Monday, December 20, 2010

Christine's Meeting with Riverfront Association

Dear Neighbors,

This is to update you on my efforts to educate the Riverfront Association about the Riverfront Cats and to get them involved in this community effort.  We have witnessed the millions of dollars spent on new brick pavers, landscaping including new palm trees, shrubbery and flowers. Obviously this is to turn around  the once eyesoar exterior and increase property values. I'm sure we all appreciate this beautification.

To provide a little background, last summer I left several telephone messages for the developer, Inigo Ardid of Key International to meet with me so I may share the effects of the cats on our community and the solutions to ensure they live humanely alongside residents.  My calls were never returned. I also sent NUMEROUS emails to the property manager, Lori, of The Wind, to forward my emails to Inigo and the Riverfront Association. I never received a response. 

To give them a third and final opportunity to express whether they are genuinely concerned about the community at large and not just money, I went up to Inigo Ardid one morning when I was on my way to work and told him I have been trying to reach him for a meeting. He referred me to Fabie Varona, new property manager for The Mint condominium.

I then proceeded to email Fabie to hold a brief meeting. She then passed me onto her assistant.  Telltale signs indeed. While briefly discouraged at being repeatedly "passed on", I am also persistent.  I gladly accepted the meeting with her assistant Susana Liera on December 16, 2010.

Essentially I am asking the Riverfront Association to add a budget line item to assist in controlling the cat population. I have spent thousands of dollars in the initial efforts but can no longer continue by myself. I started the ball rolling and have successfully recruited other volunteers to help feed the cats daily. $500 a year is a "nickel in the bucket" for the association given what they spend on other operational costs. This will help ensure the cat population does not keep growing. We the volunteers will continue to coordinate the trappings/sterilization of new cats, if the Association would pay for it. The volunteers continue to pay for the food out of their own pockets.  It's about teamwork! 

Below is a copy of the email I sent to Susana to "recap our meeting".  I will keep you posted of the progress.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Thank you for your time Friday. It was a pleasure to meet you and to be able to share the facts and efforts in addressing the Riverfront Cats that affect our community. Most people know little to nothing about outdoor stray cats. As I mentioned, South Florida is facing a record high number of homeless pets and I wanted to help prevent downtown Miami from facing the crisis that Miami Beach is currently struggling with. Therefore, I'm glad to help educate the community to mitigate any concerns and complaints.
I just wanted to recap some important points:
1- There will always be cats on the property. Stray cats are ubiquitous for this section of downtown for a number of reasons. Even if all the current cats "packed their bags and went on extended vacation", a new colony would take it's place. This section  has all the ingredients for breeding new colonies.   Therefore I recommend containing the current cats which is manageable and not costly if we all contribute.
2- The Master Association can choose to help contain the number of cats as I have done, or ignore the situation and have 100+ cats run amok as we see in many parts of Miami Beach. If the association chooses the former, I also propose that we start to reach out to  neighboring businesses. We could become the model example of how to address the issue responsibly and successfully!
3- While I personally love animals, having excessive number of cats on a property is never a good idea.
4- Taking the cats to Animal Services means killing them (While they are healthy, these type of cats are NOT adoptable which means they would be put to sleep). Given the growing community support for our efforts, and the amount of money, hard work and commitment by residents, this is NOT an option.
5- Relocation is NOT an option as it is illegal under Florida law. There are no cat sanctuaries in South Florida. Taking them to Oleta State Park or any state park is 100% illegal.
6- I am happy to continue to monitor the situation but can no longer finance the spaying and neutering of new strays on top of feeding them. I am asking for the association's involvement. A simple budget line item of $500 a year should cover the sterilization of any strays that eventually make Riverfront their home. What's $500 out of 1,000 current units? a couple of dollars a year?
7- Any complaint by residents may not be legitimate. The fact that a dog may want to go after a cat is not legitimate complaint in the opinion of most responsible pet owners.  This could be interpreted that the dog owner needs to control their dog. There would be far more complaints from residents who know these cats are taken care of responsibly in following guidelines and philosophy of organizations such as  the Cat Network of South Florida, the Humane Society of the US.
8- The cats are both Riverfront pets (pets to all of us) and pets of the environment. They are like birds. They come and go.
Whoever financed the new palm trees and brick pavers could EASILY help with the cats. $500 is a nickel in the bucket compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on aesthetic improvements. I just received an email announcing that Starwood properties awarded monies to  local charities.  Well this effort affects both an investment and a charity effort. It's a no brainer! 
I would be more than happy to meet with Inigo, or Starwood Properties or future board. But the sooner the better to keep up efforts of containing the number of cats. This does not take an Act of Congress and could be resolved quickly!
Thank you again for your time Susana.
Wishing you a Merry, Merry Christmas!
Christine Michaels

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Meet Johnny Walker

There's a new cat in town and his name is Johnny Walker.

One Sunday, when I was late in feeding the cats around 8:30pm, I jumped out of  my car and the car wash guys at The Wind exclaimed, "Thank God you arrived, it's cat pandemonium here!".  He explained there were cats up and down that streetfare awaiting something. I replied with profuse apologies that I had to work late and it was my turn to feed the cats. Hence I was late. Then suddenly this black cat ran up to me, begging for attention and affection. This was NOT Romeo or Zorro, the only two big black cats. This newcomer was much smaller but not a kitten.

Stunned, I asked the cat "Who are you?"  The second he allowed me to easily pick him up, I knew he was accustomed to humans.  Luckily for this black cat, he crossed my path!

Soon I noticed that the Riverfront cats did not welcome him (as expected) and kept attacking him. But this little guy would not take "no" for an answer and was fighting back.  He was determined to eat and find a comfortable home.  Good for him. Except he still has a couple of scar wounds to prove it.

