Friday, November 29, 2013

Update on Blackie

Thank you all for your purrs and prayers and inquiries about Blackie!

He was released from the clinic and he's doing much better. According to his foster mother, Maria, while Blackie may not be 100% his old self,  he's definitely improved from the time he was rushed to the vet.

Blackie is eating and drinking fairly well, and is beginning to show signs of friskiness. For example he jumps on furniture and darts out of the bathroom every time. Blackie also wants to drink out of the dog's water bowl, not his own, since dog's bowl is same level and therefore more accessible. Makes sense.

Right now Blackie is napping in the living room next to the German Shepherd. The sight is so heartwarming, it really makes one realize how precious life is and to appreciate what we take for granted-- shelter, food, water, warmth and companionship.

From Maria:
I can't begin to thank all of you for helping Blackie get the medical attention he needed to save his life. This little "under cat" is deemed unadoptable, but still deserves to have peace, food & shelter until his time comes. May you all have a wonderful holiday season, you are generous & caring human beings.
Thank you

On behalf of Maria and Blackie, we want to thank you all for your support and to those handful of folks who donated toward his vet bill.

You can still help with a small donation or any amount by clicking on the DONATE button on the right.

We will continue to keep you updated on Blackie.

Friday, November 22, 2013

People Magazine's Sexy Cat Men 2013

 by Christine Michaels

As I was reading other cat blogs which I follow,  I came across a very special post from my good friend Tamar's blog I HAVE CAT ( a fellow single, sexy cat gal living in the city). The more I read, the more I researched, and swooned and ...(this is a family-friendly blog). So what has me in a catnip induced- like craze?

People magazine's issue of Sexiest Men Alive 2013 hit the stands.  The difference with this issue is that some men were surprised and a bit shy of the idea of  a "sexy" photoshoot. But what put them at ease? Unlike some individuals who need a glass or two or more of alcohol to help them overcome any inhibitions, one actor wanted his cat!

 According to Ian Somerhalder (actor from Vampire Diaries) he would do the photo shoot with his cat  Moke.  "He's my valium. He sedates me... I wake up every morning with him on my face."  replied Ian. What impressed me the most was how Ian spoke candidly about his relationship with his cat and referred to him as "my kid".
 See his video below. Now that is a sexy cat man! 

ALERT Black cat fans!! Below is a video of actor Norman Reedus from the Walking Dead and his black cat Ian the Dark.

People magazine listed other Sexy Cat Men and my favorite?? Gilles Marini! I fell in love with him on Dancing with the Stars.Who are the other lucky men? You'll just have to buy the issue! Let us know who is your favorite?

Now why can't I find one? Shouldn't a sexy cat lady have a sexy cat man?

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Blackie Wants a Third Chance, the Charm

If cats have nine lives, then Blackie is fighting for a third chance.You can make his wish come true!

Blackie in carton box with blanket and heating pad

Before I continue, I must warn you, this posting sheds light on the dark side of our city. These pockets exist not just in Miami but across our country and it's a constant struggle for government officials, law enforcement, and residents to combat crime and violence.  In the meantime, animal welfare advocates do what they can to help the stray dogs and cats of the neighborhood live one more day without hunger and injury.

Blackie's story is special on many levels.  He lives in a depressed area of south west Miami infested with crime and acts of animal cruelty.  Community cats are often targets of BB guns, serve as "play toys" for unleashed pitbulls aggressively chasing these harmless cats (residents train these pitbulls as attack dogs); and targets for speed demon automobiles, their lifeless bodies visible in the middle of the road the next morning.

Blackie is a Survivor

During a very cold spell last winter, our angel volunteer Maria, brought in this tom cat that she trapped, neutered and released four years ago. Her decision was further prompted by the fact that three other community cats went missing.  Most likely victims of the neighborhood crime wave. She couldn't bear the thought, the possibility that her beloved "BigHead" (his outdoor name), would become another deadly statistic. Once indoors, Blackie never looked back. He beat the odds!

