Saturday, May 21, 2016

Biker Cat Rides the Harley Across the Rainbow Bridge

Owner Christopher Coppola and Biker Cat in California

It is with sadness and a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of a celebrity cat--Otto, more famously known as Biker Cat.

While his owner carries a famous last name, (Christopher Coppola is nephew to movie director Francis Ford Coppola and brother to Nicholas Cage), it is Otto who took the Hollywood and family spotlight in the past decade once he was featured in Animal Planet riding a motorcycle with his own jacket and goggles around Los Angeles.  This was his lifestyle, hence the nickname, Biker Cat. The two of them proved, that "Real Men Love Cats". Click here to view video by Christopher Coppola.

On an Animal Planet segment focusing on the physical attributes and nature of Burmese black cats, Otto exemplified their athletic build, the distinct gold eyes set wide apart, short silky coat, and the need to follow their owners.  The Burmese is the cousin to the Siamese cat.

Biker Cat was also the celebrity guest at the inaugural Le Chat Noir gala, the first ever pet charity event in Miami focusing on black cats back in October 2010. The brainchild of Christine Michaels and organized by The Cat Network, Le Chat Noir elevated black cats to overturn misconceptions and myths and thus to increase adoptions of these cats, the number one color of homeless cats.

Biker cat and Chistopher sitting on motorcycle in downtown Miami for guest appearance
adopt black cats shelter cats
Christopher, Biker Cat and Christine Michaels on Harley motorcycle in front of EPIC hotel

Otto wearing his goggles.
Later that evening in the Design District of Miami, Florida...
Christopher Coppola and Otto emerge from limousine.
A fedora hat was custom made for him by
the Hollywood costume designer for Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Biker Cat walks the red carpet.
He doesn't even blink with 300 guests excitedly watching and flashing cameras.

"Black cats are sleek, strong, intelligent and elegant. To demonstrate these qualities we glamorized and spotlighted them by hosting this event in a Hollywood black and silver theme and where young black cats adorned with Swarovski collars, were trained to walk on leashes down the cat walk." shares Chairperson Christine Michaels. "With Biker Cat's appearance, it is still the most memorable and talked about pet charity event in Miami."

Otto: "Are you getting this?"
Otto is loving the ladies.

 To infuse all that is Miami, the event also included bikini models unveiling a new swimwear line. To top it off,  black cats strutted down the catwalk in their diamond collars. To view more photos from the event, click here

Le Chat Noir reached the pages of a widely-read, local magazine. Brickell Magazine features the movers and shakers, leaders of downtown Miami in real estate, fashion, business, and other segments. 

Article in Brickell Magazine.
(To view better, right click on image. Choose Open in New Tab and zoom in)

Le Chat Noir black cats rescue cats charity gala
Jennifer Angel (Emcee & International Astrologist) and
Christine Michaels (Chairperson) Oct 2010

To learn more about the Le Chat Noir event, click here

Volunteer pictured with 6 month black kitten model that strutted catwalk

Biker cat you are a legend and taught the world so much about the intelligence and companionship of cats. Thank you. Ride that Harley motorcycle Otto. Ride over the bridge. Never stop riding, because we will never forget you.

black cats Burmese cats fedora hat

Friday, April 8, 2016

Please Nominate Us for a Nose-to-Nose Award!

It's that time of year. The Nose-to-Nose Award nomination rounds. Last year was the second year Riverfront Cats was nominated and our first win!  Given the company we shared, we did not expect it at all. This truly uplifted our team that our hard work, sweat, and tears did not go unnoticed. It also gives us important recognition and added weight as experts in our field so we are taken more seriously when confronted with challenges and people who do not understand the nature of cats--local residents or city/county leaders and lawmakers. (You can read more about our win by clicking here).

The nomination round is open and we depend on you, our loyal followers, to share our efforts in hopes to win another award in raising awareness about the nature and plight of homeless cats.


The following are two categories we recommend. Feel free to nominate us for other categories!




