Monday, December 10, 2012

It is More Fun to Give than to Receive

"It is more fun to give than to receive". Here at Riverfront Cats, we not only believe in this phrase, we live it everyday. Thanks to our dedicated team, (Sabrina, Christine, Mollie and Liz) the Riverfront Cats are happy, healthy and living humanely. Coordinating the feedings, taking an hour each day to feed 21 outdoor cats no matter the day of week or if it's stifling hot or pouring rain, driving once or twice a week to load up and buy pet food, visiting and petting the cats, and ensuring there are no injuries is no small task. We wouldn't change a thing.

Riverfront Cats/Pawsitively Humane goes beyond to help other people and neighborhood cats through education and hands-on contributions.   Thanks to the efforts of the founder, Christine Michaels. By giving up her entire weekend or days off to rescue stray cats or kittens, climbing fences, camping out and waiting in extreme weather conditions to trap unsterilized cats, shuttling back and forth to veterinarian clinics, answering daily calls of people giving up their pet cats or finding strays, attending community meetings and pet adoption events to educate the public about the homeless pet epidemic and staying up to 2am to write updates on this blog, creating flyers...All for no pay and on top of a full-time job. This is typical not just for Christine but countless other animal advocate volunteers--quiet soldiers wanting to make a difference and asking nothing in return for themselves.

Along with this tremendous responsibility comes great expenses.  You'll recall little Sophie had her leg amputated at two pounds. Thankfully the surgery went smoothly and she's recovering nicely.  Sophie's surgery cost $1,300.  Then there's the cost of food and litter. It adds up fast when caring for several kittens and cats. One bag of Royal Canin kitten food is over $20. Add in the litter, and it doesn't stop until they are adopted. And that generally takes months if not over a year.

We receive calls and emails daily requesting help to take in or help cats for various reasons.  We do what we can. Volunteers and donations make all the difference.

Many people think we receive free vet care. Absolutely not. While Riverfront Cats/Pawsitively Humane does receive a small discount, bringing in three kittens, for example, in one visit for exam, bloodtest and vaccination, and microchip costs close to $100 total per cat WITH the discount. That's before spaying/neutering and other medical treatment that may be required if the vet detects a medical problem or condition.

 Like most small nonprofits, time spent on fundraising is very limited. The priority is the care and welfare of the cats.

Therefore we turn to animal lovers like you for help.  Perhaps you would consider donating the cost of something you buy or do regularly -a week's worth of Starbuck's coffee ($25),  the price of a cocktail ($15), that shirt or blouse or tie you never wore that still hangs in your closet ($50),  a manicure/pedicure ($45). Do you really need another handbag or pair of shoes that costs $100 or more? Do you really need the latest iPhone of iPad or flat screen LED TV?

If you enjoying giving as we do, please consider a donation* to Riverfront Cats/Pawsitively Humane.  Three different ways to donate:
1. Go to right column under "Make a Difference" and click "Donate".
2. Or you can go to our Facebook page and click "donation" button.
3. Send in a check to PAWSITIVELY HUMANE, INC (90 SW 3rd Street, #3905, Miami, FL  33130)

If you can not donate money, please consider volunteering in some capacity. We are in need of graphic designer (couple of hours a week), online fundraiser, help feeding the cats one night a week, social media postings, foster parents for kittens or cats, puppies or dogs. Our biggest need is feeding the cats and foster parents.

On behalf of all the homeless cats, that went from raggedy conditions to a good life, whether indoors or outdoors, we thank you for all your well wishes, morale and financial support throughout the year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and many blessings for you and your families.

Liz Andrade, Treasurer

UPDATE: December 27: So far we raised $300 and our goal is $2000. Help us help rescued cats and kittens! Many thanks!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hemingway House Cats Face USDA Regulations

Harry Truman (the cat) inside the Hemingway house

On every visit to Key West, the Ernest Hemingway house is a must-see destination.  Granted Mr. Hemingway is a famous author, but my inspiration for visiting is to see the polydactyl cats, the cats with more than five toes. Not just one or two or three, but fifty cats.  They live in the house like any other pet cat--basking in the sun on a window sill; lounging on the cool wooden deck; curled and napping on a pet bed, stretched out on the terrace...This is their home and the cats live peacefully on the property accustomed to the hundreds of daily tourists passing through, the stares, the ooohs and aaaahs.

You see, Ernest Hemingway left his house to his cats, not his wife. Theirs was not a happy marriage. One learns this nugget of information when you take the guided tour. The cats all have names, usually named after actors or actresses, like Audrey Hepburn who my cat Jean Pierre actually fell in love with (yes I took my cats to Key West and to the Hemingway House--I like to think I'm a cool cat mom).


When I read the headline "How the Ernest Hemingway Cats became a Federal Case" my heart sank. "What now?!" I exclaimed.  It turns out a visitor was concerned about the "cats' care" and took his or her concern all the way to the federal government, the USDA. Seriously?

Sadly this is true.  Since the cats are part of a museum, a commercial business, and are live animals, they fall under the federal law of "exhibition animals". So the museum needs an exhibitor license as mandated by the Animal Welfare Act. Well that does not sound so horrible and filing some forms could solve that administrative issue. If only it were that simple.

