Sunday, October 16, 2016

National Feral Cat Day- Share Your Story and Photos!

It's National Feral Cat Day!

We are grateful for this day to raise awareness of the ongoing plight of homeless cats.

Recent past years have witnessed improvements in educating the general public about feral cats:

  1. Residents taking an interest in helping cats in their own neighborhood by feeding, trapping, fostering, donating, and sharing information on social media.
  2. Launch of several Facebook pages for local communities to network, communicate and work as a team to help cats.
  3. Municipalities starting TNR programs and offering low-cost or free spay/neuter.  

National Feral Cat Day TNR
In showing neighbors what we do, they respond
"It's like a mini National Geographic! Look at that mini black panther ,"says one child.
Love it when that happens! Education working...
Miami may have a high rate of homeless cats, but we are also on the forefront of addressing solutions to reverse this trend.  It's an ongoing challenge. There are good days and bad days.

Christine Michaels feral cats TNR TNRM
Christine confident that sudden disappearance of 4 cat is due to poisoning,
she talks one on one with security guard about Florida law and poisoning of animals.

   Through regular education, communication and involvement, we as a city and country continue to make strides.

Christine greets Tabitha with a pet

Tabitha does not wait until Christine finishes serving

Add caption
National Feral Cat Day Romeo TNR TNRM
Romeo smells lunch
Romeo dives into his food bowl.

So be sure to share your stories and photos all across social media of any feral cats you care for outdoors or ones that you helped socialize that now live indoors and bring great joy to your family.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Helio Needs Blood Transfusion & Prayers

donation Miami homeless pets

Helio, a handsome, big green eyed, gray tabby, is fighting for his life.

One of the first ten kittens rescued by founder Christine Michaels, now seven years old, he is suddenly gravely ill with severe anemia.

homeless cats community cats stray cats TNR Miami
Helio (pronounced "Eh leo") as a kitten at 4 months

Healthy and playful one day, he started to show signs of loss of appetite, lethargy and sleeping in the closet. Three major red flags of a health issue.  Upon examination at the veterinary clinic, the vet observed his white gums. After a comprehensive blood test it showed Helio had severe anemia.  The X-ray did not show any anomalies. So after a Vitamin B12 shot, IV fluid, and some appetizing canned cat food prescribed, Helio was sent home. Unfortunately he refused to eat at home. And after three days he returned to the vet. Further blood tests showed his blood platelet count dropped even lower.  His condition was now critical.

The next day Helio was admitted to the emergency pet hospital at MVS. Miami Veterinary Specialists provides 24 hour pet medical care. Hooked up to IVs and machines, Helio shows no signs of responsiveness, typical for a cat that is afraid of strange environment. He was lying in the corner, his body inward and sullen, eyes suspect, sheepish, and scared at the same time... a quiet living hell. Only when Christine came to visit did he muster every ounce of strength to stand and greet her. She opened the cage and his bowed insistent on petting and head butts.  Helio would not stop crying. He was grateful to see a friendly face.  At the same time he was pleading to get out.  Our hearts were torn as she had to say goodbye, but Christine repeated a familiar phrase "Ill be back, I promise I'll be back." The vet observing shared that Helio understood Christine and it seemed to give Helio hope.  The vet said there is hope for Helio.

pet emergency care MVS Miami Veterinary Specialists
Helio cries for affection

A key treatment was a blood transfusion.  According to the vet most pets respond well to one transfusion, however, Helio did not improve with the first transfusion. The vet indicated a second or third transfusion may be needed but not a guarantee he would live.  As each transfusion costs $900 (for all costs related to the treatment), payments must be made upfront at the hospital.  Some families are forced to choose euthanasia when they lack the funds. How tragic!

The vet awaited our answer.  Of course we would try again.  Helio was a survivor, a rescue kitten from the streets of downtown Miami. Money could always be raised. We wanted to set an example that pets as family members, deserve the same respect and dignity of life as human family members.  Money should not determine whether a pet lives or dies if there is a chance he will survive. 