 We feel strongly about this category. Few blogs are dedicated to stray and feral cats--their nature, habits, ways to approach them, communicate with them, nurture, trap and capture them...We are constantly learning and sharing.  We teach A to Z. For example, we teach about TNRM-Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage:  How to use a box trap vs. a drop trap; where to take cats for low cost or free spay/neuter; how to socialize a cat, how to read body language; how to build cat shelters, etc.. We have been contacted by local media for input on evolving county issues and potential laws that would impact homeless pets and the local animal shelter. Christine Michaels, founder and President, has spoken before county commissioners with appeals to increase county budget for spay/neuter and other programs to reduce the number of homeless animals especially cats. For a tiny nonprofit organization, Riverfront Cats covers a large gamut from rolling up our sleeves and working in the gut-wrenching trenches of the feral, stray and injured cat world to teaching others how to do the same, to working with county and city leaders. 

Contact Name for Creator of the Work being entered: Christine Michaels
Contact Email for the Creator of the Work being entered:
BlogPaws Community Profile Page of nominee:


POST: To Rescue a Cat, You Have to be Smart and Creative Like a Cat

Yes we love those rescue stories of black and feral cats that were saved, healed and adopted. The lows and crescendo highs uplift our hearts and bring tears of joy. This year we shared more educational posts about the hands on work it takes to rescue and capture difficult-to-trap cats. This is reality. From kittens inside buildings about to be demolished to this stray cat (pictured above) that was feral but could not move his hind legs. But never be discouraged. There is always a solution! A little creative thinking and we were able to rescue the cat hours before Animal Control would have arrived. We made a difference for an unknown, stray/un-neutered cat that was suffering.

Contact Name for Creator of the Work being entered: Christine Michaels
Contact Email for the Creator of the Work being entered:
BlogPaws Community Profile Page of nominee:

POST: A Cat with No Name (Pawsitively Humane)

Christine wrote this post on our umbrella website Pawsitively Humane as a continuation to the story of rescuing a feral cat that could not move his hind legs after a car struck him. This posed new challenges. The first post (see above) presented the scenario and practical, creative solution for capturing the cat using items laying around the home.  This story shared the poignant, emotional story of giving meaning, and a name to cat no one knew before that day. Stray cats are cats too. Christine chose to write this story on the PHI (Pawsitively Humane, Inc.) website for strategic reasons:  to educate all pet lovers.  Sharing this story outside the cat-centric blog of Riverfront Cats helps us fulfill our mission of educating the larger pet-loving world about cats.

Contact Name for Creator of the Work being entered: Christine Michaels
Contact Email for the Creator of the Work being entered:
BlogPaws Community Profile Page of nominee:

POST: Another Battle Lost for Homeless Pets in Miami Dade County

Miami Dade Animal Services spay neuter homeless pets
Christine Michaels speaks before County Commissioners
All sessions are televised live for county residents

Addressing the epidemic of homeless pets and animals in Miami Dade County is daunting.  Animal advocates and pet lovers have united and started to add pressure to city and county leaders to work together alongside residents and nonprofit animal welfare organizations to come up with solutions. This is no easy task and a process that will take years for laws and solutions to evolve. Founder and President, Christine Michaels, spoke before the Miami Dade County Commissioners during a session to vote for additional funding for the local Animal Services. Christine spoke with conviction and eloquence in presenting the case for needed funding. Her presentation and demeanor also helped to overturn misconceptions of "crazy cat people".  While in the end the commissioners voted against the funding, Christine planted the seed. She will continue to meet with County Commissioners individually. With patience and determination she is confident the day will come where animal advocates and ultimately homeless pets will win.

Contact Name for Creator of the Work being entered: Christine Michaels
Contact Email for the Creator of the Work being entered:
BlogPaws Community Profile Page of nominee:

Facebook Account:
Twitter Account:


Be sure to scroll to bottom of the screen for the nomination form.

Thank you Riverfront Cats and Pawsitively Humane followers and animal advocates for taking a few minutes to help us fulfill our mission!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

To Rescue a Cat, You Have to be Smart & Creative like a Cat

This injured feral cat with no mobility in hind legs could drag himself with upper body and legs
but here he is losing strength and would not take the bait in the box trap. Time for another solution.

Rescuing an injured cat can pose unique challenges never encountered before. With each rescue we learn new lessons and create or buy tools for the next rescue. To rescue a cat, you have to be smart like a cat and come up with creative spontaneous solutions!