Apparently pets cats at Hemingway House must be treated as exhibition cats which also means

"Federal officials advised the museum that it also needed to take action to: Confine the cats in individual cages each night, or construct a higher fence around the property, or install an electric wire atop the existing brick wall, or hire a night watchman to keep an eye on the cats."
Confine cats and deprive them of their born freedom to move around? Install an electric wire atop the existing brick wall?  These are not dangerous, untamed, wildlife animals! These are non aggressive house pets! I understand the Animal Welfare Act is intended to protect animals. But these solutions go against the nature of these cats.  I can understand constructing a higher fence around the property so the cats do not leave the property and risk getting hit by a car. But cats know where their home is and return. The grounds are expansive, a heaven for outdoor cats. However the other solutions are not humane and lack common sense in my opinion. Hire a watchman? Whoever proposed that must have drowned their coke in rum at the movie theater when watching a Night at the Museum. What will a watchman do? Say "Halt Humphrey [Bogart]--you are not allowed to climb over that wall!"

The bottom line of the court case is that the USDA has the authority to regulate the cats since it's part of a business that draws customers from outside of Florida that do come to see the cats. (Interesting, in my experience as a tour guide operator in Miami in talking to tourists on their way to Key West, most do not know that the main feature of the Hemingway house is the cats ).  As a pet educator and rescuer, I appreciate the laws intended to protect animals from abusive situations or scenarios that place them in danger.  However I also believe the law must recognize the unique nature of each animal.  In other words, use some common sense.

My burning question is who was this concerned visitor? What is his/her background and expertise in working with pet cats?  I'm miffed that my tax dollars are spent on this issue when the cats are well taken care of, pose no threat, and are clearly happy and healthy and bring tourism dollars to my state.

Here is the complete story.  What do you think?  Is the law interpreted too broadly?

Below is a one minute video that briefly introduces the Hemingway House cats.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Threat of a Shopping Bag

Decorating for Christmas and gift wrapping is fun for people and pets too! Adults, children and especially pets love it when you bring out boxes of decorations and pull out rolling Christmas bulbs, shiny tinsel and ribbon, and glowing strings of lights. Especially for new pet owners and those adopting puppies and kittens, there are a number of precautions to remember during the season. 1. Switch out glass bulbs for plastic bulbs. The cats, and some dogs, will knock them off the tree and shattered glass is not a shiny decoration but lethal. 2. Never leave your cat or dog unattended and alone with a Christmas tree because they can knock it down and cause a fire if lights are lit or they get mangled with all the strings of tinsel and lights...3. Ribbons, tinsel and mistletoe are capable of causing blockage in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines, so keep pets well away.

While fostering kittens, I was reminded of another danger--shopping bags.  While Figaro and Luciano, two active (gangster) kittens,  have proven their abilities as expert paper shredders,  they also enjoy playing hide-and-go-seek (more like bad cop chasing bad guy) inside paper shopping bags. What cat doesn't like cardboard boxes? Well the cousin, the paper bag, is just as appealing to a curious kitten. But beware...

One evening while diligently working at my desk, Figaro (aka Gambino) and Luciano were playing as usual in the same room I settled into for the evening.  As I focused on the computer work before me, I tuned out the tornado of fur buzzing by, above and around me, knowing they are nearby.   But then at the corner of my eye, I noticed a stop-and-go motion. Luciano attempted to dart but couldn't move. He was stuck.  It turns out Luciano looped through the handle but did not completely exit, and continued turning in circles to play, that the handle of a shopping bag was tightly twisted around his midsection.  He feverishly wiggled  like a demonized cat and complicated matters that the cord-like handle was hurting him. Luciano mewed distress. Not able to visually assess how badly he was tangled, in seconds I had to decide do I use scissors but then risk stabbing him if I can't  hold him with both hands and he jerks around, or can I calm him down and untangle his body? Fortunately he remained still as I grabbed him with both hands and untwisted his four pound lithe body from the death grip of the Macy's shopping bag handle. The entire episode lasted less than 20 seconds but to a mother it's an eternity. Thankfully my experience in solving problems under pressure from the corporate world to animal rescue helped me resolve this potential catastrophe with a clear head, calm and ease. Now all I needed was an eggnog with plenty of rum and brandy!

So this year no large Christmas tree. I'm postponing setting up the table top one until the kittens are adopted.  Or maybe I put it away in the closet every time I step out.

So have you encountered a potential holiday threat or disaster from other pretty things?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cats & Shoes --our favorite things

This holiday season, you can do your Christmas shopping and help homeless or sick kitties at the same time.
Do you like shoes?  Electronics? Home Decor? Books? Toys for the kids?

By starting at, pull up our nonprofit Pawsitively Humane, Inc (Miami, FL), when our name appears click on the name, then hit the SHOP button, and shop away.  A  proceed from your order goes directly to the care of our rescued cats, like little Sophie who lost her leg. Oh yes--it's free to register!.

Choose from your favorite retailers like Amazon, Petsmart, Orbitz,, Barnes & Noble and so many more.  What a great way to join efforts and help your favorite cause.

What will you be shopping for this holiday season?

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sophie's leg is amputated

Many of you have asked for an update on Sophie, the one pound kitten rescued off the streets with hip dysplasia. We can't thank you enough for your concern and support for this tiny, innocent creature.