Noticing his smooth stride, his friendly demeanor, and willingness to walk to you when called, I was on a mission to capture him and get him off the streets for good!

Johnny Walker is about 10 months old, he's undergoing treatment for ridding any internal parasites and tested negative for Feline Aids and Leukemia. Today he was neutered and is recovering nicely.  He should be ready for adoption in about one week!

This cat is special. His calm demeanor and easy glide have rightfully earned him his name, (although the Whiskey brand is spelled with an "ie" Johnnie).  He's not as playful for a young cat which means he may not have had siblings or he's just one cool cat who takes life easy.  Also he does not scratch furniture like most cats, only the single scratching post in my home.  But that could change. Time will tell.

In general I have found that black cats are more like dogs, very affectionate and  trainable.  Johnny Walker is special. Unfortunately I can not keep him but I'm doing my part to save one life, another life off the streets.

Look at him! He's absolutely gorgeous!
If you are interested in adopting Johnny Walker, contact Alicia at 786-205-6165 or email her at

Tails up!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Santa Paws Photo Event

Tis the season to prepare for Christmas. There's the Christmas tree, decorations and of course the Christmas cards (skip the impersonal e-card and give a card!) and of course photos with Santa!

Now your pets can join in the festivities by getting a photo with Santa at the PetSmart in Midtown Miami.  This includes dogs, cats, iguanas, birds, you name it! For $9.95 you will receive a digital photo of your pet with Santa and an exlcusive holiday frame. This means you can scan the photo for other uses!

It's happening every weekend until Christmas so don't delay!
Times: 11am-4pm

$5 of every photo package will be donated to local adoption programs. So take the dog for joy ride in your car and to his/her favorite store and take the photo and you'll be helping homeless dogs and cats find homes!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Fellow Animal Lover:

It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is now upon us! It is the time of year that we give thanks for all that we have received and we renew our hopes of doing more than we already do today.

This year the Riverfront Cats are all happy and healthy thanks to the resident volunteers at the Wind and Ivy. Each day the 17 cats are fed proper amounts of food so no food is leftover to attract ants or flies. Even after lingering rain showers, the volunteers never fail to feed the cats, even if they have to go out at midnight. Thankfully no new cats have joined the Riverfront colony. Sadly we lost one cat to an unprovoked dog attack earlier in the year. The dog was asked to wear a muzzle for everyone's protection. 

More recently, a new cat bore a litter of three kittens across the street on 3rd Street. Thanks once again to the sacrifice and effort of Christine Michaels, lead volunteer, she rescued the two friendly adoptable brothers and found them loving homes.

With your help, we can continue to feed the cats, ensure they are healthy and not suffering from any illnesses or injuries. As you plan to feast with friends and/or family this Thanksgiving, won't you consider donating cat food to help our volunteers and the community? Most of the food is paid for out of the pockets of the volunteers. It adds up quickly.

Please click here on how you can help.

Wishing you and your family a beautiful Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for.

Alicia Grecco

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Pet Dangers

Thanksgiving and Christmas are joyous holidays but at the same time they can be dangerous for our pets if we're not careful.

The last thing any pet owner wants to do on Thanksgiving is rush their pet to the animal emergency room!  But, the truth is that many pets are injured or poisoned during this time of the year. How can you make sure your holiday doesn’t end in disaster?
  • A small amount of white turkey is an acceptable treat but definitely avoid the turkey skin and the turkey bones!  The skin is often fatty and can cause pets to develop pancreatitis.
  • Poultry bones, especially cooked, have potential to both break off and cause a perforation of the digestive tract or, if large amounts are consumed, could cause an obstruction.
  • Other foods to avoid include:  grapes and raisins, excessively salty foods, foods flavored with onion or garlic powder, desserts and sweets containing Xylitol, and chocolates.
  • All leftovers should be secured behind a pet-proof door.
  • Remember, keep your trash can secure.  Many items used in the meal preparation and then thrown away can be dangerous.  A turkey string, foil wrappers, etc. may smell like food and be eaten by a curious pet.
  • Decorative plants are also a source of danger. Mistletoe and holly can cause vomiting and lilies are often deadly to cats. Poinsettas, despite their reputation, are not deadly and often cause little more than mild stomach upset.
  • Some holiday decorations are also dangerous. Ribbons and tinsel are especially attractive and hazardous to cats. Keep an eye on electrical cords to ensure puppies and kittens don’t chew on them.
  • During family gatherings, it might be best to keep pets confined if they are overly anxious. Also, monitor people going in and out of the front door. Pets might take advantage and try to escape.
  • Remember that Knowles Animal Clinc is open 24-7 during the holiday weekend. The address is 1000 NW 27th Avenue.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kittens, Smirnov and Stoli


These two kittens were found across the street in the empty fenced-in lot on 3rd Street. And now they need a loving home!

They are brothers and six months old. Smirnov is the Russian Blue and his brother Stoli, is the brown tabby.

Smirnov is all Russian-- intelligent, handsome with his short clean cut look, the blue-gray fur like a luxurious coat straight out of Dr. Zhivago, stoic and penetrating green eyes leave you mesmerized. For fun, Smirnov hunts for invisible creatures and then bounces around in a wild bunny hop. All he's missing is the vodka.


His brother on the other hand may have been nursed with vodka. His paws clumsily grab at dangling objects unable to pin them down.  A timid kitten, he peaks around the door watching his brother take a big step into unknown, wide space--the living room. An object moves and Stoli quickly scurries under the bed. His small round baby face is so endearing, he welcomes the cradling, the cooing, and the endless scratching of his head or belly rubs.  Stoli wants to be a kitten forever. 