Today I received a call from a friend that his brother found a cat lying in middle of the road unable to move his hind legs. This occurred late night. Then at sunrise the cat had dragged itself to nearby safety, the garden of my friend's apartment complex.  The cat was still alive, breathing, but his hind legs were immobile and twitching intermittently.

Injured feral cat dragged himself to safety during the night.

Fortunately I had purchased a new collapsible drop trap for difficult-to-trap cats.  This orange cat was definitely feral.  Immobile but fierce as his head spun around, fangs glaring, hissing wildly, and front claws ejecting like missiles.  Yes, the drop trap was needed when he showed no signs of taking the bait for the regular drop trap.

Interesting enough, Laurent and I were able to place the drop trap over the cat without a fight. That was easy! But the next part, normally the easy part, proved more difficult.

Normally with a stick we gently provoke the cat to go into the adjoining box trap to transport him. Herein was the problem.  He had no intention of moving.  Perhaps the stress of recent events exhausted him, his energy and will to fight were waning.  We tried to lift the trap and thought perhaps we could push him into box trap. The cat said NO! Fangs, claws, hissing were activated.

Drop trap great solution for difficult cats and animals to catch or trap
A drop trap was placed over this feral cat that could not move his hind legs

I turned to social media in hopes other rescue groups could offer suggestions.  But at 2pm on a weekday, most people were at work and activity was low on Facebook.  Then Laurent came up with a logical solution.  A pole with noose used to control rabid stray dogs might work here. A medical firefighter crew were arriving to help a distressed resident. We asked if they had this noose. They said no and suggested we call Animal Control. So I did but it would take two hours for them to arrive. Two hours is an eternity when an animal is in pain and suffering.  I turned to Laurent and suggested he must have items around his apartment to make one.  As Laurent went inside, I continued to provide updates and answer PMs and comments on Facebook. Word was circulating. But no one had solutions to our dilemma.  Sure enough Laurent returned with a pole, a computer cable, wire hanger, duct tape and pliers.  In less than ten minutes he created the noose.  But would it work?

Homemade contraption- resizeable noose

Old cleaning rod, computer cable, metal hangar and duct tape

Opening the slant end of the box trop, Laurent reached down the trap, into the drop trap and in one attempt gently wrapped the noose around the cat.  His claws clenching to the ground, he did not, could not fight back. Laurent gently tightened the noose enough to slowly drag the cat a few inches into the drop trap. IT WORKED! Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! Two heads are better than one sexy cat lady's head!

Cat holds onto cage with claws after being dragged into trap.

The cat readily ate the moist Friskies chicken and salmon with gravy. Poor kitty was hungry.

Poor cat was hungry. Notice he doesn't even use his front legs to position his mouth over the can.
His energy and strength are declining.

To learn more about what happened to the cat at the vet, read the continuation by clicking here.

So now my emergency cat lady rescue kit continues to grow.  My next purchase is a fishing net. As I walk around my neighborhood I am discovering other animals that need help. Including ducks. Yes in downtown Miami, the heart of the city, we have a jungle--chickens, hens, roosters, iguanas, raccoon, ducks...A fishing net is definitely useful for catching kittens, and now for birds and ducks. So one of these days I'll drive outside of the city to a sportmans store. I envision Tim the Toolman greeting me at the door.  Field trip!

If you ever get a call or see an injured animal, look around your home for these items so you are fully prepared to help the animal or pet to delay the suffering. The collapsible trap is great for all kinds of animals--cats, kittens, small dogs, birds, ducks, raccoons...


[Click here to see my video]
Tomahawk collapsible drop trap (purchased on Amazon) - $115
Tomahawk, double handle box trap
Pet carrier, medium size
Fishing net with handle
Wire cutters (for cutting fencing or barbed wire)
Duct tape
Gloves (I have rubber gloves for grip. Thick Playtex kitchen gloves)
Towels, old ones
Paper towels
Wet wipes
Moist and dry cat food
Paper bowls
Plastic bags (large ones to place under the trap in your car; small ones for trash)

Feel free to ask questions by leaving a comment below!


