Thursday, May 14, 2015

Is That McDreamy on #VetOnDemand?

Geisha relaxed at home in her pet bed for vet visit--online with VetOnDemand

This post is sponsored by Vet on Demand and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. Riverfront Cats is being compensated for helping spread the word about the VetonDemand App, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Vet on Demand is not responsible for the content of this article. 

A foster kitten had a virus. It spread throughout the home. All the other cats (six of them) and environment were treated. Several months later, cats are showing symptoms again. But this time, little Geisha had swollen eyes, with green discharge, and she was lethargic. She's definitely ill. But how ill?

After bringing three of  seven pets to the vet, and doing complete exam, bloodwork and fecal test/urinalysis, all pets showed normal results. Each visit cost about $200. Were Geisha's symptoms minor? Was I overreacting by rushing to the vet every time my cat showed symptoms?

I had questions but didn't want to rush to the vet again. But I did want immediate answers.  Geisha had similar symptoms six months ago and all tests came back normal and I was told she most likely had a URI (upper respiratory infection) and the vet did not recommend antibiotics.  But what about this time?

Hundreds of questions swirled in my head.  I researched online.  It could be a number of causes or illnesses.

If only I could ask some initial questions to help me narrow down probable illnesses and course of action.  And like a genie in a bottle, there it was. Vet on Demand illuminating from my iPad.

VetOnDemand™  is the first mobile application to provide personalized, real time access to a licensed veterinary care via videochat. All you need to do is open the App, set up your pet’s profile and call the vet. Once there is an available vet you will get an alert and your video screen will open up so that you can begin chatting face-to-face with a veterinarian. This app is downloadable through iTunes and can be used for iPhone and iPad.  We love the tablets for their easy-to-read big screens. The cost is only $2.50 a minute.

Opening the VetOnDemand app on the iPad2
Prepared with recent history and events and my list of questions, we spoke with a female doctor (we wrote down her name on paper but the other cat ate the notes for snack. Yes the cat ate the homework!) 

Video chat with licensed vet through Vet on Demand

The vet asked me to do a visual exam with the iPad to see Geisha's demeanor and the physical symptoms. After sharing the entire history leading up to today, she narrowed it down to two possible illnesses but recommended that I take her into our primary vet for a closeup physical exam.  Otherwise she recommended a topical eye ointment which I already had and a couple of over -the- counter products.

My questions were answered. Relief set in! The entire call lasted 15 minutes and at $2.50 per minute that is $37.50.  We covered a lot of information.  A vet visit alone is $50 plus any test and products that vet recommends. 

Geisha ignores the vet and wants to play with her brother.

1.VetOnDemand should not replace your primary vet.  Just like you have a primary physician that you feel comfortable with and knows your history, the same should happen for your pets with a primary vet.  That personal connection and knowledge of your pet family history is valuable.The VetonDemand vet did recommend we visit our primary vet.

2. VetOnDemand is convenient for those moments when it's after-clinic hours, or when you can't leave work early to take your pet into the vet.  Simple advice anytime. VetOnDemand can evaluate risk factors and will advise you if you need to take your pet to emergency pet hospital right away or wait next day to make appointment with primary vet.

3. VetOnDemand as a second opinion.  If you are ever unsure or uneasy, ALWAYS get a second opinion, for a peace of mind. Vets at VetonDemand are licensed and board certified.

4. No stress for pets. This is a big plus when you want a vet to take a look at your pet for initial questions or concerns. .

VetonDemand is another online resource for questions about pet health. While I studied many pages of information to answer my looming questions, I soon learned many NONexperts are giving "opinions" on the Internet which poses a danger.  With VetOnDemand you know you are getting the experts and they can guide you from there even if it is to send you to your primary vet.

With a household of several pets, and foster pets coming in and out, we are excited about VetOnDemand as another source to readily answer pet health related questions.

How do you feel about this new app? Leave a comment below by clicking "comment".

"The vet? What vet? I saw some blonde woman. Let me know when McDreamy arrives"

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Book Review: Purr Prints of the Heart

One of my favorite ways to multitask and relax is reading a good book surrounded by my pets. Learning, bonding, relaxing.  Even better is a nonfictional book about pets! Love those true stories. With a newly-released book by award-winning cat author, Deb Barnes, I knew I was in for a special treat.