So a fundraiser was started to help Helio and to offset the cost of hospitalization and treatments now totaling close to $4,000. Copies of all vet bills are also uploaded.

Visit the YouCaring website. Remember no amount is too small and greatly appreciated!

Or you may make direct donation via PayPal to

The heartbreak was becoming unbearable for Christine and caretakers. Helio has many nicknames:
  • Cutie Patooty because of his cute sleeping poses, moreso than his siblings. 
  • Curious George because of his big eyes and curious, baby face.
  • Bocelli after Andrea Bocelli because he literally serenades his pet owner for attention and affection.

Yes, Helio is a very special cat. Sadly his mother Cosette who has been pictured on a number of blog posts and on social media, had died suddenly this summer.  It is strongly believed she was poisoned.  This is just another undertaking, another battle, another part of our mission in educating residents and communities about stray cats and the law against animal cruelty. Helio was her only kitten.  In this effort we fight for all homeless cats who deserve a chance to live out their

You may follow Helio's progress on this website and on Facebook and Twitter.

 Feel free to share his story.

Thank you for sharing! Thank you for caring!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Friday, July 1, 2016

Blog Paws 2016

 by Christine Michaels, President of Riverfront Cats

Christine arrives in Arizona and sees her orange crush from last year--Russell!
(Please don't tell Waffles)

BlogPaws 2016 kicked up furballs, desert dust, and a dandy good time.

If you're a first time visitor to our blog, Blog Paws is the leading social media conference for online pet bloggers. Whether you write about your pet in his/her voice, your voice, or about pets in general or as a vet or vet technician or for an animal welfare group, any pet blogger of any genre is welcome to participate to learn how to improve blogging efforts and build valuable connections.

There's so much to cover, that I'll share some of my favorite highlights.  [Read more on our main blog Pawsitively Humane--To Be Posted Soon].  Also we included links at the end of this blog post to view ALL the photos from the conference taken by conference photographer.

Held in Chandler, Arizona (south of Phoenix), this year Blog Paws  was mostly a time for reflection for me. Built on an Indian reservation twelve years ago, the serenity and the amenities of the Sheraton Wild Horse Resort  provided the ultimate escape from the daily rigors of caring for community cats and guiding residents in their efforts to help homeless cats. While I went from humid heat of Miami to desert heat of outer Phoenix, it was still a welcoming break. I enjoyed every minute of the weather and the conference.

Hotel exterior
(Photo courtesy of Blog Paws; photographer Anabelle Denmark )

Even the hotel lobby with ethereal/spiritual images on circular drop ceiling, boded a sense of tranquility and peace.

Hotel lobby
(Photo courtesy of Blog Paws; photographer Anabelle Denmark )

Deb Barnes and I ready for our spa treatments

Organizers think of everything from the type of seminars, to a dog park and indoor dog sitting room, to the guest speakers, to author book signings, fun activities like Yappy Hour, Meow Hour, and Arts & Crafts DIY pawties. There is never a dull moment.

Pet Daycare (Photo courtesy of Blog Paws; photographer Anabelle Denmark )

 Once the conference begins, it's nonstop action! BlogPaws recognizes the dedication and effort of pet bloggers and ensures every one feels welcome and special
Christine Michaels, step-and-repeat at the BlogPaws 2016 kickoff

As a seasoned attendee, the main benefit of BlogPaws was the networking and seeing online friends in person and of course all the pets- dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, ferret, rat, pigs...

These furry attendees are obviously used to posing. Too cute!

And every year there is that one pet, dog and cat, that steals the spotlight and captures your heart.  This BlogPaws it was Samson, the long-haired, 12 week old orange kitten.  I so love orange cats. My first cat is orange, Jean Pierre, he's now 15.

