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.