Jean Pierre is curious about my new book. He loves to curl up next to me.

In reading the summary of the book, this was a must read as my cat and dog are now senior pets. Purr Prints of the Heart, A Cat's Tale of Life, Death & Beyond, is journey of a ragdoll cat.  A sickly kitten that was the last to be adopted.  "The best was saved for last".  This last pick could not be luckier than to be adopted by cat angel, Deb Barnes, long before she became an award-winning cat writer. His dull health turned around and thus begins the lustrous journey of a cat named Mr. Jazz.

Cat Book

Many of us can relate to the lives of our pet children--the day we chose them, their personalities, antics, learning lessons and also when they become sick and age and leave us. And so Purr Prints will have you smiling, laughing, reflecting and celebrating.

Deb deftly tells the life story of the cat- human bond through the voice and viewpoint of her cat, Mr. Jazz. Pet parents in-tune with their fur children will tell you that dogs AND cats do communicate with their humans.  This is why spending quality time with your pets, talking to them (yes talk to them, cats like dogs are extremely intelligent), playing with them, and the simple act of petting them will effect a response.  Their body language is always a message.

So as your cat ages, he/she relies on your understanding to aid them in the final phase of their life. The special guide to coping with loss is invaluable.  The end is a welcoming upturn. A refreshing reminder of the celebration of life and the indelible purr or paw prints pets leave on our hearts. 

So grab a mug of coffee, cup of tea, or glass of wine, curl up on your favorite chair, hammock, sofa, and relax for the next few hours. 

CLICK HERE to order your new book!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Domino's Latest Update

Domino is still unsure of all this shuffling from place to place. But he doesn't complain.  At least the pesky cone is off.  Much easier to pet him and show him some people do care and will never dump him.  He's not shy of strangers! Maintenance man came to do repairs and he didn't flinch or act nervous. We're sure he could learn to go on regular outings and travel.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Disaster Can Strike Anytime #FoodShelterLove

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. We are being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Food, Shelter, & Love Program, but Riverfront Cats only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

It seems every time I turn on the news, Mother Nature's wrath is more constant and furious.
Floods, landslides, earthquakes, brush fires, snow blizzards, super storms, etc.. Even a power outage from technological failure can wreak havoc in a city and its residents.  Remember New York City power outage of 2003?
Helio under the cover. He is scared of howling winds during Tropical Storm Isaac.

Disaster can strike any time and with no warning. This is why it's important to have a Disaster Preparedness / Emergency Plan for your entire family INCLUDING your pets.

After Hurricane Katrina skirmished through Miami, a few weeks later we were hit hard by Hurricane Wilma.  My building did not have power for an entire week which seems like an eternity in the modern world. Neighbors complained and felt trapped, scared with no electricity, no cell phone (cell phones do NOT work during major storms), no hot water, no gasoline to drive anywhere and dwindling food supply for humans and pets.  I elected to stay in my condo building and hunker down. As a native Floridan, I'm a hurricane expert and I WAS FULLY PREPARED for me and my pets.

Here is my abbreviated list:

1. Have enough supplies to last a week. Dry cat food, wee wee pads for dogs, litter, litter bags, lots of water bottles and paper plates and bowls and utensils. It's not a bad idea to line the cat carriers with pee pads in case your cat gets scared and has an accident. Keep a "ready and go" bag for sudden departures.

Pet Emergency Supplies for Evacuation

2. IDs for your pets. Collars, photos of your pets, microchips or tattoos. Print flyers with photos of your pets and place in pockets of the carrier, and your purse. Cell phone batteries fade quickly so technology is not readily available during and after a disaster.  Think basics.

3. If you are traveling: bring their pet beds, something with a familiar scent from home to lessen anxiety.

Jean Pierre posing with glass pumpkin for Thanksgiving on  his pet bed. I bring his bed on road trips.

4. If you stay at home, invest in a telephone landline and old touch tone phone.  Cell phones were down for days, and an old fashion phone and landline kept us connected to the outside world. A huge relief.