These kittens need a loving home. They are both deflead, dewormed, received blood test, vaccinated and neutered.  You can adopt either kitten for only $75.00 or make their day and adopt both brothers for only $85.00. Any vet would charge $250 just to neuter them! If you adopt both kittens, you'll receive A GIFT BASKET that includes not one but two luxurious cat pet beds, premium cat food both moist and dry food, and the ASPCA cat handbook! Retail value for gift basket is $65.00.

According to cat experts, it's better to adopt two cats than one. They are happy and healthier when they have a playmate and are less likely to destroy your home. They are complete opposite but understand and love eachother.

If interested, please call Christine at 786-205-6165..

P.S. the mother is a new cat on the block but she does not reside where the Riverfront cats live by main entrance. The mother needs to be spayed before she gets pregnant again! To donate to this effort, please call or email Christine! Remember this is not the job of Animal Services or Humane Society. It's our responsibility--the community's responsibility. Click here to learn more.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Feral Cats Live Healthy Outdoors

Recently and  ironically, a well known animal organization, PETA, believes in trapping and euthanizing feral cats.

First "feral" cats are essentially cats that do not socialize with humans. However, they can still be fed by local volunteers and live just as healthily as indoor cats.

Another well-recognized organization, Alley Cat Allies, spoke out against PETA's claims. Here is a link to their website that explains the science behind feral cats.

The general public knows very little about cats, less about homeless cats, and even less about feral cats. Please share this posting with all your contacts. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Update--new kittens discovered

It has been awhile since I walked by the empty lot on 3rd Street where Alfonso, a homeless man, used to "live". As I walked by I  noticed not one, not two, but three older kittens. Oh no!!! How could I neglect this section where cats could easily hide and give birth?! Well, the reason is obvious, Alfonso had amassed a literal mountain of trash that was so repulsive I would get nauseous at the sight alone not counting the eery spiders and record-size cockroaches.

Immediately I noticed the kittens were already 5-6 months old. THIS IS BAD NEWS. This means the females can get pregnant any minute! Oh cat goddess help me!

What to do? Well one positive aspect of Alfonso living on the lot, is that he had been feeding the cats dry cat food. So the kittens were used to getting close to humans. After the City of Miami evicted Alfonso for trespassing on private property, I took over the feedings with permission from the owner.
In total I counted two females and two males.  This means the Riverfront condos could have 20-50 cats within a year! In addition to the 17 that live on or around the property.  (How? Each female can give birth three times year to a litter of one to seven kittens). I witnessed this last year and rescued every kitten! But I can not do it alone anymore.

With expenditures averaging $150+ a month just to feed the regular colony of 17 cats, and the countless hours and sacrificing many nights feeding the cats, our three volunteers have limits. It was time to alert the association and educate them in order to effect a community-action plan to stop the cat population from exploding and reaching crisis proportions as they are experiencing in Miami Beach.

Sadly, after two months of sending emails via a middle person (no one will give me contact information), the Master Association of the IVY and WIND and MINT have yet to return any of my messages to just set up a meeting.

Residents witness the hurried exterior improvements such as brick pavers, the rows of palm trees and shrubbery, and new fencing costing a few million dollars. Why won't the association set aside 20 minutes to address an  "exterior feature" that will affect the neighborhood? I have offered a win-win-win solution  for the residents, the cats, and the assocation. Could it be that the three individuals on the board are not animal people? Possible. Also the cost to sterilize 5 cats is $70 each. $350 is a drop in the bucket compared to the millions spent on "aesthetic" improvements.

Given the urgency of the situation, I will make a final attempt to reach out to the association before turning to the media for help.

Here's hoping for the best.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Poor Reporting by WPLG on Hookworm

As some of you may have heard, there is a reported outbreak of hookworms on 50-52nd Street in Miami Beach. On WPLG, Local 10, they reported that the source was cat feces and that the city was going to trap the many cats and take them to Animal Services.

Sadly, WPLG has erroneously reported the facts which are very misleading.

First while it is true that humans can contract hookworms from cat feces, they can also get it from dog feces and human feces.  While there are many stray cats in the area, health investigators did NOT find any cat feces on the beach itself as originally reported. Cat feces were found nearby but not on the beach sand where the victims most likely contracted it when walking in bare feet.

We also know that residents take their dogs walking on the beach where they do defecate and the owners do not always pick it up. It happens here at our condo complex everyday. So it is possible the people infected with hookworm contracted it from dog feces.

Since the stray cats in the area are visible, they are to blame by WPLG reporter Rob Schmitt. What happened to journalistic integrity and doing homework or research?

Next, it was reported the stray cats were going to be trapped and taken to Animal Services which means they will be put to sleep.  The facts are that the City of Miami Beach never said that according to the Chief of staff.  What I do know is that the City is working with the Cat Network to trap the cats, get them sterilized and also apply topical medication to treat any parasites. 

It was also reported that residents would be fined for feeding cats.  What viewers need to know is that as long as tons of food and containers are not left unattended, volunteers can feed cats as long as they stay for the feeding to ensure no trash is left behind.

This is what we do here at Riverfront. We know how to feed the cats, what food they will eat and the proper amounts so there are no remaining crumbs attracting ants and insects. That is why we ask residents not to throw leftover human food into the alley. Some foods are harmful for cats.

I used to be a long-time viewer of Channel 10 but their journalistic reporting is no longer of high standing. There is no fact checking and grossly misleads viewers.

Please feel free to share this posting so residents do have the facts.

After many residents and experts called in with complaints of erroneous reporting, WPLG has since changed their report.  Here is the link to the latest report.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Can't the Humane Society or ASPCA help?