It is estimated that Blackie is anywhere from 7-9 years old.  He has survived the worst and has lived longer than most cats in that neighborhood.  No sudden loud noises from gunshots or screeching tires. No rimmed wheels or two legged and four-legged monsters chasing him. He's made it this far which for a black cat, is extraordinary.

Are You a Black Cat Angel?

This weekend he became very ill. His symptoms are dehydration and weakness. The vet is recommending hospitalization, IV fluids and antibiotics. The initial assessment indicates he should survive.  But animal hospitals also require prepayment based on estimates ($345 - $496) before they begin treatment.  Therefore we are asking for your help. A donation of any amount is appreciated and no amount is too small. $25, $15 even $5. Simply click on the Donation button on top right. 

Tom Cat turns Sweet Cat

We want to give Blackie that third chance, a  peaceful life to make up for the hell as a stray. He is now a sweet cat-- a sign that he recognizes the love of his guardian, the safety of an indoor environment, and the chance to live like a normal cat--toys, uninterrupted naps and lots of TLC.

On behalf of  Blackie, Maria and all stray and black cats, THANK YOU!!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Review of Minted

by Christine Michaels

Another favorite time of the year is upon us. Creating Christmas cards! As a marketing professional, "image is everything" and so it's important to our organization to create a card that conveys our message of elevating community and black cats, in a distinct, memorable way.  While some women spend hours shopping in a mall, I lose myself scrolling through pages galore picking pretty colors, shapes, fonts, images, etc..  Custom creating holiday cards is so much fun and now it just got easier.  With so many online programs available, the only talent you need is decisiveness--something I sorely lack!

Here's one that I just created using my own black cat photo

This year I discovered Minted. Based in San Franciso, CA, Minted offers hundreds of styles for holiday cards.  Their unique designs are a result of design competitions where customers select the winners.

With a seemingly endless selection, it's hard to choose. There are the old-fashioned fonts, the contemporary blocks, the traditional scrolls, etc..  However! Minted offers a special feature to simplify the decision making called Find It Fast Just upload the photo you would like to use, regardless if it's horizontal or vertical format, click on the "Find it Fast" header, and your photo is automatically added to every design template! So now when you scroll through 10, 20, 30 pages, you save time from clicking the template, adding your photo and clicking to preview.  This is brilliant!

Once you select your design, that's only the beginning. Then you can choose the shape of the card--rectangular, rounded, oval... color of font, the thickness of paper, and a free digital proof.  Need help on the spot? No worries a "Live Chat" button will save the day.

Minted is not limited to cards. Invitations, mini card books, and paper ornaments are other Minted offerings. Known for their fresh unique designs, luxe paper, and customization features,  your audience will be impressed and wonder if you hired a professional stationery connoisseur.

Minted is great not just for your family holiday cards. We use them for our nonprofit organization to stand out from the pack.  Don't have a clear, quality photo? No worries. Just use photos already provided by Minted. Cody below is a pro at posing. So visit and let us know what you think!

Got my cup of cocoa, toes wiggling in fuzzy slippers, Christmas tunes streaming, settling in my comfy office chair, and now I'm ready to go shopping and create the Riverfront Cats Christmas card!

Disclaimer: I was offered Minted merchant credit  for sharing my experience through this blog post.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cat Women Claw their Way to Dallas

Deb Barnes, Angie Bailey, Janiss Garza, Christine Michaels
(photo by  Glogirly)

Hissing, back stabbing, cat fights...Those are the sights and sounds of the every day Housewives of New Jersey, Miami, Atlanta. Not in Dallas, TX! The cat women I'm referring to clawed their way to the top of their talent--the Cat Writer's Association (CWA). But not in the literal sense.  The members of CWA have filed those fingernails to type away on the keyboard and honed their writing and marketing skills to educate the world about all things cats.  Many of them are pioneers in this field--Joan Miller, Amy Shojai, Marion Lane to name a few. I know the level of difficulty today, as I walk, talk and write about cats attempting to trigger a conversation, to open that door, in hopes people will listen and learn and care. I can only imagine the challenges, the closed minds, the odd looks that long-time CWA members faced 10, 20 years ago. They have my utmost respect.

