests, visitors, and passerbys.   

Romeo as well other Riverfront Cats are now turning 11 years old.  Visibly Romeo is showing signs of illness and pain. His beautiful black cat has turned red. We knew the time would come when they start to age and reach this sad stage of deterioration.

As you can see Romeo is skinny. We can feel the spinal cord. With other healthy cats this is not visible. Also his shiny black coat has dulled and turned red, a sign of deficiency. While his tongue tip sticking out makes him even cuter, the drooling concerns us. Normally this is a sign of oral difficulty.  Upon feeding him dry food, he winces and waits for the moist food.

Romeo looking skinny and his coat turning red

At the vet for his examination, one could see the back teeth were in horrible condition and would need to be extracted. Romeo also has FIV, thus making it harder to fight any infection. We obtained an estimate for dental extractions. Below is a copy of the estimate.

Therefore friends we ask for your help in raising funds to help Romeo.  We have zero funds now during the pandemic.  Our goal is to raise $400 to cover the first visit and the procedure for dental work. Please click here to donate with Paypal or debit/credit card. Or Paypal payments can be sent to, our umbrella nonprofit.

There are also two new cats that sadly were dumped in the neighborhood.  So funding is needed for their vet exam and to get the necessary vaccinations, flea/tick treatment and spayed/neutered.  Remember no amount is too small.

As always we welcome donations of cat food. We have never missed a day of feeding. Preferably moist food with lots of gravy. Friskies canned food with gravy is their favorite easy on the teeth.

Thank you all for your generosity.

Stay safe.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Judge Listens to Pet Advocates in Animal Cruelty Cat Hoarding Hearing (Cheryn Smilen)

Cat advocates animal cruelty Miami Dade
Charlene Grall (Board Member Cat Network) Karina Goldenberg  (cat rescuer/volunteer),
Michael Rosenberg (President of Pets Trust), Christine Michaels (President of Riverfront Cats)
Yatir Nitzany (volunteer and lead organizer for "Justice for Smilen Cats")
inside courthouse after Smilen hearing

An entire year and half has gone by since Cheryn Smilen was arrested in March 2018, the self proclaimed cat rescuer who shockingly turned out to be a hoarder. Over 30 cats were starved to death in an efficiency in North Miami with no air condition, food or water in over 30 days. The discovery was so shocking that both the lead investigator at Miami Dade Animal Services and police detective declared it the worst case of animal cruelty in Miami. An entire animal/pet advocate community was devastated. One of their own was not a rescuer but an evil monster.  The news spread instantly, in a digital second. A Facebook page was created to track the case. (Warning some pictures are graphic!).

 In the first hearing, Smilen was released on bond. Cat rescuers who knew and interacted with Smilen patiently waited for the wheels of justice. Behind the scenes, prosecutors and defense attorneys do a dance. Communications back and forth to get a sense of what the other wants.  Deals are often made to prevent court trials and from sending offenders to prison, due to lack of prisons. Extensive probation time, we learned, is the norm.

Our founder and President, Christine Michaels was asked to join the core group in leading efforts to maintain visibility of the case. The group met with the prosecutor to learn about the law and proceedings and alerted the pet community of updates.  Prosecutor Schwartz promised to advise us of when a next hearing would occur.

On August 28, 2019, a hearing was requested by  Smilen's  attorney to ask for "downward departure".  In layman's terms it means that the defense attorney wanted to ask for probation for Smilen claiming she suffered from depression and anxiety. Prior to the hearing behind the scenes, the prosecutor offered 15 year probation, no jail time. (This was before our group met with Prosecutor Schwartz and urged to go to trial). The attorney for Smilen, considered it too excessive. The prosecutor essentially offered "take it or leave it". There would be no other deal. The defense chose not to take the deal and to take their chance on minimal probation. We awaited the hearing date.