This posting is very important as it answers commonly asked questions about stray cats. I had the same questions and learned it's really the responsibility of a community, not the government or Humane Society to help these animals. That is why we need volunteers to continue our efforts to control the cat population.

1. Can't the Humane Society or ASPCA come out and rescue these cats?

Answer: both of these organizations are private entities with different goals. The Humane Society does NOT go out to the community. Rather they accept a very limited number of friendly, healthy pets that owners surrender or can not care for. The Humane Society then will find a new home for that pet.

The ASPCA, addresses a different problem--pets that are neglected or abused. ASPCA does wonderful work to rescue these animals, nurture and rehabilitate them. 

Neither organization goes out and traps outdoors cats and kittens.

2. Can't Miami-Dade Animal Services come out and trap and take these cats away?

Answer: Animal Services, as a county-run operation funded by our taxes, only picks up dead or injured animals on public property. They do not trap stray cats (feral or friendly strays).

However, Animal Services shelters will take in any animal, pet or strays. Since the shelter receives approximately 100 cats a day and due to limited space, friendly cats that are not adopted in five days are euthanized. So even if someone has to surrender their pet (dog or cat) because they are moving and the new condo does not accept pets, that dog or cat most likely will be put to sleep.

Therefore it is really the responsibility of a community--both residents and businesses and condo associations to address the issue together.  Unfortunately, there are no cat sanctuaries in Miami to relocate the cats to. Trapping any outdoor cats and "relocating" them to an island or park or any other location is illegal under Florida law.  It is considered "dumping and abandoning" as it is known that cats will instinctively run away in search of their original "home" where they are likely to get injured, starve or get killed.

The most effective solution is TNR---Trap, Neuter, Release.  If an outdoor cat is feral or wild, it should be trapped, taken for sterilization, and released back to the outdoors.  This limits new cats from joining the colony as cats are often territorial and this prevents cat population from growing. From there it's easy--just regular feedings and ensuring no cat is injured.

The Cat Network is a wonderful resource. They teach individuals and associations how to humanely trap the cats and where to get low cost sterilization and vaccinations, how to capture kittens, foster them and find them homes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's Raining Black Cats

Celebrity Cat: Otto from Los Angeles

Le Chat Noir was a fabulous event and a success!

If you missed this exciting, inaugural event, there are many photo slideshows to watch.

The day started with a Harley motorcycle ride from Peterson's South dealer to the EPIC Hotel in downtown Miami--the only five star hotel that allows pets!

The celebrity guest was biker cat, Otto, and his chauffer, Christopher Coppola (nephew to Francis Ford Coppola and brother to Nicolas Cage).

 Thanks to a wonderful photographer, Claudia Rehder, she captured the essence of the event!

Christopher Coppola and Otto arrive at the EPIC Hotel, downtown Miami

Christopher Coppola and Otto wearing Goggles

Otto and Christine connect

Otto and Christine fall in love

Back at the gallery, swimsuit models practice with fellow black cat models walking down catwalk.

Swimsuit model and Gypsy (black cat model)

Christopher and Otto arrive at art Gallery in Design District

Otto comfortably smiles at flashing cameras and walks through crowds/fans

Carole Stevens Bibisi and Christine Michaels
Carole Stevens Bibisi is the well known author of a book that champions the cause of black cats, "Tails of American Bronte". Visit her site at

Tia with Gypsy and Charlene with Dusky Rose
The two black kittens above were models for the evening and showed off their beauty, grace and intelligence. They shined on the catwalk as they walked on leashes. Both kittens are available for adoption! If you're interested in cats that are not "scared" or "skiddish" and love attention and people, these kittens are very special. They have been exposed to people and crowds since they were little. If you are interested in adopting them PLEASE CONTACT the Cat Network at

The event raised awareness about the plight of homeless cats and shone a spotlight on black cats to turn around myths associated with their black color. The video below shares the positive history of the black cats, photos of famous celebrities with their black cat, and Top 10 Reasons to Adopt a Black Cat.

To see more photos of the event by Tomas Loewy, click here.

You can save a life! Donate, volunteer, foster--anything. Contact Christine Michaels to help the Riverfront Cats.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Your Invited to Le Chat Noir, October 2nd

You are invited to a very special event..

An event to raise awareness about homeless pets, Le Chat Noir (the Black Cat) is an elegant, chic soiree to dazzle at the Design District in Miami, Florida.

This is for ALL animal lovers, not just cat people. Come enjoy an evening with professionals of all backgrounds with a common interest in turning around the rising numbers of homeless pets.

For only $50 a ticket, attendees enjoy unlimited Bacardi cocktails, wine, hors d' by Smith & Wollensky, Buddha Bar type music, the unveiling of the DEVA swimwear with a fashion show and black cats strutting down the catwalk modeling their diamond collars, grace and beauty. To top off the event, celebrity guest Christopher R. Coppola and his biker cat (and black cat) Otto will ride up in matching top hats, all in celebrating the event's honoree.

A galore of raffle prizes including hotel packages with round of golf, spa packages, family memberships to local attractions will be given away.

Don't miss this inaugural event. Help save a life or nine lives by supporting this wonderful cause.
Click here to purchase tickets.

 (Tickets are $75 at the door).

Christine Michaels
Chairperson, Le Chat Noir
The Cat Network

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Christine Named Volunteer of the Month

Greetings Friends, Family & Neighbors of Christine Michaels, this is her "blog sister" Alicia Grecco.

I received news that Christine was named Volunteer of the Month by the Cat Network.

You would think she won the Nobel Peace Prize. Christine was overjoyed with tears!