However the CWA is not open to any Tom, Dick and furry Harry.  Membership is exclusive and in order to join, an applicant must demonstrate published writing works and at least one third of the content should cover cats*. My sponsor, Karen Payne, approached me four years ago when I was a fledgling member of the Cat Network. I was determined to find a solution to help homeless cats and writing/blogging was my weapon of choice. So much has happened since 2009.

I started trapping and feeding one neighborhood cat, then 3.
Now I manage 21 neighborhood cats and write about it!

So I know you are wondering if there were any cats at the conference. Of course there were! Silly goose.

My heart leapt with glee at the first sight of a cat--a blind gray tabby.  This is Spirit. She's only two years old  and Spirit is also a service pet for her owner who suffers from PTSD. I'll be sharing her story in an upcoming feature story. 
Spirit a Blind Cat sits on lifeguard chair by outdoor hotel pool

There can never be too many cats and within minutes I came across Zeki.

Zeki is a stunning Turkish Van, her fur like angora, and the only cat in the country certified for assistance in pet first aid. Her story is remarkable. She was found as an older kitten, her fur knifed away on the lower half. Luckily Zeki escaped and a good Samaritan found her help.  Today she travels around the country and serves as a model during presentations. Zeki sits calmly on a table and allows her guardian Arden Moore to wrap her in a towel, check her pulse, assess her gums, and attach a safety muzzle. Despite a traumatic beginning, Zeki is a fighter, a survivor and now a teacher! Follow her on Facebook

Deb Barnes petting Zeki

The cats attended seminars along with their human guardians but you would not see them or hear them. They are purrfectly trained cats. Who said cats are hard to train? If only kids today behaved as well-mannered. Back to our program...

On Saturday night, the conference culminated into the Award ceremony. Several of my friends and colleagues won Muse Medallions including Debbie Glovatsky, JaneA Kelley and Angie Bailey for various categories including photography and blog posts. As the evening progressed, the coveted Purina Cat Writer of the Year Award was presented to  Deb Barnes, Board member for our nonprofit Pawsitively Humane, Inc.! Deb's reaction said it all. She did not expect it. Deb is so deserving of this pinnacle award and we are so proud of her.  Deb has a genuine heart and has developed her skills and devoted her energy and talent to creating awareness about the unique essence of cats. Dedication and perseverance. No clawing required!

Angie Bailey, Dusty Rainbolt, Deb Barnes, Christine Michaels

Deb Barnes beaming with her Friskies Writer of the Year Award
(Photo by Glogirly)

As I nestled in bed that night, I reflected on a smaller achievement. My  CWA "Certificate of Excellence"  arrived in the mail a couple of weeks prior.  It was unexpected which made the acknowledgement all the more special. It was for the blog post about the decision to end the suffering and say goodbye to a Riverfront Cat, Lion King. Entitled "The Circle of Love", the posting was symbolic on many levels. By leading by example and giving selflessly, we succeed and are loved in return.  That love may come from humans or a former scared cat. The latter, that unconditional love is the greatest of all.

To lead, I must continue learning. I'm grateful the yellow brick road has led me to CWA --a fountain of knowledge and wisdom and the support of like-minded cat advocates and writers.  No clawing required.

* At the time of this posting, the CWA launched a new website. The CWA membership requirements are not yet posted to the new website.  However, please visit my personal blog by clicking here and scrolling to the end of the posting to learn more about the guidelines for joining.

Pink Panther Investigates Swag Bag Pilfering

What is this? Who's pilfering the swag bag?

"I don't know I'm just minding my business", replies Geisha

 The Pink Panther was called to investigate!

Suspect #1; orange marmalade

Suspect #2; Black pants, white socks

Suspect #3; gray with black stripes

Pink Panther:"You two must have seen something?"

"Truly it was not I", says Geisha

[Suspect #4]

Gotcha! Twas the dog!
Thanks to the Pink Panther for solving the case!