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."