In a hearing, the judge may allow the public to speak.  Thankfully Judge Millian did allow residents to speak as long as they maintained courtroom decorum. Christine was asked to speak on behalf of cat and animal advocates.

In a passionate and well prepared speech, Christine stood before the judge and introduced herself and the group and carefully alerted him who was following this case and why.

I represent not only my fellow animal advocates here in this courtroom, and Miami but all over. Your honor an entire nation is watching this particular case
As volunteers that are in the trenches of pet rescue, we come across and see and hear about animal and pet cruelty cases, but the police repeatedly tell us over and over and over again, '"there is not enough evidence to arrest". In the case of Cheryn Smilen there is overwhelming evidence...."  

She continued to share some details of the gruesome discovery. Her conclusion was for a maximum punishment. (Technically it would be 30 years considering the guidelines that Smilen does not have prior record.  It is doubtful she will get that much if convicted, but one can only hope a jury will convict and the judge will seek a punishment that fits the crime within the law).

Other speakers included Yatir the organizer, who personally interacted with Smilen and offered insight that the defendant had a team of supporters around her that offered to help Smilen feed and care for the cats. That Smilen's actions were deliberate. Michael Rosenberg also spoke and let the judge know there would have been 200 supporters in the courtroom if there was space.  The tiny courtroom only allowed for 20 outside observers.   Detective Judy Webb spoke last and stunned the courtroom with almost an entire recount of the horrific conditions.

The judge listened intently.  When the five speakers were finished, the judge asked the prosecutors for their recommendation of sentencing. They offered 365 days plus many years of probation. Now this may see insignificant to us animal advocates, but we learned going to trial is a gamble.  Smilen could get less jail time.  We urged the prosecutor to go for it. We wanted to take that risk.

Holding back tears at the detective's observation, advocates clutched each other's hands just as families do when the judge is about to announce the fate of a killer and took a deep breath. When the judge ruling came he rejected the defense's motion. A huge sigh was released.  (No clapping or signs are permitted in courtrooms).

Prosecutors Kathleen Hoague and Helen Page Schwartz asked the judge to sentence Smilen, if convicted, to at least 364 days in jail, followed by probation and forbidding her from working with animals. By his ruling, Milian signaled even that possible sentence was too low.  Miami Herald article 

The case now goes to trial. Exactly what we wanted.  A case this horrific, a new low in Miami should not be swept under the rug with probation in our opinion in understanding the law. The trial date was set for December the 9th. A tiny step forward.

After the hearing, local media that was covering the event inside the courtroom , came outside to interview organizers.

News coverage appeared on all local stations.  Organizers are still collecting the video.

animal cruelty laws
Christine Michaels interviewed by Channel 4 local news after the hearing

We await the trial date.  In the meantime, we hope Miami Dade follows the example of another county in Florida, Brevard county in taking swift action in addressing and arresting those who commit animal cruelty.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Tiny Tigger Fights for His Life

Hello pet supporters,

Tiny Tigger rescue kitten

Here is our latest rescue--Tiny Tigger. Our volunteer Sabrina was feeding the mama cat and other community cats in rough neighborhood (Overtown). Unfortunately she was told by reps of the building she can not enter private property to feed.  No time to explain the gravity of situation, she took in the mama cat and all her seven kittens.

Mama cat and six kittens

The smallest, Tigger, next day was crashing and turned ice cold. Sabrina rushed him to local vet (VCA) and was told it looks grim but were able to give him glucose (levels were very low) and revive him. Sabrina took Tigger home and monitored him the entire night and day, keeping him warm, bottle feeding her every 2 hours but unfortunately he started to crash again. This time Sabrina rushed him to MVS the 24 hour pet hospital.  The vet instructed that Tigger is delicate and needs to stay overnight a few nights.

The current bill is $650 and expected to increase to double that amount.
We need your prayers, support and donations.  Please remember no amount is too small!

