Monday, June 27, 2011

More Commercials featuring Cats!

Nowadays more cats are appearing on commercials. 

Recently I've seen cats using their paws to slide the screen of a Sprint touch screen phone.

There's the famous IKEA cat commercial where 100 cats were released in a UK IKEA store. This commercial won some type of award I can't remember now. (See first video below).

Even better is the insider's view of the making of that commercial (second video that received 3 MILLION HITS!!!)--meeting the cats (these are not-trained-for-TV animals) and their owners, and then the expected chaos of unleashing 100 cats. Producing a commercial is a tremendous amount of work and imagine these people had to work during the middle of night. But it's also a lot of fun. I gushed with pride to see the union of my two loves--advertising (my career) and cats (my children).

Best of all a Skittle's commercial uses a cat.  This commercial was awarded the prestigious GOLD Cannes Lion just this past week at the Cannes Lion Festival.  This is the Oscars to the creative agency awards. The AOR (agency of record) is BBDO of Toronto, Canada.

Naturally as a cat advocate I'm thrilled. Until the plight of homeless cats has a celebrity spokesperson like all other causes, this is a good start to spotlight the beauty, grace, and intelligence of cats to get more adopted and save them from euthanization.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Communities Try to Control Burgeoning Cat Population

Today an article appeared in the USA Today titled " Communities Try to Control Cat Population". It begins:

A growing number of animal advocates and local communities are stepping up efforts to curb the overpopulation of cats by offering low-cost or free spaying and neutering. Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says a number of factors are contributing to the booming cat population, including a rise in pet ownership that often leads to cats being abandoned, more suburban yards that provide ideal habitat for feral cats and fewer stray dogs that chased or killed cats in the past.

The article reports from various cities as they face the same challenge. The Cat Network of South Florida was also quoted. (To read the complete article, scroll down to end of this posting).

Adding my own two cents, I would add that other definite factors are lack of knowledge of the responsibility of caring for a kitten or cat; the dismal economy; and sheer ignorance of owners who dump their cats into the streets. They may or may not know the exponential birth rate that results from thie irresponsibility of leaving their once indoor or protected cat to the unknown surroundings of the dumping site.

Again, as I continually preach, we need to get to the root of the problem through EDUCATION and COMMUNICATION. Low cost spaying and neutering addresses the surface problem but not the root of it. 

Like a faithful preacher, I never fail to bring up my efforts when meeting or talking to strangers, in line at the grocery store, at a function, any place, any where.  Word of mouth costs nothing.

In the process, including this blog,  I pray for someone or some organization to step forward to help with a comprehensive, full-scale, marketing campaign with billboards, Public Service Announcements in TV and radio, print ads, etc., to educate the public to spay/neuter their pets AND STRAY CATS. If you feed a stray cat, please have it spayed/neutered. If not, it leads to animal cruelty. Videos for example would show how half of stray kittens die before eight weeks of age.  The adults fight for survival.  While some stray cats are feral, if you feed it, in a sense, it's your cat. Obviously you care for the kitty so he and she do not starve.  It's impossible to order humans not to feed cats. A former Miami Beach mayor learned that lesson the hard way.  He says "If there's one important lesson in politics, it's never mess with cat people".   It's human nature to offer food to a hungry human, a starving animal.

There are professionals for hire who will do all the work of T-N-R (Trap, Neuter, Return) including feral or wild cats. A person will come out to your neighborhood or place where you feed a colony of strays, trap the cats, take them to the vet for surgery (neuter/spay), care for them post surgery and then drive back and return them to their home environment.  Yes, it can be done for feral cats. It's done all the time.

But when I mention the average cost of $70 per cat, suddenly these individuals don't have the money. Yet earlier I overheard their conversations of the single guy who "goes out every weekend with friends" drinking and dining, the outfit she bought but never wore costing a day or week's paycheck, and the number of non necessities we spend on daily. They are animal lovers to the point of not crimping their budgets for indulgence.  It breaks my heart. They mean well by feeding the cats, but are part of the problem at the same time.

What is an animal lover? A topic for another blog post.

Some of you grew up with Bob Barker from the Price is Right game show as I did. He was the only celebrity who regularly reminded us to "help control homeless pet population, spay and neuter your pets".

We need a new Bob Barker! A handsome or gorgeous, articulate celebrity to be the voice for the voiceless, homeless cats.  Who will fill that critical post, vacant for over a decade??? 