I think it's part exhaustion. As many of you know Christine has two jobs (a day off is rare--maybe couple of hours by the pool she's still working on the phone) and is dedicated to ensuring the 17 stray cats on her condo complex are fed daily, are happy, healthy and playful. Without the consistency of feeding, the cats tend to risk crossing the six-lane road (with cars speeding like demonic machines) in search of food. Not mother nature, not fashion police, nothing will stop her from feeding the cats. You'll even find Christine in 4-inch Jimmy Choos and Ellie Tahari suit gracefully walking on gravel, scooping cat food and petting furry heads with her perfectly manicured hands.  Sounds like a juxtaposition. It's the professional Cat Lady, the Sexy Cat Lady as her neighbors call her.
On top of that she is orchestrating an elegant soiree/fundraiser for the Cat Network on Oct 2, the first of its kind. She will announce it soon so all animal lovers can attend. This she does on her free time as a volunteer! As a soccer mom I thought my life was the ultimate juggling act. While Christine may not have children, her various jobs and projects are her children. She is 200% committed and it shows.

So what does Christine share on this announcement day "I still hear people complain about BP's irresponsible, negligent corporate behavior in not investing in safety measures in proportion to their oil rig operations. In addition to the welfare of businesses/families affected, animal lovers are concerned about the suffering of sea life. Well I want to bring to everyone's attention, there are animals suffering in your backyard everyday! The stray and feral cats are born as a result of the neglect of a neighbor who did not spay/neuter their outdoor cat or are dumping them into the streets! The litany of dangers, diseases, injuries that plague a street cat's life will move you to tears!"

She continues, "In downtown Miami, we are witnessing a proliferation of cat population that did not exist before. True animal lovers can help with minimal effort and money and make a huge difference. I would ask that anyone reading this, contact a local rescue group for cats and dogs, and ask how they can help."

If you live in Miami, next time you're walking your high-priced dog with the $40 collar or buying $10+ cocktails at Happy Hour, consider donating a few dollars to help one innocent creature live humanely. This website will tell you how.

"Until someone has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How You Can Help

There are many ways residents can help the Riverfront cats live humanely. Please take the time to learn the various ways and choose one or more ways that fits your ability to donate financially or with your time. Just think if your pet escaped and went homeless, wouldn't you want someone to show compassion to your lost, homeless pet?

Click here for HOW YOU CAN HELP.

You are ALWAYS welcome to join Christine or Gustavo (the father of Matilda) or the other Gustavo (dog walker) to meet the cats, watch how they are fed, interact with them, and see them play.

Lastly Christine judiciously saves all receipts if anyone would like to see how much cat food she has purchased in past year. The management at local Publix all know her by name since she shops there three times a week for cat food.

Bless you for considering. Remember the problem of feral and stray cats is not a cat problem. It's a human problem. Now we have a responsibility to help them live humanely.

Steve Wozniak--Founder of Apple, helps homeless cats

Below is a video done by Steve Wozniak for the Humane Society of Silicone Valley.

The problem of feral and stray cats is our problem. A human problem. When a cat owner neglects to spay/neuter their pet cat, they multiply in society.

Please spread the message to anyone you know, to please spay/neuter to prevent animal overpopulation and cruelty.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I AM An Animal Rescuer

I am an animal rescuer.

I will never bring about world peace.

I will not save the rain forest.

I'm not a brain surgeon and I'll never transplant an organ to save a life.

I don't have the ear of a powerful politician or world power.

I can't end world hunger. I'm not a celebrity, and God knows I'm not glamorous!

I'm not looked up to by millions around the world. Very few people even recognize my name.

I'll never win the Nobel Prize.

I'll never save the rain forest or end global warming.

There are a lot of things that I'll never do or become.

But today I placed a cat in a loving home!!!

It was a small, scared, bundle of flesh and bones that was dropped off by unfeeling people that didn't care what happened to it, but yet who were responsible for it even having existence in the first place. I found it a home. It now has contentment and an abundance of love. A warm place to sleep and plenty to eat.
No, I'm not a rocket scientist but today I saved one of God's precious creatures.

Today, I made a difference!

I Am An Animal Rescuer.

My job is to assist God's creatures.

I was born with the need to fulfill their needs. I take in new family members without plan, thought or selection. I have bought cat food with my last dime. I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand. I have hugged someone vicious and afraid. I have fallen in love a thousand times and I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body.

I have Animal Friends and friends who have Animal Friends. I don't often use the word "pet." I notice those lost at the road side and my heart aches.

I know of no creature unworthy of my time. I want to live forever if there aren't animals in Heaven but I believe there are!

Why would God make something so perfect and leave it behind? We may be master of the animals, but the animals have mastered themselves. Something people still haven't learned.

War and abuse make me hurt for the world but a rescue that makes the news gives me hope for humankind.

We are a quiet but determined army and making a difference every day.

There is nothing more necessary than warming an orphan.

There is nothing more rewarding than saving a life.

No higher recognition than watching them thrive.

There is no greater joy than seeing a baby play who only days ago, was too weak to eat.

I am an Animal Rescuer.

My work is never done. My home is never quiet.

My wallet is always empty, but my heart is always full.

In the game of life, I have already won!

~ Annette Kincker ~

As animal rescuers and caretakers, we thank Annette for her eloquent and moving words that beautifully sums up our never-ending efforts but brings us infinite joy. CHRISTINE


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Can Make Big Difference in Small Ways

We often hear people say, "If I had lots of money or won the lottery, I would donate substantially to help these animals or start a rescue and buy land to house them all."

Well, you don't have to dream big to make a big difference. In small ways, you can have a tremendous impact!

We are in need of the following:

1- Cat feeders.  Currently we have three volunteers who ensure the cats are fed every night. We would greatly appreciate help one night a week. A teamwork is formed and thanks to text messaging and email technology, volunteers can always switch nights for any reason.