Well, I have bad news but also good news to share. For Sophie's first surgery, we knew it was a gamble on whether it would correct the leg and, more importantly, if she could keep the leg and grow normally. But we had to try.

Unfortunately, she lost nerve sensation in her paw that was she bending her toes at the lower phalanges (knuckles) which is dangerous as her weight would eventually crush those tiny bones.  The vet further explained other complications as her body continued to grow.  There were two options. A surgery to install a fixator that would cost $15,000 (yes that's 3 zeros) or amputation.We are a tiny nonprofit and of course that narrowed it down to one option--to amputate her hind leg.

As a pet lover and working in the trenches of rescue and adoption, I've come across many happy-ending stories of dogs and cats with special needs.  I know they can live long, happy lives, some better than those without special needs.  I was at peace with the decision knowing the right pet owner makes all the difference.  So just four weeks after her first surgery and weighing only two pounds, little Sophie's hind right leg was amputated. 

How is she doing? Well like many cats, Sophie is strong and a fighter.  While she can not walk normally (her back end slumps as she scoots in her hind leg to move forward and her weight distributes to the one leg) I was amazed how fast she runs, or hops I should say. Playing and racing with her brothers, Sophie can hop fast!  (Hmm may have to change her name to Speedy Rabbit.)

Sophie, Luciano, Figaro

As you can imagine, her vet bill was high--a whopping $1,300. Thankfully that bill was paid. But that's only the beginning. There was also her blood test, vaccinations and cost to get her spayed and neutered. Vet bills add up fast.

Actually it's easier than you may think!
Of course, you can make a donation of any amount with credit, debit or PayPal by going to the right hand column under MAKE A DIFFERENCE NOW and click on "Donate" button.

Other easy ways--this holiday season or for your regular shopping, just by making online purchases you can help Sophie or any of our rescued pets. 100% of donations go directly to the care of stray and rescued pets. We have zero paid staff.

If you never ordered pet food from, please give it a try. For your first order, Riverfront Cats will receive $20.  Just click on the banner ad on right hand side.

If your order pet food or any other item on Amazon , we also get a small proceed. Just click on the Amazon banner on to the right, and regardless of what you buy, whether it's pet supplies or home decor or electronics, Riverfront Cats will receive a small proceed just by starting the process and clicking on our banner ad. This is the important part. Always remember to visit our website and click our  Amazon banner ad to begin your shopping.

Pawsitively Humane (our umbrella organization) is now a participant of Adopt a Shelter. For shopping at online sites like  Petsmart, iTunes, eBay, Petco, Lowes, Walmart, Walgreens, Barnes & Noble,, etc. via the Adopt a Shelter website, a portion benefits our shelter. First go to then follow these easy steps:

Step one:
  • Choose a shelter. Be sure to select PAWSITIVELY HUMANE in Miami, FL. When our shelter appears, click on our shelter name.This will take you to a new page and list me (Christine Michaels) and Riverfront Cats as well. (Pawsitively Humane, Inc and Riverfront Cats are the same organization).
Step two:
  • Click the button "SHOP  NOW" and begin your shopping.  It's that easy to shop and help homeless, abandoned and injured pets become healthy, happy pets!

Sophie napping with her brother Figaro (she's wearing gauze around neck.
You'll notice the stitches from where she lost her right leg)

We thank you for your continued support.  Little Sophie is a constant reminder not to get upset over little things and never to take life for granted and to be grateful for what we have--our health, our jobs, our friends and family.

The hardest part awaits us. Finding a permanent home. If you are interested in meeting little Sophie and giving her a home for the holidays, please email us at

UPDATE: Sophie was adopted in January 2013! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Funny Cat Thanksgiving Video

 Enjoy this video of cats giving thanks (because we know they are always grateful, especially rescued cats) and sharing Thanksgiving history. Happy Thanksgiving to all! Eat Hearty and Thank your Blessings!

To view one of the funniest cat videos of all time, CLICK HERE to watch these cats play Patty Cake. With close to 10 million views it's sure to make you smile.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cats Playing Patty Cake

This has to be the  best cat video ever--and the 14 million views proves it. Have you seen this yet? 

I love dogs and have a sweet Maltese but the fact is--dogs don't do this on their own. Cats are just more animated. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sophie undergoes surgery at 1.13 pounds

Sophie recuperating after leg surgery

Sophie is a two- month old kitten that was discovered alongside the Miami River, another stray kitten. She has a bad hind leg and it looks twisted and entirely out of hip socket that she drags her leg around.

Sophie dragging her bum leg

At the vet, we learned that Sophie has hip dysplasia and that her femur and tibia were dislocated.

Sophie underwent surgery at 1.13 pounds to see if the leg could be saved and corrected where she could walk on it. The leg was turned to a straight position. The femur and tibia had to be fused together and a plate was installed to keep it straight. So while she would never be able to bend the right hind leg, we're hoping she can still utilize the leg for walking or as a crutch so her weight does not lean on one side.

The Xrays below are before the surgery.

That's her leg she used to hold straight up in the air.