Thank you for your kindness in supporting our efforts.

sick kitten rescue kitten
Tiny Tigger is six weeks old

Friday, May 25, 2018

Sugar Bear Tabby with Bad Eye Saved from Streets, Needs a Home

tabby cat sweet cat stray cat Miami cat
Tabby stray cat with bad eye improving.
Such a sweet face!

Hello cat lovers,

Here is our latest rescue. His name is simply Tabby. Why? Well because he is part of outdoor colony that was fed nightly by resident volunteers in downtown Miami. They noticed his bad eye and took him in to vet for treatment.
Cat with eye conjunctivitis
Tabby's left eye looks murky

Tabby chillin' in pet carrier on way to vet.
This is no ordinary cat!

This sugar bear has a bad case of conjunctivitis and eye inflammation. The good news- with daily drops it is stabilized.  Therefore he can not return to the streets.

murky cat eye
Vet examining bad eye

While many outdoor cats have difficulty adjusting to indoors or would experience great stress at visiting a vet, not this Tabby! Amazingly he is mellow through it all. Enjoying the clean soft blanket, the regular food, the soothing voices and lots of affection.  Oh does he love affection. The videos and photos are proof.

Sweet downtown Miami street cat very calm at vet
Tabby ready to take a nap waiting for the vet. Why not?

So we are on a mission to find him a home.  Tabby is middle aged about 5-6 years old.  Neutered. Fully vaccinated. He tested positive for FIV, and negative for FeLV.  Parasite-free. Tabby is also excellent with other dogs and cats.

Downtown Miami street cat sleeping on bed
Tabby sleeping soundly on bed of foster guardian.

FIV (Feline Aids) is not a death warrant.  Cats with FIV can live with other cats safely. He has some minor dental issues, but no long term health issues. He needs a proper indoor home to monitor his eye issues and keep him healthy.

Still purring after the vet. Amazing!

This is great pet for adoption. With middle age cats you already know their personality. He's mellow yellow. A "sugar bear" as evident in all the photos and videos. Welcomes sleeping with his guardian. Gets along with everyone and every pet.

Stray Tabby cat resting pet carrier
A followup visit after one week.
Tabby's eye is looking a lot better.

To meet Tabby please call or text Sabrina at 1-786-554-0084. (Downtown Miami). Let her know you saw this posting on Riverfront Cats website.

If you are not able to adopt Tabby, but would like to help, please share this information with friends via email or social media or word of mouth. Or donations are welcome to cover the vet bill. He still has another follow-up visit, the third vet visit.

Feel free to make a donation of any amount. Our umbrella organization is Pawsitively Humane.

Vet Bill

Click on mobile version of this site to get the right column and click DONATE.

Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for caring.
Thank you for making a difference in the lives of homeless, voiceless cats and our community!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Raise Funds for Riverfront Cats by Reading!

Miami cats homeless cats in Miami Deb Barnes Janiss Garza

At Riverfront Cats, not only do we lead by example in feeding and managing a cat colony and educate residents about TNRM (Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage), but we have rescued many cats over the years that were born nearby and found their way or were dumped here.  Volunteers and residents have also rescued other cats in the Miami area.  It's all about teamwork.

We have faced many sad cases in trying to help and rescue lost or injured cat.  It's part of the effort. Then there are the stories of rescued cats that reached their "happily-ever-after" ending. Oh we cling to those stories for dear life. To give us the energy to keep going; to uplift us after our hearts shatter in pieces from a cat not making it.  Yes rescuers and homeless pet supporters all need a good dose of happy news, happy stories.

A Great Cat Book Read

I am thrilled to share the book Rescued Volume 2: The Healing Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes. A beautiful anthology that will have you smiling, laughing, and uplifted with each new story.  Here is a great review that best sums up the book

rescue cats community cats Miami Cats Deb Barnes
Deb Barnes hugs Jazmine, they rescued eachother


Read and Raise Funds for Riverfront Cats

And now our own volunteer board member and award winning cat author, Deb Barnes, is helping raise funds for Riverfront Cats through this book.  Deb contributed to one of those touching rescued stories from the voice of her angel cat, Mr. Jazz and how he lead a sweet rescue ginger furball Jazmine (pictured above) to Deb and her family.  You really have to read her sneak preview.

