April Member Spotlight: Christine Michaels

Christine Michaels at one of her feeding stations

Christine Michaels at one of her feeding stations

Thank you for this honor to introduce myself and share my work in the CWA spotlight. I’m in awe to join this talented and exclusive membership and learn from your experience and insights.

So what makes me purr, tick and thump (or jump) for joy? Well I’m a tortie of four passions—dance, marketing, Art Deco and blogging about cats!

My love for the arts and performing ballet started very young but I knew at age 23 a “starving artist” would not sustain a lifestyle of travel and modern comforts. Dance remains a cherished hobby so I chose marketing as my career path. It came as natural as ballet and marketing remains my secret weapon in helping the cat community.

However, after four job layoffs in 20 years it was time to reinvent myself as “an educator with flair”. At the ripe age of 40 I launched a small business. The Art Deco Walking Tour and Cocktail tour showcase the history and architecture of Miami Beach and I became known as the South Beach Deco Lady before…

My affinity for cats materialized by accident. When I stumbled upon homeless cats in my new neighborhood along the Miami River, I could not ignore their plight and dove into action–learning hands on about capturing kittens, trapping, deworming, bottle feeding, recuperating after spay/neuter, socializing, etc. As a strategist I realized the number of homeless cats against a small army of volunteers was a constant losing battle. Community awareness was nonexistent. Education and communication were critical to reverse the trend. Thus the Riverfront Cats blog was born as I put my efforts into words in hopes to stir reaction and motivate action.

A proud moment was conceptualizing and chairing the inaugural Black Cat gala in Miami to overturn the misconception of black cats and increase adoptions. Le Chat Noir was conceived to showcase the elegance and intelligence of black cats. Against a backdrop theme of old Hollywood black and silver, fine wine and food, and trained black cats strutting down the cat walk adorned with diamond collars, the event elevated black cats and dazzled attendees. We also flew in Otto, the celebrity black cat that rides a motorcycle in Los Angeles. Otto confidently walked the red carpet in his black top hat and didn’t blink an eye in the face of flashing cameras. The 2010 event was featured in a luxury Miami magazine. Mission accomplished!

Now in its fifth year, the Riverfront Cats blog and nonprofit has received media attention for efforts related to community, feral and black cats. My hard work, sweat and tears is paying off. It’s not just a paw print in the beach sand. The blog is leaving tracks and forging ahead and I thank my new cat friends, neighbors and mother for their valuable contributions. I could not do this alone.

Now for my next goal, it’s ambitious. To combine cats, Art Deco, dance, writing all in one– To host the next CWA conference in Miami with an “Art Deco Alley Cat walking and dance tour in South Beach!” Livin’ la cat vida loca!

You can connect with Christine in any of her social media platforms:
Riverfront Cats on Facebook
Riverfront Cats on Twitter
Riverfront Cats on Pinterest
Riverfront Cats on Instagram

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