Everyone wanted to hold Samson, and his owner and Samson kindly let me.

rescue cats orange cats Blog Paws
Christine Michaels holds Samson

Orange kitties are the sweetest and smartest.
Samson gets cozy.

rescue kitten orange cats Jenny Lewis Pixel Blue Eyes
Jenny Lewis from Pixel Blue Eyes blog

Pets are welcome anywhere from the seminars to the dining room. All the pets are well behaved and well traveled and accustomed to new scenes and interacting with humans and other pets.

This dog belonging to person next to me,  jumped and nestled on my lap. Love it!

The next highlight is connecting with online friends and fellow pet bloggers. Deb Barnes lives in South Florida, yet we see each other more at yearly conferences. Cat ladies never rest at home.

cat lady bloggers BlogPaws2016
Cat bloggers in cat ears, Christine Michaels and Deb Barnes
Hard work pays off. After consistent efforts in blogging, following the tips, techniques and trade of the best bloggers, a great feeling is the recognition by industry experts in both the social media and your knowledge of the content.  At BlogPaws 2016 I had the opportunity to attend two award ceremonies.  Friday night was the Cat Writer's Association. If you enjoy writing about cats, offline or online, then you must consider joining CWA!  I never realized how many categories and genres there were for cat writers. Visit their website for more information!

Cat Writers Association Awards Banquet
(Photo courtesy of Blog Paws; photographer Anabelle Denmark)

Christine Michaels CWA Cat Writers Association award ceremony
So honored to keep Summer company while her mom, Janiss Garza,
has a chance to get dinner and relax.

Congratulations to Janiss for her CWA Award and to Deb Barnes for recognition for her enlightening article on feral cats!!

Deb Barnes CWA feral cats Dusty Rainbolt
Deb Barnes accepting her medallion at CWA banquet
(Photo courtesy of Blog Paws; photographer Anabelle Denmark)


 The final night is the culmination of excitement and hard work, the Nose to Nose BlogPaws awards dinner and ceremony. This is a celebration of the best of the best. All attendees are invited to walk the red carpet with their pet on their way to the happy hour, dinner and ceremony.

Kitten and two chihuahuas walk the red carpet with owner
(Photo courtesy of Blog Paws; photographer Anabelle Denmark)
Carol Bryant and her dog on the red carpet
(Photo courtesy of Blog Paws; photographer Anabelle Denmark)

Then the finalists of the awards are asked to walk at the end. I was honored to be nominated for Best Cause blog for Riverfront Cats.

Christine Michels red carpet BlogPaws social media awards
Award finalists walk down red carpet

Papparazzi Christine Michaels red carpet social media
(I could get used to this)

Christine Michaels cameras red carpet cat blogger
My fellow nominee (Christina) and  Bernard (BlogPaws staff), me

 Of course none of this would be possible without the Founders, the incredible BlogPaws staff and the sponsors. Special shout out to Purina, Natural Balance and Nature's Recipe for their support. It was truly a fabulous event!

Founder Yvonne Divita, Michael Massey (President of Pet Smart), Chloe Divita and founder Tom Collins

Summer hiding from Paparrazi
 (Photo courtesy of Blog Paws; photographer Anabelle Denmark )
This post does not even begin to cover the magnitude and energy of the conference, from the check in, the  social events for mingling, cocktailing and networking, the seminars, meal time, guest speakers, and pet events. I encourage you to click on the links below to view photos from the official BlogPaws Facebook page. 

To view photos of the conference on Facebook:
Day One of the Conference
Day Two of the Conference
Day Three of the Conference

Next year's conference will take place in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Visit BlogPaws page for more information!

*Note: No nonprofit funds were used for this conference.
Most Photos: Courtesy of BlogPaws; Photographer

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Biker Cat Rides the Harley Across the Rainbow Bridge

Owner Christopher Coppola and Biker Cat in California

It is with sadness and a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of a celebrity cat--Otto, more famously known as Biker Cat.