By purchasing the book, a proceed will be donated to Riverfront Cats to help us with ongoing costs of caring for community, stray and injured cats--food, care, shelters, flea/tick medicines, spaying/neutering. This is wonderful and very much needed!

Order Your Copy of Rescued Volume 2

You can order your copy at Amazon. And if you would like to help in other ways, at Riverfront Cats we welcome any type of donation.

Other donations needed:
  1. Cat food is always needed and feel free to email us for the brand of food they eat and to make arrangements to have it dropped off.  
  2. Old towels, sheets, blankets.  These are needed for the outdoor cat shelters or for transporting sick or injured cats. White towels are the best as bleach can be used to disinfect them well.
  3. Or financial donations. Just click on the donate button on top right column.  With the volatile weather (rain, extreme cold, winds) we have to create more shelters for the cats and funding is needed.
  4. A dedicated part-time volunteer to answer emails, manage social media, etc. Education is key to overturning homeless pet epidemic in Miami!
You heard the expression, rescue pets and their owners "they saved eachother". It's not a saying. It is pure truth. After reading the book you will definitely appreciate cats a little more, their intuition, their antics, their love.  The healing power of purrs.

Monday, October 16, 2017

National Feral Cat Day 2017

Miami community cats feral cats homeless pets
Gabriel relieved to see us the night after Hurricane Irma

It's National Feral Cat Day! Which means our community cats (feral, semi-feral and friendly cats) will all receive extra love and attention, and petting and their favorite food and treats.

At Riverfront Cats, we lead by example in caring for community cats.  While we can't trap or foster every stray cat in Miami, our goal is to educate others who come upon a stray cat or kitten, what they can do to help the cat and their neighborhood.   As more residents are educated the better chance we have to educate politicians and keep building a movement towards reversing homeless pets. 

This year we missed a bullet when Hurricane Irma shifted west of Miami and we were impacted by the outer bands. Thankfully all our cats were unaffected.  The silver lining in this chaotic time was gaining an understanding about assessing and preparing for a hurricane.  Our last post, addresses the question, "Is It Better to Bring In or Leave Colony Cats Outdoors During a Hurricane?".

 We continue to manage our colony with great care, ensuring they are in decent health and have shelter from regular rain and cold.  Above, Sabrina is pictured taking a nap on the upper bunk.

national feral cat day bunk beds for cats
Sabrina & Gabriel love their bunk beds.
However some of our cats, at least two, are showing signs of illness. They are now nine years old. Also, with the regular rain and now the addition of roosters, chickens, opossums and raccoons,  more food is needed to feed the growing brood.  It's a mini jungle here in downtown Miami! Plus the shelters must be replaced every 5-6 months. It's the same as caring for any family, any home. 

Sadly many pets were dumped by owners before the hurricane, that some of our volunteers are caring for them.

It's always the same individuals, the ones who have the least, that give the most. But unfortunately funds are not limitless. It's time for us to come together.

BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION for helping feral cats
Therefore we would like to take this opportunity to ask for your involvement and help in considering a donation. Any amount. $10, $20, $50, $100.  No amount is too small or large.

Simply, click on the DONATE button below or on the right column to make your donation.  Your statement will say PHI or Pawsitively Humane Inc, our umbrella organization.

You are always welcome to meet the Riverfront Cats, and take photos and video !!

 CONFLICT RESOLUTION - we are here for you
And if you find yourself in a hostile situation with a neighbor or anyone else in caring for community cats, Christine, our founder and President is also ambassador and can help diffuse the situation. The goal is for harmony for all--residents, cats and the neighborhood. No one wants conflict, there is always a solution!!  We are here to help.