At Pawsitively Humane/Riverfront Cats we manage and care for a colony of cats. This posting serves to provide education and guidance on how you can help your community. We do not have a facility, only a small group of volunteers to help manage the Riverfront Cats.

 If you need assistance with a stray, feral or injured cat, please search for local groups on Facebook. Many residents form online groups to help one another. Animal control will come out if there is injured or dead animal but most likely the animal will be put to sleep. If you and/or neighbors and concerned residents want to financially contribute to vet costs to determine if injuries are minor or fatal in the event the cat can live, then it's best to jump into action yourself and seek support from neighbors and local residents.

Good Luck!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Cosette is Missing--Why Do Community or Feral Cats Disappear?

feral cats community cats Miami cats
Cosette licking her lips after dinner

Another one of our beloved Riverfront Cats is missing. The second one in two months. Cosette.

Presumed dead, we are heartbroken at the disappearance of another cat.  Two weeks later, Sinbad also went missing.  "What is suddenly happening?!" our team asked.

First, it is natural to become attached to cats in a colony that you regularly feed and manage.  These are live creatures, much like our own pets, that we care for on a daily basis. Even though we can not pet some or pick them up, they know and trust us as feeders.We love and nurture them. The bond is real.

community feral cats Miami homeless pets
Cosette eating her dinner


The disappearance of feral or community cats may occur when:
1. They are sick and naturally leave the nest. (Another blog post on this subject coming soon)
2. They are injured and unable to return home.
3. They are killed by speeding automobile, or stray dog or other predator, or by ingesting some food or material that is poisonous/harmful.
4. They are taken by friendly regular or trapped by someone.

Living in the heart of downtown Miami, any number of scenarios could have occurred.
My mind listing a 100 reasons  in 100 seconds.

- snatched by homeless person
- runover by speeding car
- eat chicken bones
- ingest poison
- swallow small pieces of glass from shattered car windows that get embedded in their paws
- fight with raccoons
- slip and fall into drainage
- trapped somewhere
- did a reported stray dog attack her

Riverfront Cats homeless cats missing disappearing cats Miam
Cosette cleaning her paws after dinner

Mama cat was first cat to disappear. She showed no signs of illness, or lethargy or any odd behavior. Mama was friendly and she trusted regular feeders and allowed them to pet her. Perhaps a homeless person fed her in the middle of night (they camped out underneath the S. Miami Avenue bridge near where she resided), and took her? It is possible.  She also rested in the water drainage.  Perhaps with the unseasonably heavy rains this winter, she slipped in trying to jump from her shelf  in the drainage and fell to the bottom of drainage where it is too high for her to jump back up. Mama was also a little hefty.


Did she possibly have internal injuries from chicken bones? A local resident was leaving them chicken bones. Nooo!  One day I happen to be squatting in the corner of Station Two, cleaning the cat water bowls when this resident appeared to leave them more bones. Timing was perfect to educate this kind-hearted person that leaving chicken bones can kill cats. Raw chicken bones are safe for cats and dogs. But cooked chicken bones are dangerous for cats. They are brittle and splinter and can cause choking or internal organ damage.

Kitten eating chicken bones
(Not a Riverfront Cat; published with permission)

Cosette was feral. Only recently was I able to touch her without her hissing. The first time in almost seven years! I started to cry tears of joy as I always do when I gain the trust of a feral cat after passing years. So it is not possible that she was taken by a homeless person.  One volunteer did say that Cosette did not eat much the night before she disappeared.  This tells us she could have been ill.

There was another intact male cat, Muki, that we could never trap. He showed signs of injuries, dried blood, deep scratches, and weight loss. He was clearly sick and dying.  Did Muki pass his illness in fighting with the other cats?
Muki waiting to be served dinner

Employees who park in the empty gravel lot of Station One, leave Styrofoam cartons of discarded people food. Did the cats eat some food that could have been harmful?

Raccoons have appeared in the neighborhood. Did the raccoons get into a fight with Cosette or Sinbad who were more feisty?  Not likely but possible. Or worse, both Cosette and Sinbad crossed SW 3rd Street in the past. Although lately they stayed on the lot of feeding station, safely hidden in the bushes, did they seek refuge elsewhere with heavy rains? Or did they resume crossing 3rd street with increasing traffic, perhaps fascinated by the growing number of chickens in the area? Yes, community chickens were multiplying! In downtown Miami. A subject for another blog post.