The bottom leg is clearly twisted starting at hip

Her recovery was quick and she was walking within a few  days and running or really hopping to keep up with her very active brothers Figaro and Luciano.  But she was lifting the leg. Only time would tell if nerves would regenerate or lose sensation.

Kittens and cats are amazing creatures in that they are stoic and will endure great pain with little to no signs.  Their resilience and will to live is even greater.  This is why we go to lengths to help these innocent, homeless creatures who are beyond happy to have a safe shelter, food and affection. Sophie knows we saved her so much that she yells for affection and wants to curl on your lap and have you stroke her tricolor fur.  Her purring rivals that of a humming muscle car. Should have named her Mustang Sally! She is in earthly heaven.

You could be that new wonderful haven and heaven. We are trying to find a permanent home for Sophie. Special needs kittens bring such joy beyond words.  But she doesn't know she's special needs. Sophie runs (in her bunny hop style), climbs and plays like any other kitten.  In the future she may not be able to jump as high which can be a positive.  Please contact us at

The surgery was $1,300 at Animal Welfare Society in Miami, FL on 27th Avenue. A kind person paid off the bill. But other treatments await her such as vaccinations and followup examinations. If you would please consider a donation of any amount to help Sophie,  please go to middle column under Donation Button where you can easily pay with credit, debit or PayPal.  Little Sophie thanks you!

Thank you for reading, thank for sharing, thank you for caring!

Update: November 19, 2012
We knew the first surgery was a gamble in trying to save Sophie's leg. Unfortunately, she lost nerve control and sensation and other complications meant it would be more harmful to her health to keep the leg as her body continued to grow. Therefore, little Sophie, at two pounds had her right hind leg amputated.   We will post a photo, possibly video and a story soon. Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Update: January 2013
Sophie was adopted by a resident of the downtown Miami area!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cat Women descend on BarkWorld

Cat Women attend BarkWorld

Last weekend I had a chance to attend Barkworld, a national pet social media conference in Atlanta, GA. While the name leans towards dogs, cat bloggers and writers were welcome--and did we make our meow presence known! Even one hotel staffer wore monkey ears to celebrate with us (see below).
Deb Barnes, Jonathon (hotel staff) Christine Michaels, and Debbie Glovatsky

This was an opportunity to meet a number of companies ranging from pet food retailers, dog nutritionists and trainers, to educators, and much more.  My purpose for attending was twofold. As a blogger my goal is to reach new audiences to educate them about the unique essence of cats and overturn stereotypes and therefore increase the adoption of cats. (Hence the strategic decision to purchase the t-shirt in the photo). I picked up some helpful techniques to improve my skills and approach. 

Second,  I came for inspiration to increase awareness and funding for my nonprofit, Pawsitively Humane, Inc which aims to get to the root of the problem of homeless pets--education.  You can read more highlights at  We'll be hosting some giveaway contests on this site!

Deb Barnes and Christine Michaels at Westin Hotel in Buckhead, GA for BarkWorld

BarkWorld was also a great way to reconnect with my fellow cat (and bunny) bloggers, Deb Barnes, Debbie Glovatsky, Vicki Stringham Cook, Kate Benjamin, Ingrid King and Dr. Lori Huston.These are women authors, writers and bloggers that I admire not only for their brilliant work but also their genuine desire to help others.

Deb Barnes as exhibitor for her book Chronicles of Zee and  Zoey

We had fun after the serious business

Animal welfare education and rescue and blogging is a tremendous amount of work. Starting a nonprofit meant foregoing vacation this year but I was more than thrilled to combine work and a little fun at this important conference while reaching goals--giving a voice to homeless pets.

Join me just by following this blog. Register your email on the right hand side. We promise we don't scratch, share your email or inundate you with emails.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Review of the FURminator

by Alexa Campos

Well I finally did it. I took the plunge and went for the gusto in my battle against furrballs gone wild.
I got the FURminator, a pet hair deshedding tool.

Hmm interesting-looking contraption. Reminds me of a modern hybrid between sheep sheers (or what I imagine sheep sheers to look like) and oversized shaving razor for humans.

With six cats and a dog in a small house, the fur is everywhere. I love pets but draw the line at my home- turned- jungle pet hair.  The goal is when strangers walk in, they have no inkling that I have six cats (seven is the new crazy cat lady limit by the way).  You see I vacuum my house DAILY, religiously.  It makes a difference for my sanity, my border-line obsession to have a clean home, and my husband's allergies to pet dander.

Now for victim, I mean tester #1--CJ (Curious Jorge). Those round green trusting eyes--aah little does he know until I whip out the FURminator. His eyes widen. A toy? His paw extends to touch it...Then I start scratching his head to distract him while I take the first FURminating stroke. YIKES--that's a lot of fur!   Did I do it right? Did I hurt CJ? No worries, he was fine and seemed to want more. Frisky fella.  Instructions?  Silly me, I misplaced the DVD that came with it when I ripped open the plastic packaging.

Curious Jorge--tester #1 of the FURminator

I was amazed at the amount of fur and visible dander! I had never seen the dander on any of my pets except for Darth Vader who's jet black hair is speckled with dander towards his lower back where obviously he can't lick there.