2- Water Feeders. Can you imagine living outside with no clean water to drink? Well this is very easy. Just on your way out, you can leave bowls filled with water. Takes less than 5 minutes!

3- Cat food donation. The cats eat Friskies dry cat food (Seafood flavor) and canned moist food, also Friskies brand. Riverfront pets are accustomed to the moist food with lots of gravy such as "Chicken & Salmon" in gravy. This help with dehydration. On a daily basis it takes 8 cans and one-third of a 4 lb. bag.

 4- Cash donation. Whatever is easier, whether cash, check, gift card or via PayPal (to, we accept all forms of donations towards the purchase of cat food or paying vet bills.

- Pre pay for medical treatments at the Brickell Animal Hospital. This is another great way to have funds readily available for those unexpected emergencies. The clinic is located around the corner on 8th Street. Convenient!

6- Prevent Cat Population. To contribute towards spaying/neutering the cats (two need to be sterilized: Bobby and Elvis), please make a donation to the Octavio Feline Foundation in the name of Riverfront Cats. It costs $80/cat to have cat humanely trapped by professional, the surgery for spay/neuter, rabies vaccination and two days of post surgery care. As you may know it costs $250 on average just to have a cat spayed/neutered at regular vet but through this wonderful foundation, they can do more for less money.

You can make a tax-deductible donation to Octavio Feline Foundation (as permitted by extent of the law) and receive a receipt. However, please know the Foundation only accepts cash at this time (from individuals) due to countless checks bouncing during the past two years. The founder/President ended up spending thousands of her own money to cover the medical bills. Also, when cats are spayed/neutered, they also receive rabies vaccination.

If you have any questions or are ready to help, please contact Christine via email



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'm Not a Cat Person--A True Story

I’m really not a cat person and below is my true story.
by Christine Michaels

I’m not a cat person, so I adopted a kitten.

I’m not a cat person, so I adopted a second kitten (who passed away two years ago).

I’m not a cat person, so I joined Cat Network.

I’m not a cat person, and I help humanely trap homeless cats to get them spayed/neutered.

I’m not a cat person, and now I foster kittens.

I’m not a cat person, and I have cared for countless cats.

For years, I used to say I’m not a cat person. Then one weekday, while at the pet store shopping for dog food for my maltese dog, a young man was cradling a four- week old orange marmalade kitten and asked me “Would you like a kitten?” I said, “Me? No I’m not a cat person”. He then went on to explain that he found the kitten and already kept four other ones he found in earlier weeks. “It’s kitten season, and I just can’t have anymore cats and want to find this little guy a home”. Of course those milky blue eyes contrasting the orange fur just blankly looked at me and I replied “He’s so cute I’m sure someone at my office will want to keep him”.

So I took the kitten to work and walked around the office confident someone would instantly want him, love him, and make him part of their family. But it was a busy day and many employees were out in the field for various projects. When I took the kitten home, my dog,  fell in love with the kitten. Instinctively she was nurturing and licking him like a mother and playing with him. I knew I wanted a playmate for Ma Cherie who’s long face and sad eyes ripped my heart every time I left for work. But I couldn’t have a second dog, mostly because my association did not allow more than one “pet”.

With time I discovered the kitten was the perfect solution. Ma Cherie had a playmate she long desired, and for me it was easier to care for the cat and not worry about walking it, grooming, bathing regularly, etc. So he was baptized with a French name of course, Jean Pierre. Naturally, I fell in love with the kitten. (For condo buildings that do not allow pets, I discovered many residents have cats because they don’t make noise, and you don’t have to walk them outside—the invisible pet).

So why did I say was not a cat person all those years? Upon reflecting, I would say it was out of ignorance. I never had a cat of my own to care for from kittenhood. Normally I would base my decision on other people’s cats. Soon I learned that cats have unique personalities, gestures, antics and so much more, just like dogs. In this case, Jean Pierre was more like a dog. He greets me at the door, just like Ma Cherie, and he rolls over on his back to scratch his belly. He’s also affectionate.

Then when I would take Ma Cherie with me shopping and on errands, Jean Pierre cried. He didn’t like being alone. So I adopted a second kitten, Pepe Francois. This was the next best decision. The three siblings played together, ate together and slept together. Jean Pierre never meowed again out of loneliness. Cat experts say it’s better to get two kittens than one. They are so right!

Pepe Francois had his own personality. He was more shy around strangers but he was my guardian angel, laying at my feet, crowned my head as I slept or perched on chair while I sat at my office desk. Sadly he passed away suddenly at five years of age. The heartache was too much to bear my outlet were both tears and writing a tribute to my baby boy.

But God works in mysterious ways. I lost one cat. And then I gained four.

I highly recommend adopting a cat as a playmate for owners of certain dogs. But I also recommend adopting two cats! Also, the advantage of adopting from the Cat Network (a South Florida non profit), is that you know the disposition, personality of the cats. Unlike other organizations where cats are kept in cages with limited human interaction, cats from Cat Network are nurtured in the loving homes of volunteers.

Now I am a cat person. Moreso, I proudly say I AM A CAT WOMAN!

So every time someone tells me they are not a cat person, I ask them why. Their story is a copy-cat of my story. Imagine that! They never raised a cat and based their decision on other cats (unless they have strong allergies to cats). So I share my story.

Most likely you are a cat person!

A Guardian Angel

The lead guardian angel for the Riverfront cats is a renter, Christine Michaels.  She moved to The Ivy in April 2009. While walking her neighbor's dog some days she noticed a couple of stray cats. She left some food and water with a heavy heart wondering how they survived with the overbearing humidity and no clean water.