5. Invest in a platform bed or bed with wheels.  This is a must for any pet parent in my opinion because it can be very difficult getting kitty out from under the bed. The fire alarm goes off now and then in my condo building and when I smell smoke, I know it's not a false alarm. The cats all race under the bed for refuge. Getting cats out from under the bed is not as challenging because my mattress/box spring is on wheeled frame that I can move the bed, and easily get the cat.  Be sure you have the pet carriers nearby and close all other doors.

One of the best tips I can offer is to let your cats lounge on their cat carrier in the home. I took it a step further and ordered a stroller with a detachable carrier which I placed next to the window. It became the cats' gazing/lounging quarters to watch the birds and take naps. For trips, I just closed the door and attached it to the stroller. Voila!

Jean Pierre gazing out sliding doors at the birds on his detachable carrier

The double decker pet stroller in 2001. My dog loves the stroller.

When Hurricane Wilma struck in 2005, I only had three pets at the time.  I think of all those pets at shelters during and after a disaster. Personnel can not evacuate or go anywhere with hundreds of dogs and cats. Often shelters are overwhelmed with displaced pets.  Thankfully  Hill’s® Disaster Relief Network answers the challenge. 

As an extension of its Food, Shelter & Love® program, Hill's established the first national network to help deliver pet food to shelters and vet clinics affected by natural disasters. In its first year of operations the network delivered free pet food to 50 shelters and vet clinics across the U.S. in response to 11 major disasters from Washington state to Waco, Texas. Hurray for Hill's pet food!!

SPCA of Texas recipient of Hill's generous donation after a natural disaster. 

Shelter pets receive premium food.
They deserve the best like any pet.
So before Mother Nature unleashes her fury in your city or another disaster strikes your home, prepare now.  Comes May 9, FEMA National Pet Disaster Preparedness Day, you'll be ahead of the madness and exhale a sigh of relief.

Have you and your pets been affected by a natural or other disaster? Were you prepared? Share your experience, by clicking on "Comment" below. We'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday- Helio when he was named Cinderella

This is Helio, the fourth Riverfront kitten we rescued six years ago. We thought this kitten was a female and named it Cinderella. Upon learning kitten was male we renamed him after race car driver Helio Castroneves.  He was the fastest kitty of the ten rescue kittens that zoomed up and down the condo hallway. This is him propping his chin with his paw.  No photoshop was used! 

Helio November 2012

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stray Cats Need #FoodShelterLove

Johnny Walker a few months after rescue at healthy weight, luxurious coat

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. We are being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Food, Shelter, & Love Program, but Riverfront Cats only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Johnny Walker is an all black cat that was dumped in our neighborhood. It was apparent that he was an indoor cat. This cat walked up to me and exclaimed "I don't belong here! I'm an indoor cat that lived in the Penthouse and this lifestyle if not for me and these other cats don't welcome me. I'm hungry and tired...!" No kidding! (Working with both indoor and outdoor cats you learn to speak cat. The same goes for devoted cat parents).  Johnny Walker clearly was missing and craving for #FoodShelterLove.

Johnny Walker the first night he was rescued--scratched, emaciated, discolored

 Johnny Walker was emaciated, scratches visible on his face, and his fur was lackluster, partly brown and black no doubt from malnutrition.  So we knew proper nutrition was the priority to reach optimal health and increase his chances for adoption. Regardless that our rescue cats are sheltered in the home of a volunteer, all cats, especially stray cats, need the best cat food and nutrition.

Johnny Walker falling asleep on his first night indoors after being dumped and abandoned

A big contributor to improving the odds of shelter cats getting adopted is Hill's Food, Shelter, Love Program, which offers shelters the opportunity to offer quality nutrition to their resident cats and kittens.

Whether a cat is underweight, overweight, or malnourished, proper cat nutrition can not only improve these deficiencies but also improve a cat's mood. An excellent choice is Hill's Perfect Weight Formula for your cat and shelter cats. During the Hill's Science Diet Perfect Weight Challenge, over 70% of cats lost weight when fed this balanced nutrition for ten weeks. Healthy weight and increased energy helps cats live longer, happier lives.

