Monday, December 14, 2015

Mama Cat Goes Missing

by Christine Michaels
homeless cats Miami community cats stray cats
Mama Cat in 2011

It's with a heavy heart to share that one of our beloved Riverfront Cats has gone missing now for a month. It can only mean something bad happened, normally. In the past we discovered the cats were injured (run over by vehicle or electrocuted at neighboring Florida Power & Light transformer room-- we stopped feeding near there and moved feeding station) and passed away. Many of you will remember the case of Leroy, the black cat who went missing three or four days, and fought his way back as close to the feeding station. We luckily found him in the dark, nestled in the grass with two badly injured hind legs. One leg was saved. The other was amputated. But! The good news and silver lining is that he adapted to indoors and is now living the good life!

Christine Michaels community cats Riverfront Cats
Christine feeding Mama and Romeo (March 2011)

Sabrina (lead volunteer for coordinating the cat feedings) and I have searched high and low. I can't remember the last time I spent so much time crawling on my hands and knees in bushes. As terrified as I am of bugs and insects, I do it for the cats! (Of course I lather or perfume myself in bug and mosquito repellant! It really does work).

Mama is the name of the missing cat. She was named Mama by the first feeders (construction workers before I moved onto the property) because she had a kitten that died. She also has the sweetest face of all the Riverfront Cats. So tender and gentle. And Mama is one of two or three cats we can pet and pick up without much fuss.  I never seen or heard her hiss. Just look at that loving and angelic face. 

homeless cats Miami community cats stray cats

 Mama cat was at station 2. She never roamed far like Gabriel. The male cats tend to roam more and further away from home base.  She and Sabrina always stayed in the area.

One silver lining was the cooperation of local county workers.  Station 2 is near the Miami Avenue bridge where construction was undergoing for a year.  The day it reoopened she went missing. Could Mama be stuck inside one of the rooms under the bridge with padlock? So I called the Miami Dade County Bridge office.  It was 4pm. Close to quitting time.  I explained the situation to the receptionist. She was patient and listened intently. In five minutes I received a call back from Manny, the supervisor.  He remembered me from another incident three years ago. He would meet me in 20 minutes. Amazing!  Just maybe...

Manny came out. But he noticed the padlock was not a county lock. It was put by the contractor.  He called another county employee to bring padlock cutter.  In a few minutes he arrived.  Then he called the contractor who was in the area. I had three men out there moving mountains to help me get access to areas where Mama may be lying, perhaps injured...

Contractor for bridge repairs and Manny

Sadly, no sign of Mama.  The silver lining was knowing I could count on Manny and his team to react quickly. He remembered me from three years ago when I tried to lure a friendly black cat that was dumped under the bridge. I wanted to bring him in. He was someone's pet and did not deserve to live outdoors. The "wicked witch" of the bridge tower gave me hard time. That's when I called the office. The Director and Manny came out next day and apologized for tower person's behavior and ensured I had no problems in the future walking the area checking on cats. They've seen many homeless cats throughout Miami and could see the Riverfront Cats were well taken care of. That we have a well organized effort and no new cats. They were appreciative. Wow --what a difference from Metro Rail employees who did not care and removed a $600 custom made gorgeous cat house on property that my condo did have land rights to access! But Manny and his staff were kind and grateful. There are some good people in this world!

Christine with Manny, supervisor for Miami Dade County Bridge

 Mama cat, like the other Riverfront Cats, are approximately the same age, around six years old. She appeared relatively healthy, definitely on chubby side. She loved to eat and was a "home body" staying close to feeding station and caretakers, hence she didn't exercise a lot.

It really is heartbreaking. We get so attached to these community cats, like our own pets. This certainly puts a damper on our Christmas season put we still pray for a miracle.

Mama cat we will never forget you.  May you be happy and safe wherever you are.


  1. We're so sorry to read this about Mama cat. Not knowing is so hard, and that doesn't change whether it's a cat in your home or a beloved community cat.

  2. She is such a beauty and we are purring and praying for a Christmas miracle. {{{hugs}}}

  3. So sorry about Mama Cat. Each of them is precious, and there is a Mama Cat in every colony and I know yours will not be the same without her.

  4. We're sorry to hear Mama Cat is missing. Just because they're outside cats, it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt when something happens to them. Purrs....

  5. Oh my I have tears in my eyes. I am praying with all I have that maybe someone found her and adopted her because she is so gorgeous. She looks like a female Cody. My heart is hurting. I sooo pray that she is ok. xoxoxo catchatwithcarenandcody

  6. We are sure sorry to hear about Mama Cat, that's so sad. We had a special tabby Mama Kitty as a part of our feral family and she went missing about 5 months ago. Her sweet family is still here with us. Hugs from all of us.

  7. Mama kitty....we troo lee hope ewe R safe and well, N we hope with all R hopez that ya find yur way bak two Christine; her said that would be de BEST kinda Christmas present ever....♥♥♥ ewe R much loved N missed, sew pleez ta come home two day...oh kay ~~ ♥♥♥

  8. Did you ever find Mama? She reminds me of my Abbey who we lost a couple of years ago.