After 8-10 strokes on one cat

But what about preventing hairballs? Well I FURminated Bella who's always grooming herself and appears to cough up more hairballs than the other cats.  But then I realized she's licking her belly and legs. Can I apply the FURminator to the tummy? Where are those darn instructions?

 I decided the best way to test the efficacy of the FURminator was to use it consistently for two weeks on each pet.  Bottomline results:

On the plus side I was able to reduce my vacuuming to every other day. That's huge.  Now you're probably calculating it takes as much or more time to FURminate six cats as it does to vacuum an entire house. Well you're right. However, the vacuum is the monster and cats scamper under the beds (unless you're Darth Vader and he observes with laser precision and eery calm from his perch--a bed, a suitcase..).  So this means less appearances by the monster a little less anxiety. For me vacuuming daily has caused severe tennis elbow and further complications.  So I would rather spend that time bonding with my cats ironically with a tool that rhymes with the Terminator, and at the same time remove excess fur and dander.

Another plus: I didn't tell my husband and FURminated during the day while he was at the office and sure enough he commented that his dependency on allergy meds has lessened. This was the best news of all!

Now in terms of hairballs I can not say with certainty that it alleviated the hairballs as I was reluctant to FURminate the belly region or towards the genitals where most pets lick. 

I highly recommend this product if you have cats or dogs.  Consistent use makes a difference.

Now the price. When I visited my local Petsmart it was $49--ouch. After some online research I discovered that retailers such as AMAZON offer it for 60% less!  Click on this link to get yours for about $14 and free shipping. (This one does not include the DVD but you can visit their website for instructional help.) PLUS, if you order through the link above, our nonprofit receives a small percentage so you are helping your pets and our homeless pets find homes!

What do you think? Have you tried the FURminator? Click on comment below and share with us!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Winner of the Tiffany necklace

We have our very first winner of the Rags to Riches contest.  This was a contest giveaway for the Tiffany pendant and necklace as we celebrated the adoption of Tiffany, an all black cat.


RAINE DAWSON of Baldwinsville,NY

When contacting Raine about her win, she shared: 
I am a proud 'crazy cat girl', I have 5 cats I've rescued and raised from birth, 2 have handicaps but live great lives and my 3 boys are 20-25lbs! I'm 38 and have had a blessed life that has been full of animals since childhood.
Below is a photo of her cat Barker, a big, fluffy, and much loved cat. 

Everyone please join me in congratulating Raine!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Figaro & Luciano for Adoption

Figaro and Luciano

UPDATE: These kittens were adopted in December 2012

Well it's time for cute and adorable Riverfront kitten adoptions. We have two handsome, healthy TUXEDO male kittens--talk about double trouble--for adoption.

Figaro and Luciano were found up the Miami River along with two other female siblings. One was already adopted in less than 24 hours!

Climbing onto the dishwasher--no, no!

Luciano (pronounced Lu-chee-ano with Italian accent) and Figaro are 10 weeks old, active, playful kittens. They love to be boys and climb, and wrestle and play good guy vs. bad guy --one chasing the other. Luciano (named after mafia boss Lucky Luciano) is quite clever and will quietly race up a recyclable shopping bag hanging from drawer handle, climb it with his nails and land on countertop in search of loot--food! His brother Figaro is equally clever but when he wants to rest, Figaro is a love bug and enjoys to snuggle near you, on your lap, chest, face...

We had fun naming them based on personality but you're welcome to rename them of course! Some suggestions : Carlo and Gambino (Carlo Gambino is another mob boss), Rocco, Capone...

Both Luciano and Figaro had blood tests (all negative), physical exam, and  received 4 vaccinations.They will need to be neutered in two months. (We will take care of that for you at no additional cost).

They are healthy and ready to bring the action to your home!

Adoption fee is $55 per kitten or take both for the same fee. They love to play together, entertain each other, and keep each other company while you're out of the home. Two is always better than one.

To meet Luciano and Figaro contact

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Christine Celebrates National Feral Cat Day

It's my favorite day of the year! Along with my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, NATIONAL FERAL CAT Day is my day! Because I'm not just a cat lady. I AM A FERAL CAT LADY--and proud of it!

In celebration I dressed up in my CAT LADY costume to feed the Riverfront Cats at Station 1. Honestly the original intent  was for a video contest to win cat food but then I thought--why not share my cat lady moments with all of you!  Of course I knew the awkward looks and glances that would dart my way. But alas when I got on the elevator it was all men and they were quite intrigued and talkative! Imagine that! Suddenly they were interested in my work in feeding cats. Hmm this gives me an idea for fundraising...

So in celebration of Feral Cats, I share these photos to share, laugh, and celebrate feral cats!
Now do these look like photos of a crazy cat lady?Wait don't answer that!

Christine does slow motion cat walk

Lion King is a feral cat
He rubs against my legs in
celebration of dinner!

Christine feeds Lion King and Leroy Chaz

"Say Tuna and CHEESE!"

"Oh my cat goddess! I'm missing a tail!"
I must be a stray cat

The video below was taken during feeding time at this feeding station.
Leroy Chaz is the black cat and would rather be petted than eat.
Meanwhile Lion King starts eating his food.

Leroy Chaz is also the sister of Tiffany who was adopted. Don't they look alike?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Name this gangster kitten

Time to turn on those creative juices and help us name the newest kitten!