Raccoons are breeding and have learned where to find cat food on a nightly basis

I scoured their area, crawling on my hands and knees in bushes to see if they were possibly injured and unable to move. Nothing. I walked around the neighborhood calling them, knowing they would not appear due to fear but I had hope they heard my voice and would muster the strength to return later in the evening.


This is exactly what happened with Leroy. A friendly black cat.  He was missing for four days. Then one night, while feeding the other cats, we walked around the feeding area, and sure enough the volunteer found Leroy nestled in the grass, with two swollen and bloody paws. He was unable to move. He fought his way back to home base for food.  We scooped him up and rushed him to the vet next day. Fortunately one leg was saved, but the other leg was amputated.  The friendly cat that he is, Leroy adjusted to indoor life and was adopted by Sabrina, a long-time volunteer. He lives the good life with his siblings and sleeps with Sabrina every night. A silver-lining to a painful incident.

Leroy, a three-legged kitty, now loves his indoor home--no gravel, no fleas, no rain, no extreme weather

The list of possible reasons for the cats disappearing is endless.  These cats are also approaching seven  years of age, the average age limit for community colony cats exposed to various dangers and elements.

We still pray for a miracle that the cats will reappear. While rare, it is known to happen even after several months have passed. We love these cats and want to ensure they are not quietly suffering, dying somewhere.

Speaking of miracles, Sinbad did reappear after three weeks.  He looks well, maybe a little thinner. But sadly he's now missing for three days again.  If only we could put tracking devices on them. Now that would certainly provide the world of cat science with great insight as to their habits and patterns and behavior.

Sinbad licking his lips after dinner
(Oct 2015)

We welcome your stories and experiences with disappearing colony cats.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Dasher Got Adopted!

Day 5: Dasher loves his new cat daddy Jason

Great news! Dasher, our Christmas kitten,  was adopted two weeks ago and adjusted rather quickly. In just two days he was meeting and getting along with resident tuxedo cat, Sam.  Dasher also loves his new daddy. It's an all boys club in this household and no fighting. Just respect and all around love.  Another happy ending.

Day 1: Under the bed, naturally

Day 3: Dasher joins the MAN club--sitting next to his new daddy and the remote control!

Day 4: Dasher becomes friends with resident cat, Sam

Day 6: Dasher and Sam napping together
Day 7: Dasher and Sam, best buddies forever
We love these happy endings. It fuels our spirit, keeps us motivated to continue helping these helpless creatures who are grateful for shelter, food, warmth and love.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Meet Lila, Finn and Stitch

Meet Stitch, Finn and Lila. These beautiful kitties (1-1 1/2 years old) have been with Catopia Cat Rescue since July 2014. And we are looking for their forever Valentine's date (Florida).

Lila is the princess, loves attention and to sit by the window to see the world go by. 

Stitch is Lila's brother (loves her very much), super laid back and can get along with any situation.

Finn is always looking for something to do, a real entertainer with a very silky coat. He will do great in an active household with other animals.

All have been fully vetted, including de-worm, and de-flea, fully vaccinated , spayed-neutered, and microshipped.

If you are interested in any of these sweeties, please contact Cindy at 954 752-1123 or Debbie at 954 608-581

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

When One of Our Own Needs Help

Tamar Arslanian Petie cat blogger

One of the blessings of being a nationally recognized cat blogger, are the fellow cat bloggers I have formed friendships with over time.  We meet online and then in person at related pet conferences and become closer friends, stay in touch, and visit one another and the friendship continues to flourish. Our love for cats of course bonds us. One such friend is Tamar Arslanian, whom some of you may follow her blog, I Have Cat.

Tamar is not only a cat blogger and friend, but a generous person. She has helped many good people in need of a little help when their cats were gravely ill or if a dumped or neglected cat needed a home.  She does not hesitate to help and fully immerses her time, talent and heart without hesitation.