One day after work, Christine noticed a four-week old kitten at the main entrance scurring across the mulch and about to jump onto the concrete and cross the street. Christine's heart sank and instinctively she lead the kitten back to her mother. But this little tuxedo kitten was insistent on leaving the nest, desperate for something. Christine soon discovered the kitten was starving. The mother, Aurora, was skinny with no milk left for the runt of her litter. Christine had no idea Aurora was pregnant and had kittens. So Christine immediately called the Cat Network, a well known organization that teaches residents and cat owners how to rescue kittens, trap cats, care for them after surgery (spay/neuter) and more.

A local volunteer from the Cat Network drove out and showed Christine different ways to capture kittens. Soon Christine was nurturing Aurora's three kittens--Geisha, Bebe and Michael Jackson. And yes MJ did the moonwalk! That's how he received his name. Caring for three kittens was no small task. 

Then a neighbor came rushing to Christine another afternoon to say they saw a tabby kitten under the construction trailer. Another one! Cosette, the single female who lived under the trailer, had given birth to one kitten. Thanks to the help again of the Cat Network, little Helio was captured with a fish net!

But wait, there's more! Aurora's sister, Midora gave birth to SEVEN kittens.  One was tragically killed by speeding vehicle.  Christine felt so depressed and guilty, she cancelled her flight plans that Labor Day weekend. As one expert consoled her, "You can't save them all".

The prospect of caring for more kittens until they were old enough to be adopted was daunting.  The mission now was to get all the adult cats spayed/neutered.

Christine had no knowledge of the plight of homeless cats. Moving to The Ivy, she was suddenly enlightened and saddened all at once.  She had no idea how much they suffered. Ironically, Christine used to say "I'm not a cat person". Today, she religiously feeds all 20 cats seven days a week and is a member of the Cat Network.

"I feel like Cinderella, whenever I call for them, the cats jump out from hiding and come running toward me, some rubbing their amazing silky fur against my legs. Even the feral ones! They know me, they trust me. That unconditional love is the greatest feeling of all."


Sunday, August 1, 2010

The History of the Riverfront Cats

Approximately 17 cats live within the Riverfront condominium complex in north downtown Miami. Most of these cats were born here (feral cats) well before the construction was completed. A couple were dumped by owners (stray cats). Initially construction workers fed them scraps of food. However, once you feed cats regularly, they become accustomed to it. This can be beneficial or harmful.

Once you begin feeding cats, they must get spayed/neutered. Why? Cats reproduce quickly! One non-sterilized cat can lead to 98-5,000 offspring over the years. This leads to a host of problems. First the fact that more feral cats are populating the neighborhood. Next, they have kittens and often they face dangers. A city is no place for a kitten or even a cat. The litany of dangers and suffering is heartbreaking--getting trapped within construction equipment, kittens getting stuck inside the engine of a car, soaking up car discharge and licking it, inheriting  feline AIDS or leukemia and suffering a slow, agonizing death.

That is why it is imperative that all outdoor cat owners or cat caretakers MUST GET THE OUTDOOR CATS SPAYED/NEUTERED. It is apparent that some of these cats used to be someone's indoor cat and dumped into the street. They are too friendly to be born in the wild. All it takes is one irresponsible cat owner and they multiply and are born homeless.

As of late 2009, fifteen of the Riverfront cats are spayed/neutered which leaves two to trap for neutering.  It is known that Elvis is a male, and Bobbi is believed to be a male also. They should still get neutered as they also receive rabies vaccinations during the surgery.

On the flip side, regulary feeding leads to happy cats that no longer feed on bugs and insects and rats. They also live more humanely and are less likely to roam the streets searching for food and therefore get struck by a vehicle.

Once the construction workers left the property, one new resident spearheaded the efforts to get all the cats spayed/neutered and feeds them daily. The Riverfront cats are for the most part, healthy, happy and playful. They are like pet cats. Some cats are friendly and feeders can pet them. Others are forever skiddish, but none of them are aggressive with humans and have never attacked a dog or human. They are more scared of us.

If you genuinely love animals and have always wanted to help unfortunate souls, well here is the perfect opportunity where you can see your money and/or time make a direct impact. But I warn you: you will fall in love with these cats--even if you're a noncat person!

To the world, you might be just one person but, to one animal, you are their world.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


This posting is to summarize commonly asked questions about homeless cats to better understand the issue and how to coexist with them in any community. This post also addresses the cats at the Riverfront community specifically. We welcome your additional questions. Please send them to:

Q: Where do homeless cats come from?
A: The cats all originate from a cat owner who did not spay/neuter their pet cat. Also, these past two years, cat owners who can not afford or want to keep their cats are dumping them into the streets. Cats multiply quickly and one unsterilized cat can lead to 5,000 cats in seven generations thus creating a growing homeless cat population. That is why it is critical for cat owners to spay/neuter their cats. Also it is illegal to drop off a cat in another neighborhood, city, park, etc.

Q: Can homeless cats be "relocated"?
A: For the most part it is illegal under Florida law (and punishable up to $5,000 and jail time) to "relocate" a cat.  Relocating a cat is just a euphemism for dumping and abandoning. Cats are territorial and if you take an outdoor cat and place it in a different environment, the cat will instinctively run away in search of home. During this "escape" the cats, unfamiliar with the new surroundings, face dangers, injuries and starvation.

Q: Who is responsible for their care?
A: Ultimately it's the community's responsibility, not the city or county, not Animal Services or Humane Society (click here for more information on these services). If someone feeds a stray cat, it is imperative to have that cat spayed/neutered to prevent a cat population from exploding. There are many low cost clinics in South Florida for sterilization that cost about $25.00 vs. $250 at a veterinarian. For a listing, visit

Q: What is the best way to care for the stray cats?
A: At the Riverfront community, volunteers follow the philosophy of the Cat Network of South Florida and the Humane Society of the United States. First all adult cats are TNRd (Trapped-Neutered-Returned) and receive rabies shot. Second, when feeding them near a residential or business complex, it's best to portion control the feedings instead of leaving mountains of dry food that could attract ants, flies if it later rains. If there are any kittens, they are immediately captured no earlier than 6 weeks. Then the volunteers have them deflead, dewormed, taken for blood test, vaccinations, sterilization and placed in loving home, OFF THE STREETS.