If you know of someone to be that angel or hero to overcome this epidemic in South Florida, I would love to hear from you!

Christine Michaels

p.s to read the rest of the USA Today article, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fabulous wedding gift!

When I read this article, I knew I had to share this. This couple chose a non-traditional wedding gift choice. Click below to learn more and share your comments below.

Of course now I have to revise my will to leave some monies to my favorite cat charity, The Cat Network. I want my money to go to an EDUCATION CAMPAIGN with print media such as billboards, leaflets in every South Florida mailbox about the critical need to spay and neuter and to consider getting to know cats.

The sign of a sterilized cat


Bobbie's ear is clipped
One day, when a seismic shift occurs and someone, somehow will rally those with the means and resources to broadcast the plight of homeless cats nationwide, one of the pillars of knowledge that desperately needs attention is the universal sign of a sterilized cat

Every week I receive emails from the Cat Network notifying us that someone turned in a sterilized cat (meaning it is spayed/neutered) at the county shelter. It's heartbreaking because chances are high the cat will be euthanized.  Worse, as a volunteer, I know the sweat, back-breaking work it takes to set traps, wait in the heat, humidity and get attacked by mosquitoes, trap the cat, lug the heavy cat in cage, the post surgery care and recuperation, even the feral ones...

It could mean that someone does not like stray cats, assume the cats will reproduce and did not know that it was sterilized. These anonymous people will hire a professional trapper, only for a perfectly happy, healthy outdoor cat to face death. It's pure frustration.  There's so much education needed! Where are the animal-loving media? Where are the PSAs? I've often ranted about this and I will repeat it again:
"There is a solution, a cure! We just need a little funding to raise awareness!"

Dr. Patty Khuley is a Miami veterinarian and writes a pet column in the Miami Herald under the name Dr. Doolittler.

Here is a question by a resident who adopted a cat with the ear tipped sliced or "mangled". Actually that "mangled" ear is a universal sign the cat is spayed/neutered and saves many cat lives from euthanization.

Click below for Dr. Doolittler's explanation. The cats at Riverfront all have tipped ears. Usually it's their left ear (right ear if we face them) that is tipped or has a v cut.

Samantha has V cut in ear
(performed by Planned Pethood)

 Please share this posting with all your friends and family and save a life!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Found small dog, Publix (Downtown Miami)

UPDATE:  This dog was reunited with owner on Sunday, June 12. Happy Ending.

This dog was found by the Publix on 13th street, today, June 8, 2011 at approximately 6pm. No owner was around and he was about to get hit by vehicle when I made kissing noises and he immediately ran up to me and I scooped him up. Worried he may act erratic in my car, he comfortably laid down on lap while I drove.

The dog was taken to a nearby vet and scanned. No microchip was found. The dog is staying there overnight.

I then drove around and even walked a 4 block radius and asked every pedestrian and was unable to find the owner.

He's very sweet, about one year old, NOT neutered.

Please contact Christine if this may be your dog.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Johnny Walker

Johnny Walker

INTRODUCING... a smooth cat, Johnny Walker.
This is no scaredy black cat. No siree. This special guy loves people and will welcome your house guests and greet them like an English butler with his polite manners and jolly belly. He gets along well with other cats and respects dogs that are well behaved.

Johnny is about two years old and enjoys the outdoors. Hence he loves to run out onto the balcony, climb the furniture and run around, soak in the fresh air and relax on the lounge chair. All he's missing is a glass of whiskey!

Johnny is a handsome, all black cat. If you ever had a black cat, you will know they are special. Black cats tend to be more social with people in general and not "scaredy" cats like most myths.  He does well in public and sits on shopping cart at PetSmart, laying quietly atop his white cat throne (with collar and leash attached). Oh yes, he's quite the model and poses well for photos. See below.

Johnny has been bloodtested, vaccinated and neutered. Remember if you go to any vet, these procedures would cost you an average of $300 total FOR ONE CAT! All medical paperwork available. The fee to adopt him is  $75.

When adopting Johnny Walker you also receive a beautiful gift basket containing a bag of dry cat food, several cans of premium Science Hill moist food, a black and white ceramic cat pet bowl,  a black and white luxurious pet bed, a brand new toy, and a book "50 Games to Play with Your Cat". This gift basket alone is worth $75.  It's a great starter kit. Oh and you'll also receive a bottle of COPPOLA Wine (you choose red or white) personally donated by Christopher R. Coppola and Otto his black cat ( the celebrity guest at the Black Cat gala) for any person that adopts a black cat.