While his owner carries a famous last name, (Christopher Coppola is nephew to movie director Francis Ford Coppola and brother to Nicholas Cage), it is Otto who took the Hollywood and family spotlight in the past decade once he was featured in Animal Planet riding a motorcycle with his own jacket and goggles around Los Angeles.  This was his lifestyle, hence the nickname, Biker Cat. The two of them proved, that "Real Men Love Cats". Click here to view video by Christopher Coppola.

On an Animal Planet segment focusing on the physical attributes and nature of Burmese black cats, Otto exemplified their athletic build, the distinct gold eyes set wide apart, short silky coat, and the need to follow their owners.  The Burmese is the cousin to the Siamese cat.

Biker Cat was also the celebrity guest at the inaugural Le Chat Noir gala, the first ever pet charity event in Miami focusing on black cats back in October 2010. The brainchild of Christine Michaels and organized by The Cat Network, Le Chat Noir elevated black cats to overturn misconceptions and myths and thus to increase adoptions of these cats, the number one color of homeless cats.

Biker cat and Chistopher sitting on motorcycle in downtown Miami for guest appearance
adopt black cats shelter cats
Christopher, Biker Cat and Christine Michaels on Harley motorcycle in front of EPIC hotel

Otto wearing his goggles.
Later that evening in the Design District of Miami, Florida...
Christopher Coppola and Otto emerge from limousine.
A fedora hat was custom made for him by
the Hollywood costume designer for Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Biker Cat walks the red carpet.
He doesn't even blink with 300 guests excitedly watching and flashing cameras.

"Black cats are sleek, strong, intelligent and elegant. To demonstrate these qualities we glamorized and spotlighted them by hosting this event in a Hollywood black and silver theme and where young black cats adorned with Swarovski collars, were trained to walk on leashes down the cat walk." shares Chairperson Christine Michaels. "With Biker Cat's appearance, it is still the most memorable and talked about pet charity event in Miami."

Otto: "Are you getting this?"
Otto is loving the ladies.

 To infuse all that is Miami, the event also included bikini models unveiling a new swimwear line. To top it off,  black cats strutted down the catwalk in their diamond collars. To view more photos from the event, click here

Le Chat Noir reached the pages of a widely-read, local magazine. Brickell Magazine features the movers and shakers, leaders of downtown Miami in real estate, fashion, business, and other segments. 

Article in Brickell Magazine.
(To view better, right click on image. Choose Open in New Tab and zoom in)

Le Chat Noir black cats rescue cats charity gala
Jennifer Angel (Emcee & International Astrologist) and
Christine Michaels (Chairperson) Oct 2010

To learn more about the Le Chat Noir event, click here

Volunteer pictured with 6 month black kitten model that strutted catwalk

Biker cat you are a legend and taught the world so much about the intelligence and companionship of cats. Thank you. Ride that Harley motorcycle Otto. Ride over the bridge. Never stop riding, because we will never forget you.

black cats Burmese cats fedora hat

Friday, April 8, 2016

Please Nominate Us for a Nose-to-Nose Award!

It's that time of year. The Nose-to-Nose Award nomination rounds. Last year was the second year Riverfront Cats was nominated and our first win!  Given the company we shared, we did not expect it at all. This truly uplifted our team that our hard work, sweat, and tears did not go unnoticed. It also gives us important recognition and added weight as experts in our field so we are taken more seriously when confronted with challenges and people who do not understand the nature of cats--local residents or city/county leaders and lawmakers. (You can read more about our win by clicking here).

The nomination round is open and we depend on you, our loyal followers, to share our efforts in hopes to win another award in raising awareness about the nature and plight of homeless cats.


The following are two categories we recommend. Feel free to nominate us for other categories!