This process ensures the cats are not roaming too far in search of food and placing them in danger, the cat population is controlled through process called TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), lessens the noises from mating and fighting, and no foul odor that is associated with urine from an unneutered male.

Q: Can the cats be taken to Animal Services run by the county?
A: If someone chooses to trap the cats, they can be taken to Animal Services. However, even healthy, stray cats ARE PUT TO SLEEP because they are not adoptable (their home is the Riverfront community). Only adoptable cats are kept alive for five days. If no one adopts the cats, they are automatically euthanized. Please visit their website for more information.

Taking the cats to Animal Services is not an option for the majority of Riverfront residents. As animal lovers they  do not believe it is necessary to euthanize an animal if the cat is healthy and happy here at the Riverfront. This is their home. THE CATS ARE LIKE BIRDS, an INHERIT PART OF THE COMMUNITY. The cats do not provoke or cause any danger or health risk. If anything, many residents are relieved there are no rats given the amount of trash immediately outside the property.

 If a dog owner is concerned their dog may go after the cat, it is the dog owner's responsibility to ensure they can control the dog.  The leash law in Florida is imporant for many reasons.

The cats at the Riverfront are not homeless. They are Riverfront Pets. We welcome your donations of food, funding for vet bills to continue caring for these innocent creatures.

CLICK HERE to view a VIDEO about homeless cats.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about your community.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Thank you for your interest in (a 501c3 nonprofit under the umbrella of Pawsitively Humane, Inc.)

The subject of cats is relatively unknown to non cat owners and the subjects of pet cats, stray cats, feral cats, black cats are a deep well.  Our goal is to educate the average person about the facts and therefore overturn misconceptions and reverse the rate of homeless cats in this country, starting in our backyard--Miami, FL

We welcome cat-related interviews, sponsorships, promotions, advertising, product and book reviews, and commercials. As of May 2014,  Riverfront Cats received 7,500 page views per month.
* 34% are non cat owners (someone who has found a stray cat or kitten)
* 33% first time cat owners
* 33% current cat owners

Facebook Fans = 9,000 +
Twitter Followers = 2,500+

Apart from web visits, we receive calls daily from people who have to find a home for their pet cat or someone who has found a stray cat or kitten and needs guidance from A to Z. 

Christine Michaels, founder of Riverfront Cats is a blogger, writer, feral cat caretaker and experienced speaker on live television and radio.  Whether she's dressed in a suit debating the solutions for humane treatment of feral cats or wearing her famous black cat costume, in four-inch heels, feeding outdoor cats and setting  cat traps, Christine is the modern cat woman and draws attention from cat owners and curious animal lovers alike.

 Her accomplishments include:
* Chairperson of the inaugural Black Cat gala for The Cat Network, 2009
* Inclusion in Book "Publicity to the Rescue" by Susan Daffron
* Contributing writer for Pet360
* Originator of Riverfront Cats blog and neighborhood TNRM effort
* Founder and President of nonprofit Pawsitively Humane, Inc  ( the umbrella nonprofit for Riverfront Cats.


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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Medios de Comunicación/Relaciones Públicas

Gracias por su interés en

El tema de los gatos es relativamente desconocido para los no propietarios de gatos y el tema de los gatos domésticos, gatos callejeros, gatos salvajes, gatos negros aún es un tabú. Nuestro objetivo es educar a la persona promedio de los hechos y por lo tanto revocar malentendidos y reducir la tasa de gatos sin hogar en este país, a partir de nuestro patio trasero - Miami, FL

Damos la bienvenida a las entrevistas relacionadas a gatos, patrocinios, promociones, publicidad,  reseñas de libros y productos y anuncios. En marzo de 2013,  Riverfront
Cats recibió 4.723 visitas de  por mes.
* 34% no son propietarios de gatos (alguien que ha encontrado un gato callejero o gatito)
* 33% son propietarios de gatos por primera vez
* 33% son actualmente propietarios de gatos

Fanáticos en Facebook = 9,000 +
Seguidores de Twitter = 2,000

Además de visitas a la web, recibimos llamadas todos los días de personas que necesitan encontrar un hogar para su gato o alguien que ha encontrado un gato callejero o un gatito y necesita una guía de la A a la Z.

Christine Michaels, fundadora de Riverfront Cats es una escritora de bitácoras, escritora, experta en gatos callejeros, vocera experta en televisión y radio en vivo. Ya sea que ella esté vestida con un traje debatiendo las soluciones para el tratamiento humano de los gatos salvajes o disfrazada de gato negro, con tacones de diez centímetros, alimentando gatos al aire libre y el establecimiento de trampas gato, Christine es la mujer gato moderna y llama la atención de los dueños de gatos y curiosos amantes de animales por igual.

  Sus logros incluyen:
* Presidente de la gala inaugural Gato Negro para La Red de Gatos, 2009
* La inclusión en el libro "La publicidad al Rescate" por Susan Daffron
* Escritora Colaboradora de Pet360
* Creadora de la bitácora Riverfront Cats y esfuerzo ACSM (Atrapar, Castrar, Soltar, Manejar)
en su comunidad. 
* Fundadora y Presidente de la organización no lucrativa Pawsitively Humane, Inc ( la organización no lucrativa cobertora de Riverfront.Cats