By the way, black cats are NOT bad luck. On the contrary the female black cat was worshipped in ancient Egypt.  As the chairperson of the Black Cat Gala, Christine organized an event showcasing the black cats' beauty, grace and intelligence as black cat models strutted down the catwalk--yes actual cats!

To see photos of the event and a video demystifying the falsehood surrounding black cats. CLICK HERE. [Be sure to scroll all the way down].

To meet Johnny, please send email to and the foster parent will contact you.

Johnny Walker on Christine's lap for Black Cat Gala photoshoot

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Zee and Zoey, a Cat Blog

As a dog and cat lover, a blogger/writer and marketing enthusiast, I’m always scouring the Internet for helpful information, funny stories about cat and dog antics and amazing achievements and so on.
Upon reading Cat Chat (another favorite cat blog) one day I came across a link for Zee & Zoey.  Just the photographs alone, (high quality, vivid, almost 3-D) were mesmerizing.  My first reaction was that this blog was produced by a giant media company like Disney. Upon seeing these two gorgeous cats, I was drawn to their story. Like many pet blogs, the pet owner, Deborah Barnes, shares the whirlwind courtship of her male Maine Coon cat (Zee) and a female Bengal cat (Zoey) and the subsequent litter of kittens adding to her brood and up- to- the- eyebrow level of  tail chasing and the true joys of pet children.  Deb and her fiancĂ© now have seven cats. Folks this is not fiction!

 On the home page is Deb’s photograph in cat attire. You might think straightaway that she’s a crazy cat lady dressed in head to toe in leopard print, her affinity for the spotted wild cat.  But as a cat lover, rescuer, and educator myself, and in reading her blog, it was abundantly apparent that Deb discovered the extraordinary essence of cats. She understands the way her cats think and act and wanted to get into character, to identify with her subjects that teach us about life and relationships.  For every person that says they’re not a cat person, I now have another reference to direct them to!  Cats are like dogs in many ways—silly, playful, mischievous, intelligent and trainable! But each one still possesses a unique personality.
Little did Deb know at the time, what started out as weekly emails in 2009, journaling the birth of four kittens after Zee and Zoey united in feline bliss, was the foundation of a book.  The blog it turns out, was a “behind the scenes” making of the book.  As happens with life’s interruptions, the book was delayed and the blog has grown into a multi-functional cat blog featuring guest bloggers and Mewsworthy posts including efforts to help homeless cats. Deb was kind enough to write a post about Amber & Rudy, two special adult cats, still in foster care awaiting a furrever home. Their story will move you to tears.
Do not fret my pet lovers.  Deb completed her book and it’s soon to be released this fall “The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey—A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary”.  What a great title!  Thanks to Deb's fiance, Dan, a photographer extraordinaire, readers will also be treated to pages of surreal photographs.   So be sure to subscribe to this blog (see right hand side) and you’ll automatically receive an email announcing the release of this book. I just read a preview of Chapter 8, where Zoey is brought home and Zee’s pent up vigor and lust now have a welcoming target. Let the mating begin! My goodness, this is like a mini soap opera.  However this reality story is not staged and teaches us real life lessons.

[NOTE:  While Zee and Zoey were not strays, it's important to know that Deb had adopted strays throughout her entire life and this is covered in the Prologue.  Like many of us true animal lovers and rescuers, Deb lived part-time at the vet's office, a ping-pong of trips to get each one spayed and neutered. She had every intention of spaying and neutering Zee & Zoey but nature beat her.  Thankfully Deb acted responsibly and kept the kittens rather than surrender them to a shelter and had all the cats sterilized, including two other cats she already had, Jazz and Harley].

In the meantime, I’m enjoying this blog. It’s like reading a book at your pace, where you never get far behind.  If you’re new to reading blogs, please follow proper blog etiquette.  If you read a blog, be sure to leave a comment now and then.   At the end of a posting (a “posting” in a blog, is the same as an article in a magazine), go to the “comment” section.  It’s nice to know who’s reading our blogs, a labor of love.
I can’t wait for the book release and to read about the journey of two cats intertwined with Deb’s  life story, her triumphs and challenges, and how this sexy cat lady landed a fiancĂ© with four cats?!