Well this time, I learned my friend needs help. She never asked for it. But I noticed Tamar was unusually quiet across communications and when I inquired, I discovered that her beloved cat Petie has a mass pressing onto his chest cavity and lungs.  After countless exams, scans, etc.  the decision to remove it is extremely delicate and dangerous.  Nonetheless her vet bills have avalanched to $3,800. We've all been there.

Petie Tamar Arslanian sick kitty
Petie recently from vet visit
Having left her corporate job, but still living in New York City, following her passion for cats and doing freelance projects does not equate to excess income.

If you recall, Tamar helped me last year with the Christmas auction to raise funding for Roger, the Miami Le Chat Noir.  This was around the Christmas season and so you can imagine she worked long hours.  All to benefit a special needs black cat. She gained nothing personally, only the satisfaction to help us raise money and pay the vet bill with ease of mind so we can focus our energies on caring/nurturing for a very sick cat back to health.

My fellow cat guardians and lovers, if you can spare a few dollars to help a devoted cat blogger to all things cat, here is the link.  It includes copies of the vet bill.

This would be a wonderful Valentine gesture of love to a fellow cat lover and guardian.

Thank you to our generous readers. It will be returned tenfold one day. Karma!

Petie enjoying sun puddle

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Is Your Catmobile Well Stocked?

I don't need this car for car rescue, but sure could use it when I have to meet with unsavory cat haters.

I bet at one point in your life you came across a stray cat or kitten that you felt you wish you had cat food on hand to feed. Or received an email or call about an injured cat or found a stray in your neighborhood that didn't belong and perhaps was someone's lost pet? You want to help but lack all the rescue supplies.

Well, depending where you live, stray and feral cats are a constant fixture or sighting in some cities and/or neighborhoods. Especially in other countries. What should you carry? Excellent question!

I created this last minute, unstaged video to show you some supplies that I primarily carry at all times in my trunk. In the video, I have just returned from a lunch meeting. It's winter in Miami hence the long-sleeves and leather riding boots.  So even dressed in nice clothes, if I come across a cat that appears distressed or injured, I will stop to check on it. If it's an emergency, I am prepared to jump in and help any way I can. 

Other cat rescue supplies I carry but not shown in video

- small flashlight in my purse
- wet towelletes
- paper towels or napkins
- plastic trash bags
- paper bag to place flat inside trap (better than newspaper--some cats are allergic to ink print)
- old towels

Of course I'm thinking now of presentation. While I have an eye-catching cat suit, the sexy suit is my formal attire for interviews.   Besides I do not have a telephone booth to completely disrobe and change into this form fitting suit. I need something easy;  maybe a black cape with bright pink letters and cat ears? And then I could use a Catmobile!  Oh yes,  a sleek, black catmobile. I envision a Mercedes SUV with cat ears and tail. Yes an SUV. Time to upgrade from my Hyundai Sonata.  It's Miami--all part of the branding that attractive people do care and want to help.

Now this model is not a bad start. Too long and batmanish for me.
Instead of the claws up front, I would prefer eyelashes.

Aah the original catmobile from 1970s batman series.

Now this cat girl has the right idea! Sleek, curvy, modern design, eyecatching.

So am I serious? Of course I am! It's all about attention. Not for me--but  for the cats! The goal is to draw interest from any pedestrians, residents and the media and to educate them ABOUT COMMUNITY CATS.

 What other items do you carry or suggest I carry? I'd love to your answers or ideas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

For Adoption: Fearless Dasher

This latest rescue male kitten is 10 weeks old. We just had our naming contest for him. Here were the choices.
Noah--after Noah's ark because he was found mostly submerged in floodwaters when we had nonstop rain for a week
Tweedy- as in Tweed coat due to his fur color and markings
Dasher-because he dashed every where as rescuers tried to capture him for three hours! In the woods, bushes, leaping tall cars in a single dash...until finally he went into the pet carrier and the rescuer was able to shut the door. Ah ha!

He's definitely a male--mischievous and fearless, scampering, climbing legs like tree trunks...

So the tallies are in and his name is Dasher!
Dasher is litterbox trained and fully vetted: neutered, vaccinated, and micro-chipped and now ready for his forever loving home.

To meet this young (naughty) lad and welcome him into your family in time for the New Year, please contact Christina at