Monday, December 12, 2011

Woman Leaves $13 Million to her Black Cat

Our Monday morning just got brighter with this great story.

Little did anyone know that a quiet, humble old woman, Maria Assunta of Italy was worth $13 million and upon her death, she bequeathed her entire worth and estate to her pet cat, Tomasso.


The story gets better. This is no pedigree cat purchased for top dollar. Tommaso is actually a stray, black cat rescued from the streets of  Rome. Tomasso's fortune will be managed by Maria's long-time nurse, Stefania.

Now some might say this is a waste of money. But if you think about it for a moment, the nurse and cat were the two constants in her life providing comfort and love. Neither knew Maria was wealthy. They loved her unconditionally, the greatest gift of all.

Tommaso is now ranked number 3 in the list of wealthy pets. 

Tell us what you think? Would you leave money to your pet? Or donate to animal welfare organization? Or both?
Click on "Comment" below.
 To read the complete story on ABC News, click here!

We love black cats and will be planning our annual Black Cat gala to elevate and spotlight the black cat. Sadly they are the most euthanized pet in the US. But to us, they are special. Black cats are very intelligent and beautiful. Their shiny black coats contrasting their gold or green eyes is mystical, magical and stunning.
We welcome any type of donation to help us overturn misperceptions of black cats and in feeding and caring for these abandoned creatures.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Art Zoo at Art Basel

My favorite artwork, of course

On Saturday I had the opportunity to attend Art Zoo--an Art Basel event that incorporated animal rescue theme, benefitting Paws4You rescue an organization dedicated to saving pets from euthanasia at the overcrowded local shelter. 

All pets were invited to the event, I even kissed a pig! Did I like it? Read on!

Below is Katia. Isn't she stunning? She was dumped on the streets, wandering. Thankfully a guardian angel intercepted and saved her.

Katia is a Borzoi, a Russian wolfhound

Katia with owner, Michelle Headley

Anastasia the Great paints Katia
 Hope Gainer of Hope International was the fabulous organizer of this event and she thought of everything! From the idyllic location at Finnegan's on the River, a spacious outdoor bar along scenic Miami River, animal print attire, to the "artsy pet costume" contest, to the myriad artwork depicting cats and dogs and cheetahs and more. Speaking of cheetahs, Elkie, the model in zebra and cheetah body paint moved with the agility and stealth of a cheetah!  Swimsuit models also accessorized dogs and puppies awaiting adoption. Very Miami chic!

David Nesslein and Annie Davis with Coco & Chanel

Paintings in the Pool

Elkie displays body paint artwork

Elkie escapes the cage to show off beagle for adoption

Love this painting

A jewelry vendor also displayed unique pieces that a portion of sales went to Paws4You rescue. Naturally I did my Christmas shopping right there and treated myself to a special necklace. What a great idea.

I met many adoptable dogs, adult and puppies, small and large, that were distinctly unique!
Ok I didn't really kiss a pig but we did rub noses! Is that a kiss in animal behavior?

This is a nano or micro pig. They weigh up to 35 pounds.
So when my sister said she wanted a nano pig for Christmas I had to claw my way through the crowds surrounding this pig to see what a micro pig looked like.  He's quite chunky, yes he's a pig.  My sister wants a black one. To go with her (rescue) black cat. I love it!

The owner is a married couple with children, and three dogs. It was the father who wanted the pig as a pet for the longest time. The pig is an indoor pet and he uses the dog's wee wee pad. My sister will train her pig to use the litter box.  I wonder which is better. One thing I learned, pigs urinate while they drink water. I wonder if sis knows this. Also, those pads don't hide the odor of feces once they go to relieve themselves that roll around like bowling balls run amok outside the bowling lane. She wishes they trained the pig to use litter box.

Art Zoo was a memorable inaugural event to admire animal themed artwork, help promote adoptable dogs, do some Christmas shopping, and mingle with like-minded animal lovers.

Thinking of getting a purebred dog or cat? Don't buy while shelter pets die. 25% of pets at shelters are purebred!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Gift they Never Forget

by Christine Michaels

We live in downtown Miami, a vibrant city brimming with jobs, culture, restaurants, and activity. Many residents enjoy the convenience to walk to/from work, the grocery store and boutique stores, the myriad restaurants, the buzzing Sunday open market, and to concerts and sports events.