 We feel strongly about this category. Few blogs are dedicated to stray and feral cats--their nature, habits, ways to approach them, communicate with them, nurture, trap and capture them...We are constantly learning and sharing.  We teach A to Z. For example, we teach about TNRM-Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage:  How to use a box trap vs. a drop trap; where to take cats for low cost or free spay/neuter; how to socialize a cat, how to read body language; how to build cat shelters, etc.. We have been contacted by local media for input on evolving county issues and potential laws that would impact homeless pets and the local animal shelter. Christine Michaels, founder and President, has spoken before county commissioners with appeals to increase county budget for spay/neuter and other programs to reduce the number of homeless animals especially cats. For a tiny nonprofit organization, Riverfront Cats covers a large gamut from rolling up our sleeves and working in the gut-wrenching trenches of the feral, stray and injured cat world to teaching others how to do the same, to working with county and city leaders. 

Contact Name for Creator of the Work being entered: Christine Michaels
Contact Email for the Creator of the Work being entered:
BlogPaws Community Profile Page of nominee:


POST: To Rescue a Cat, You Have to be Smart and Creative Like a Cat

Yes we love those rescue stories of black and feral cats that were saved, healed and adopted. The lows and crescendo highs uplift our hearts and bring tears of joy. This year we shared more educational posts about the hands on work it takes to rescue and capture difficult-to-trap cats. This is reality. From kittens inside buildings about to be demolished to this stray cat (pictured above) that was feral but could not move his hind legs. But never be discouraged. There is always a solution! A little creative thinking and we were able to rescue the cat hours before Animal Control would have arrived. We made a difference for an unknown, stray/un-neutered cat that was suffering.

Contact Name for Creator of the Work being entered: Christine Michaels
Contact Email for the Creator of the Work being entered:
BlogPaws Community Profile Page of nominee:

POST: A Cat with No Name (Pawsitively Humane)

Christine wrote this post on our umbrella website Pawsitively Humane as a continuation to the story of rescuing a feral cat that could not move his hind legs after a car struck him. This posed new challenges. The first post (see above) presented the scenario and practical, creative solution for capturing the cat using items laying around the home.  This story shared the poignant, emotional story of giving meaning, and a name to cat no one knew before that day. Stray cats are cats too. Christine chose to write this story on the PHI (Pawsitively Humane, Inc.) website for strategic reasons:  to educate all pet lovers.  Sharing this story outside the cat-centric blog of Riverfront Cats helps us fulfill our mission of educating the larger pet-loving world about cats.

Contact Name for Creator of the Work being entered: Christine Michaels
Contact Email for the Creator of the Work being entered:
BlogPaws Community Profile Page of nominee:

POST: Another Battle Lost for Homeless Pets in Miami Dade County

Miami Dade Animal Services spay neuter homeless pets
Christine Michaels speaks before County Commissioners
All sessions are televised live for county residents

Addressing the epidemic of homeless pets and animals in Miami Dade County is daunting.  Animal advocates and pet lovers have united and started to add pressure to city and county leaders to work together alongside residents and nonprofit animal welfare organizations to come up with solutions. This is no easy task and a process that will take years for laws and solutions to evolve. Founder and President, Christine Michaels, spoke before the Miami Dade County Commissioners during a session to vote for additional funding for the local Animal Services. Christine spoke with conviction and eloquence in presenting the case for needed funding. Her presentation and demeanor also helped to overturn misconceptions of "crazy cat people".  While in the end the commissioners voted against the funding, Christine planted the seed. She will continue to meet with County Commissioners individually. With patience and determination she is confident the day will come where animal advocates and ultimately homeless pets will win.

Contact Name for Creator of the Work being entered: Christine Michaels
Contact Email for the Creator of the Work being entered:
BlogPaws Community Profile Page of nominee:

Facebook Account:
Twitter Account:


Be sure to scroll to bottom of the screen for the nomination form.

Thank you Riverfront Cats and Pawsitively Humane followers and animal advocates for taking a few minutes to help us fulfill our mission!