There are many factors that influence a cat's adoption: their temperament, personality, photos, their story and their name.

While there are many cute names, selecting the right name can make a difference on who adopts the kitten and how fast they are adopted
I once named two brothers Stoli (tabby) and Smirnov. The latter was a grey blue kitten that  literally looked like he came straight from Russia--well groomed, stern but handsome face and highly intelligent.  They were adopted within a couple of weeks. Was it luck? Perhaps part luck but a little marketing goes a long way.

Last week we rescued two tuxedo kittens further up the river. So as we observe their behavior, habits and personality, we brainstorm for fitting names.  The one on the left was easy--Figaro.  He's playful, curious, active and acts timid sometimes compared to his brother. Would you agree on the name?

Figaro (named after opera comic)

 Now the brother on the right, I first named Zorro. He took charge and appeared the dominant one, protecting his damsel sister (Chanel) and slightly timid brother. But upon further observation, Zorro is quite gangster, especially when it comes to feeding time.  The second I place their bowls of food they all run to the first place and immediately Zorro lashes out, clawing his brother and sister. So I knew he had to be renamed.

Capone or Gambino? or other name?

I first thought of Capone. Then upon researching famous gangsters for further inspiration I came across the most interesting website and online debate about the top ranked successful mafia bosses.  Al Capone was listed number one. Understandably he is the most recognized name. But then commentators argue it was Anthony Accardo since he ran his business for over 50 years (longer than Capone) and never spent a day in jail. Others argue Accardo was a pupil of Capone and learned from Capone's mistake. But for my purposes, Anthony is a name for a human and most people don't know the name Accardo. Next!

Number 2 on the "Top 20 Most Successful Gangsters" is Lucky Luciano. Hmm now we're onto something.

In the 1930s Luciano wiped out the old, traditional Sicilian mafia and began a national, American crime syndicate made up of hundreds of ethnic gangs. Under his guidance, the mafia began to operate much like an international business and his acumen and organization are largely credited for allowing the mafia to rule over the American crime for half a century.

One commentator added that Luciano started the five most feared crime families in America and should be listed as number one.

Yet others say Carlo Gambino (now there's a catchy name to the ear--Gambino) is the original Godfather.
and was "low key and classy" and wanted others to be in the limelight.

It's all subjective in my opinion, depending what your criteria is for "successful gangster". Is it amount of money or violence? Or both?

I bet you didn't expect to learn a little mafia history on a cat website!

Getting back to the matter at hand, what name do you think is the best name for kitty number 2? Capone? Luciano? (then he'll be nicknamed Lucy--won't work) Lucky? (no! too common) or Gambino?
NOTE: We just discovered he hates dogs and is terrified but he fights back with a vengeance.

Click on "comment" below and share your suggestions!

And yes--these kittens are ready for adoption!
9 weeks old
Bloodtested negative for feline Aids and Leukemia
4 in 1 vaccine shot

Adoption fee is $55 or get both kittens for the fee of one!Send us an email at to meet Figaro and ______.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rags to Riches is here!

Rags to Riches Contest

Celebrating victories in pet welfare


Some time ago we announced the Rags to Riches concept. The world and work of pet rescue and care is a heavy cross to bear and the emotional and physical anguish far outweigh the victories. Yet the volunteers, with a genuine love for these innocent creatures, continue giving of themselves without regret, without hesitation.

When a pet survives an accident, or when a difficult-to-place pet is finally adopted, we are overcome with joy.  We felt it was just as important to celebrate these few victories for a couple of reasons. First, to further raise awareness of the gravity of the plight of homeless pets and how each of us can help reverse the trend. Also, to motivate and uplift those handful of soldiers who through their sweat, blood and tears made it all possible to give life to a pet that was unwanted. We all  need a ray of sunshine to keep going.

So when we have a victory, thanks to your donations or for adopting a pet, we want to give back.   Thanks to donations of individuals or companies, Riverfront Cats/Pawsitively Humane will give back to you with wonderful gifts both small and large.  If you would like to make a gift donation for this contest, feel free to reach us at (for cat related)  or (for dog only issues or dog and cat stories).

So let the celebration begin! And now we have our first contest!  It's a big one. See the next posting...

Rags to Riches - Tiffany

Rags to Riches Contest

Celebrating Tiffany's Adoption

 with a Tiffany Necklace Giveaway

For the inaugural contest of Rags to Riches we are celebrating big and in style!  In celebration of our first black cat, Tiffany, getting adopted, we are giving away a Tiffany necklace! First, please take a moment to read Tiffany's story and then enter the contest and share with others!

Tiffany's Story

Tiffany is a stray, black cat and was over a year old when she was finally adopted.  Adult black cats are the most challenging pet adoptions.  So when Tiffany was finally adopted, her new mother was surprised to learn this fact about black cats and offered to donate this necklace to encourage other animal lovers to adopt black cats and dogs. Yvonne, her mother was captivated by her exotic look--the stunning eyes and silky black coat.  