One evening I went for a jog on the path less traveled, the side of town you're told not to go after dark--one street over from our new condo. As I slow to a walk,  I take the time to look around.  Do I notice the homeless men and women, sitting, laying, sprawled on the sidewalks? Do I look the other way? Do I notice the homeless men feeding the homeless cats? Yes, take a walk around our condo after sundown, and you will see both the homeless men and homeless cats come out of hiding, one feeding the other. The homeless feeding the voiceless, the helpless. I look up and I see our new, shiny, glistening building contrasting the dark streets. Observing this contrast sends waves of emotions coursing through my body. What is wrong with this picture?

It hits me. My work has only begun. Feeding the Riverfront cats is not enough. My calling is to get to the root of the problem and educate the masses to reverse the trend of homeless animals and the suffering and cruelty.  Stray cats are often misjudged, misperceived, prejudice surrounds them and those of us who feed them. I am proudly a Cat Lady!

This Christmas as you feast at holiday parties and spend on gifts that will be returned or forgotten next year,  will you remember those around you, within feet of your home ? Won't you consider offering a little time or token item (food or cash donation) to a homeless pet that IS eternally grateful and never forgets?  Here are EIGHT simple or low cost ways you can help.

Note: (A number of organizations feed the homeless people daily in downtown). There are no organizations feeding homeless pets, only individual volunteers.

1.) Spay or neuter your own pets. Estimates are that 100,000 dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters in the tri-county area annually, at significant cost to taxpayers. You can do your part to end pet overpopulation with a routine surgery for your dog or cat.  Non-profit, low cost spay and neuter clinics like the ones run by The Cat Network or Planned Pethood actually make fixing your pet more affordable than caring for a litter of puppies or kittens.

2.) Donate needed pet items. Beds, cages, collars, leashes, cat litter, dog and cat toys, treats, food, blankets, sheets and towels all make life easier and nicer for shelter pets especially at the Miami Dade County Shelter. They are overrun this year with homeless pets and are grateful for your donations. Here at Riverfront cats, we need someone to build small cat houses with ceiling, floor and four columns. No side walls as these will be placed in bushes where cats need visibility and various escape routes from predators.

3.) Donate money or gift certificates. Donations of any amount help greatly. Even giving up those large caramel mocha lattes for a week and donating the cash will help to save lives --not to mention calories!. Here at Riverfront cats we gladly accept financial donations (you can use your credit card or PayPal) or gift cards from Publix and PayPal! (The condo association offers no assistance.  All food for cats is provided solely by two volunteers).

4.) Start a "Friends Of" club for downtown Miami homeless pets or any rescue of your choice. There's power in numbers. Your office, church or hobby group can have a yard sale or gather donations of money or needed items to help homeless animals this holiday season.

5.) Don't buy while shelter pets die. Opt to adopt instead of purchasing a pet when you decide to add a four-legged family member to your household. Shelter pets have been pre-checked by a veterinarian, received vaccinations and if they are old enough are spayed/neutered before you bring them home, saving you money and time. Have an affinity for a certain breed? Twenty-five percent of all pets in shelters are purebred dogs or cats!!!  Can't or don't want to adopt but still love pets? Sponsor a dog or cat at your local shelter. At Riverfront cats we have 21 cats--choose one you would like to sponsor.  We promise to send you monthly updates. Romeo actually sits and walks on command. Is Gabriel angelic like his name or mischevious? The vivacious, flirtatious Tabitha is too much woman for the male cats...

6.) Use your online presence to help animals in need. All that time spent on social media can do more than keep you in touch with old and new pals, it can make you a better friend to animals in need. Re-post notices about sweet, friendly indoor cats tragically dumped in the streets awaiting adoption. Or news about cat that was injured from hit and run speed demon driver and needs medical care. It happens in our backyard. Add a banner to your webpage to help publicize your neighborhood cause. Use Twitter to tweet about adoptable the adoptable cats.

7.) Take a walk and be a hero. Volunteer cat feeders help to keep our cats from roaming and searching for food while minimizing their chances of being hit by cars. It also helps to socialize the cats, even the feral ones. Some are converts. Where they once stayed a distance and hissed, now they do a happy dance and rub against you wanting affection.

8.) Volunteer your talent. Everyone, from graphic artists to journalists to stay-at-home moms to carpenters or college students has a talent that can be utilized by Riverfront Cats to help these outdoor animals. If you don't know what you can do, contact us and we let you know! For example, we could certainly use a very simple open-air cat house with roof and floor to hide in the bushes where the cats reside and to protect them from heavy rains. They have to remain hidden from predators (have you seen those giant rats across the street? They're larger than some cats!) and new stray cats that come along. Nothing fancy but if you're good with hammer and nails and some wood--you're a hero!