One great success story is that of Stoli who was a plus size kitty and lost 2.5 pounds. That's 25 pounds for you and me!

If you'd like to try Hill's Perfect Weight formula, you can buy both the canned and dry food here, and your purchase helps support the Food, Shelter, & Love program, which is dedicated to cat nutrition and helping shelter kitties find forever homes! A win-win for your cat and shelter cats!

If you have a Hill's success cat weight loss or cat mood-improving story, please feel free to share it with us by commenting below or sending us an email to and we'll share it with our readers and followers!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

THANK YOU for the nomination!

Receiving good news is always welcoming in a world of routine and where bad news often outweighs the good.  But recently I was contacted for being selected as a nominee for a social media award for my work in raising awareness and funding for a very special cat--Rogér, the Miami Le Chat Noir.  

Christine holds Johnny Walker, black spokescat for Riverfront Cats

We often hear from actors the honor of just being nominated. Well it's true.  I am beyond ecstatic. My fellow nominees are outstanding bloggers and organizations that are making a difference in reversing the trend of homeless pets. While I have no expectations of winning, my excitement is through the roof. This nomination is the moral support that fuels our motivation when facing numerous challenges. In the world of homeless pets we face many obstacles--limited funding, closed minds, low awareness, etc.. The nomination means that you noticed, and you care! It's everyday folks like you that nominated us, that lights the dark tunnel. It keep us going!

 I've said it many times and I don't apologize for repeating it again. This is the hardest work I have ever done--shedding lots of sweat and sometimes tears (thankfully I haven't lost any blood--I know how to handle feral cats!) with no pay, but it has been the most rewarding experience of my life!

In Miami Dade County a dent is made in the past two years by small nonprofits such as ours (Pawsitively Humane,Inc/ Riverfront Cats) in cooperation with the Miami Dade Animal Services and other nonprofit organizations. Teamwork, synergy is powerful!

There is much more work to do. But we desperately need VOLUNTEERS!  Whether you can temporarily foster a dog or cat, or have a flair for social media, or work a fundraising event, we need you!  It's not a huge time commitment. 

Yes, I will be attending the BlogPaws conference and award ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee this May. The awards ceremony is live stream.  Follow us on social media for details.
Twitter: @RiverfrontCats
Instagram: @riverfrontcats

"Every woman needs a little black cat" ~  quote by Christine Michaels

Rogér, the Miami Le Chat Noir - Part One
Rogér, Update
Rogér is Ready for Adoption!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Kittens Search for #FoodShelterLove

Stray kittens strolling in sunrise

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. We are being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Food, Shelter, & Love Program, but Riverfront Cats only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Kitten season is upon us and that means shelters will overflow with mews, squeaks and  furry pitter patter. 

That the heat cycle of a kitten is triggered by longer daylight as the day gets longer? Well in Miami, our sun sets later than the rest of the country by an hour later. This also means that kitten season starts early here and neighborhoods, beach areas witness an explosion of kittens.  As foot soldiers for a small local nonprofit rescue organization, we spot them searching for shelter and food.  Their little bodies shivering, their bellies swollen. Adult cats and kittens should bask in the sun and their bellies full of tasty, healthy cat food.

Cats deserve to bask in the sun

At Riverfront Cats, we know shelters alone can not save all the stray kittens.  It really takes a village and the coming together of residents, companies, and families to help in some small way or more. And it's happening through the Hill's® Food Shelter and Love Program.

Stray cats obviously do not benefit from healthy nutrition during pregnancy.  Thus kittens may be malnourished and experience health concerns later in life.  This is why when rescuing the mother cat and her kittens and bringing them indoors, we feed them high quality pet nutrition like Hill's® Science Diet® Kitten Healthy Development. Mama cat will enjoy adult cat food that may include brown rice for healthy digestion, fresh chicken or natural salmon to keep fit and trim. Hill's has standards--quality protein as the first ingredient and no chicken by-products, no artificial colors, and MADE IN USA!  This is very important to us.

Rescuing the kittens and feeding them healthy kitten food is half the work. The other half is nurturing the kittens and finding them long-term homes.  Animal shelters, especially county-run shelters and small nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers like you to accomplish the latter goals.