Tiffany was an outdoor, friendly cat.  We took in Tiffany to save her from electrocution. You see her mother and then brother found shelter and warmth in the transformer room at the neighboring Florida Power & Light yard during cold winter nights. We assumed she would be happier in a home with no extreme heat and humidity, less ants and regular food.  However, Tiffany, already a year old, did not appear any happier living indoors especially in a condo.  You see sometimes bringing an outdoor cat inside, you take away their freedom to run freely, climb trees, chase away birds. In observing Tiffany there was a trace of sadness in her eyes and body language.  Overall she was better off but on the 40th floor there were no birds this high to watch, no trees to climb, no room to run carefree with her energy. She missed playing with her brother. Chaz Leroy still remains outside, the spitting image of his sister.

RAGS: Tiffany BEFORE photo  when living outside

RICHES: Tiffany AFTER photo  living indoors

Thankfully a kind person in Baltimore, MD took an interest in Tiffany. Yvonne had just taken in another cat that was abandoned in the neighborhood (the cat had a microchip; the listed phone number was disconnected). This was Yvonne's first cat. She never took in a stray cat and called us for guidance. This "Tasmanian devil with high energy" was anointed Taz. Once Taz was comfortably living in his new home, it was apparent that Taz needed a playmate. Checking in with Yvonne and Taz's progress, I mentioned our latest rescue, Tiffany, a black cat.   In learning about her story and looking at her photos on this website, Yvonne immediately connected with this black kitty. She was not afraid of black cats or have any averse or delayed reaction! So when I explained that adult black cats are the least adopted, the decision was made. Tiffany would have a permanent home immediately. Arrangements were made to transport Tiffany to Baltimore, Maryland. 

After her first airplane ride, Tiffany quickly adjusted and is thoroughly enjoying her new two story home, with plenty of room to zip and run up and down the stairs (often chased by her suitor Taz) and climbing a three-tier cat condo. Yvonne placed it in her living room next to the largest window where Taz and Tiffany gaze at the birds and squirrels.  Thankfully Tiffany is back to her happy self.

Tiffany top right, Taz left at their home in Baltimore, MD
Tiffany looking out the window

For those of you who follow this blog, you'll recall that Tiffany was the winner of the nationwide Best Black Cat photo contest sponsored by Best Friend Animal Society in 2009.  You see stray cats make the best pets and companions.  We love happy endings and that is why we are celebrating!

We have other black cats for adoption as well. Please visit this link to view our special, adoptable cats.
And now for the contest!


The contest is open to anyone in the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia and the European Union.

To win the necklace, leave a comment on any posting on this blog. You are permitted up to 5 comments (but each comment must be on a separate post) and will receive one entry per comment.  Be sure to include your email address in the comment so we know how to reach you!

Like us on Facebook: (one entry).

Contest ends at 11pm EST October 12, 2012 and will be announced the following week. 

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In Tough Times, Inspiration is Near

by Christine Michaels

During this election season, we are often reminded of tough economic times  in terms of job loss, struggles to pay bills, affording medical care...

As a victim of corporate layoffs more than once, the rollercoaster was no joyride, especially as a single female I never depended on anyone to survive. Like the Miami summers, I had periods of sun and prosperity followed by dark clouds and difficult times  Thankfully I have the most incredible mother who taught me that hard work, faith and appreciating the simple things in life, will lead you to greater things-- accomplishments you may not have imagined.

It's often those things which we take for granted or don't fully understand or appreciate that give us the strength and power to overcome obstacles. It happened for me and others.

What does this have to do with cats, you wonder? Good question. True stories of despair turned triumphant motivate and inspire us.  Therefore, I would like to recommend to pick up a special book  The Chronicles of Zee and Zoey.

This is the story of one woman, Deb Barnes, who lost her job. But her hardships were a string of them that started years before.  However, Deb found the silver lining in this dark period that propelled her to where she is today that she  is now a highly respected author and blogger.  It's just a matter of time before talk show giants like Ellen DeGeneres are knocking on her door.  Would this have happened had she not lost her job? Perhaps not. Her inspiration--her cats Zee and Zoey! Who would have thought!

Erma Bombeck meets Seinfeld Show

 The story itself is an inspirational and heartfelt account of  Deb's life with her furry felines, the invaluable lessons they taught her, and the love story between Zee and Zoey. Deb writes with the humorous style of the late Erma Bombeck, combined with the uncanny ability of Seinfeld Show – turning the everyday nothing’s of life into an incredible story about something! Discussing  real topics as divorce, moving, home renovations, and unemployment, anyone can relate to her trials and tribulation. 

Not to mention, the book comes beautifully wrapped with leopard tissue paper and a gorgeous bookmark that makes a great gift for any cat lover in your life.

 I highly recommend this book! And if you say you're not a cat person, you will love this book even more! Deb also had many dogs and you'll follow her journey from dog owner to Cat Woman! You will smile, cry and laugh and laugh some more. 

To order your copy of Zee and Zoey, click her. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sweetie & Berrie

Two loving, black cats lost mother to ovarian cancer

Sweetie & Berrie are in empty house and need new home

"My mommy is gone. The house is empty.
My brother and I are alone and scared."


UPDATE:  November 2012 Sweetie & Berrie have a new, loving home. A happy ending for two black cats.

Sweetie & Berrie are two black, declawed cats that lost their mother, Marlene Ristine,  to ovarian cancer. She learned about it in November of last year and after fighting a tough battle it metastitized to the liver and she recently passed away this month.

Sweetie & Berrie are by themselves in now in an empty house, without their mother, and without any furniture. Their anxiety is growing. Soon they will be without a home. A kind angel is visiting and feeding them daily but the house is now up for sale.  The clock is ticking for these two gorgeous black cats.

Sweetie is about 7-8 year old fluffy cat. She is a sweetheart and welcomes scratches on the head and will snuggle with you.

Sweetie waking up from nap in her favorite chair

Berrie is a 5-6 year old male who loves to be petted and to play like most active boys.  Especially with any toy with a string.

"Where is everything? Where's my mommy?"

Both cats have been around dogs in the past. Sweetie & Berrie are litter trained and declawed.  They are wonderful pets and companions.

Marlene was an active volunteer in many ways, after retiring as a nurse. She volunteered at the police department, for the March of Dimes and tirelessly helped the Cat Network. She rescued many cats and dogs and found them homes. Now it's time for the community to give back to Marlene.

Please share this posting with all your friends. To meet Sweetie & Berrie, please contact Eli Ristine at 305-978-0388 or 305-443-8473. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

20/20 Kitty Cam Segment

  20/20 segment "Kitty Cam" one-sided 

Falsely portrays pet cats as serial killers


This past Friday, 20/20 (an ABC news program) aired an hour long segment called "The Camera Doesn't Lie" with various topics. One segment was called "Kitty Cam" where cameras were affixed like collars to outdoor pet cats to track their activity. At first we thought this was going to be light-hearted and show cat musings and antics.  However, for cat educators like myself, the final report was far from comic relief. It highlighted cats as serial killers.

Sadly, the segment was grossly misleading. The reporter interviewed George Fenwick, the president of American Bird Conservancy (ABC). According to George Fenwick,  cats are responsible for the extinction of 33 bird species (but couldn't name two in prior interviews) and for killing 1.2 billion birds. Just last month that number was 500 million. George--why the big jump in one month? Maybe George has had one too many Cat Nip-tinis. (Or maybe he needs one!)

The program showed some cats attacking and killing birds. Yes cats are instinctive predators. But pet cats that are well fed killing mass birds? Not at all! What the program failed to clarify is that in one week, 55 cats  killed 5 birds.  ABC (the bird group) has yet to conduct and publish scientifically reliable studies about cat activity on the mass declining bird population. Other reliable studies have scientifically proven that declining bird populations are due to urbanization, pesticides, acid rain, pollution, and other causes.

Unfortunately, 20/20 failed to conduct any in-depth, professional research nor did they interview any cat experts. Therefore the story was one-sided and not well balanced.  Many of us work extremely hard to overturn misconceptions and educate the public about cats. But when segments like this are ill-reported, it sets us back. Therefore, we need your help.

Please sign this petition requesting ABC news to report the facts about cats and a well balanced report

Also, please share your concerns directly with ABC News through their online form.

Thank you for helping to educate residents across America and make a difference!

Here are helpful links on the subject:
Alley Cat Allies issued a press release on the 20/20 segment.

Peter Wolf (Cat Man) of VoxFelina is the outdoor cat expert when it comes to studies.Peter judiciously reads, studies, examines every study, press release, journal...every medium about outdoor cats.
  Aug 6, 2012 Kitty Cams and PR Scams
  Aug 7, 2012 Kitty Cams and PR Scams BINGO
  Aug 9, 2012 More Kitty Cams and PR Scams

Disabled Vet Passes Away



We often say, "I'd like to give back to the American men and women that serve in the military".  Indeed they give up so much and ask for nothing in return. How can you help? Well if you love pets, here's how.

Sadly a disabled veteran, Beverly,  has passed away. She had 12 cats and a service dog.  Therefore, as you can imagine, we are working hard to find homes for them. The good news is that six cats and the service dog have new homes. But now we need to find homes for the remaining six cats. Because Beverly was home all the time, the cats are very affectionate.

Below are the names of each cat and a description. They are current on all shots and are micro-chipped. The cats are located in ORLANDO, FLORIDA. Please contact Ruth Labrie, (407) 855-9417 or (407) 744-4189.

Please consider adopting an adult cat. There are many benefits: they don't tear up your home like kittens and you know their personality and temperament.

Joy and Jesse are sister and brother and were bottle fed by Beverly since they were kittens. They are very attached to one another and the goal is to keep them together. Both are very affectionate and want  lots of attention.

Joy- 5 years young; a gray tortoise shell

Jesse- (Joy's brother), 5 years young; all gray

Hope is 4 years young and loves to eat treats (as you can see below) and loves to play.

Hope, gorgeous black kitty

Morris is a handsome, white and orange cat. He's 2 years young and loves attention and to be groomed. His favorite activity is to play with running water.


Mr. Weebles is 3 years young and loves people, attention, and lots of affection. With a name like that, he could be your new butler!
Mr. Weebles

Onyx is another all black cat and he is 5 years young. He had throat surgery as a kitten and when he meows, it sounds like a whisper.  Onyx he's a big boy like Morris and they are best buddies and play together. 

Thank you for taking the time to learn about these special cats. Veterans need our support even after they pass away. Let's help their families, fur families, just as they served our country.