At Riverfront Cats we have a proven formula for getting kittens adopted within six months or less. But it takes a village, consistency and persistence.  Volunteers are a key role. You can help by:

- Fostering. This is perhaps the most impactful way to help.  A kitten cared for by humans will have an easier time getting adopted.  They are more socialized, confident, playful, loving, etc. Our secret--playing and talking to the kitten like any child.  Kittens thrive with positive stimulation. Petting them, playing alongside with cat toys is a great form of bonding and socializing. Also, by using simple words repetitively, kittens learn communication skills fast.  Adopters are amazed at our foster kittens' understanding of words and commands and how they respond through their own pitch of meows or actions (body language). 

The caretakers witness their unique personality emerge that help us "advertise them" by telling their story.  Stories sell.  This is more powerful than just a cute, rambunctious two month old kitten.  Adopters want to know if their kitty is active, zany, a cuddler, a lover or a cat burglar.   

Bebe, Michael Jackson and Geisha (siblings) all named based on their personality and attributes.
Michael Jackson did the moon walk!

 -Taking high quality photos.  We can not stress this enough.  This is part of the story telling.  A photograph or video that captures the kitten's attributes and behavior like stealing your jewelry or clothes--a fashionista thief!  Yes, one of our rescue cats was caught stealing fashion apparel in the middle of the night.  A tuxedo kitty! No wonder. 

Geisha, a rescue Riverfront cat, was caught stealing clothes from her human mother's closet

-Taking kittens to pet adoption events. Naturally you are marketing the kitten in hopes of getting him/her adopted. But if they are not readily adopted, there is another advantage to this task.  Traveling in a car and interacting with people regularly helps increase the chance that the kitten will easily warm up to visitors in the home or outings.  In some cases you can train your cat to be a therapy cat, an actor/actress cat, a modeling  cat (for movies, commercials, advertisements).  

- Sharing photos and stories on social media and digital technology.  We are all  connected  either via text messaging, email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter...pick your outlet and share photos and stories. It's too easy!

At Riverfront Cats we have rescued many stray cats and kittens and placed them in loving homes. On a larger scale, Hill's has provided pet food to over 800 shelters every year.  And you have helped nurture the kittens, preparing them for a permanent home. We rescue, volunteers foster, Hill's provides nutrition.  A proven winning formula. It really works. Let's take it to the next level to reverse the staggering rate of homeless adult cats and kittens.  Join us! 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Rogér is Ready to be Your Valentine!

Ladies, Cat lovers, BLACK cat lovers...we have wonderful news about Rogér, the Miami Le Chat Noir.

After unsurmountable odds, Rogér, the injured black cat with dislocated jaw and slashed throat has made a nine- lives come back. He overcame his initial physical injuries only to go into shock and become diabetic. Frail, weak, it was touch and go. But with regular TLC and vet care and monitoring, Rogér has fought his way back and shockingly warmed up to humans, the first time in his cat life.

"What? I can really have a real home? Indoors?"

Rogér's weight is now up to a healthy 12 pounds! Each glucose test is better than the last and he is gaining confidence and now expects individual attention and TLC. He would make a great companion for someone who enjoys comforts of home and quality time with pets.  While he does well with other cats, Rogér will need to continue his special diet. He should do well in a friendly dog household too. 

"Everyday would be Valentine's Day if you choose me"

Rogér grew accustomed to the attention at the vet, along with the poking and prodding. A no fuss cat! So smart he recognized he would be rewarded with adulation after all the testing and needles. He continues to amaze us.

Make this your special Valentine story, and that for Rogér.  That bond and unconditional love that only exists between human and pet.

If you are in the SOUTH FLORIDA area, interested in meeting Roger, please contact Karen Payne at 305-205-4646 or via email at Karen Payne


Monday, February 2, 2015

2015 CatDance Film Festival Winner

You've ordered the wine with cat label, cat nip is safely stashed away, and now for your movie selection in celebration of Valentine's Day, here is the winning video for CatDance film festival.  You're going to absolutely fall in love with  LaFur. Viva le amore!