The Year of the Cat

To see the full beauty of Zee and this quote, please click image to enlarge

According to the Chinese Zodiac, this is the Year of the Dragon. Well, I happen to believe 2012 is the Year of the Cat. Almost out of the gate, the year began with a sense of positive energy and excitement as we cheered on our favorite Cat Behaviorist, Jackson Galaxy of “My Cat From Hell” to get people to watch Season 2 of his show. There is absolutely no doubt that due to the collective efforts of the cat blogging community, that we broadened his viewership base and therefore have helped to educate people about the positive ways of correcting problem behaviors in a cat so that they can peacefully and happily coexist in a human-feline environment.

The biggest story, however, has been the colony of feral cats living on the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel property in Orlando, Florida. These cats had been safely and peacefully living on the grounds for years until it was brought to light by Christine Michaels of Riverfront Cats Miami a week ago that a reverse decision was to be made and the cats were going to be trapped and brought to a shelter for an almost certain death.

Like lighting a match to gasoline, Christine’s plea for help brought a huge floodgate of support from cat advocates across the country via social media and the momentum has been nothing less than amazing. She has caused such national sensation, that her story was picked up in USA Today. Currently the cats are not being brought to a shelter, but the story is still not over. Loews is suggesting a relocation plan, but that is not an ideal solution either. These are innocent creatures that have names, have a feeding schedule and cat shelters built for them. A relocation would cause them to try to find their way back to the only home they know which poses countless dangers to them from predators and  moving cars, to name just a couple.

Oreo - one of the cats living on the Loews property. This cat has a name. It has feelings. And it has a right to live in peace and dignity.

Christine and I have never met, but we have been friends for about a year. We both share an enormous passion for cats and it has been our dream to educate people on not only the plight of feral cats, but about cats in general. We both know how extraordinary cats are and we want to see more of these beautiful creatures adopted into loving homes. We have been trying to get together for months – she takes care of a colony of feral cats in the Riverfront community and I wanted to really see and learn hands on what that is all about so that I can educate people with a greater honesty and passion.

I am so excited to say I will be meeting her today for the first time. Dan is coming with me to take photos of the Riverfront cats that Christine takes care of and he is also going to take video. We feel we must use the Loews situation as a larger platform to help educate people on feral cats while the media attention is being focused on it and that is why I truly believe this is the Year of the Cats. I have already seen the mountains we are moving and I am confident that if we keep the momentum up, we really can make a difference. Stay tuned!!

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  1. Ingrid King says:

    How exciting that you’ll get to meet Christine for the first time today. And I love that we both used Oreo’s photo on our blogs today :-)

    The photo of Zee is absolutely stunning!

    • Deb says:

      No surprise that we would both use the same photo Ingrid – I really think that image makes the situation seem more real. A real cat with a real name who has done nothing wrong! I’m looking forward to meeting Christine and can’t wait to fill everyone in with the details!

      • We agree…the story has a face, and these are the poor babies who will be impacted by Loews’ poor decision. We give purrs to sweet gracie the snowshoe, too…and hope they survive this mess.

      • Deb says:

        Thank you for the support Ryker’s – I know firsthand today after visiting the Riverfront Cats, that yes, they do have names, and personalities, and hearts, and souls and should be treated with respect and dignity… I pray we can make a difference in time for the Loew’s cats.

  2. Marg says:

    I cannot wait to hear about your visit to the feral colony. I am a huge fan of the feral cat and have sixteen of them here. They live just fine outside as long as they have food and a shelter and are spayed and neutered. They don’t bother anyone since they are scared of most people and run like the wind if a stranger comes around. I would love to help with anything to see those cats either find a good home or stay right where they are at the hotel. I would be glad to post about it.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you Marg. I plan on really focusing on this a lot this year and would definitely appreciate the help of someone like you who is so knowledgeable about the subject first hand. It would be great if you could do a mini post about my findings and blog about it. Then, maybe I could do a post on my blog featuring your side of the feral story. The more we help each other with this, the better. I will email you privately to discuss this!

  3. Brian says:

    Hooray for feral help, they sure do deserve it! And hooray for the year of the cat, about darn time!

  4. Carolyn says:

    I was going to say it’s always the year of the cat, but you beat me to it! lol

    Will be very interested to hear about your visit with Christina and the work she does x

    • Deb says:

      I’m looking forward to sharing my story with you Carolyn – it would be interesting to hear how the feral situation is handled in the UK.

  5. Deb, I can’t wait to find out what happens next. The media pressure needs to be continued until there is a resolution. Send some Florida sunshine our way will ya? We’re snowed in!

    • Deb says:

      Layla – we do have lots of sun, but have not had rain in ages. The poor plants look terrible and our grass makes a crunching sound when you walk on it! As far as Loews, yes, the media pressure needs step it up and we also need it to be transfered to the almighty dollar. We really need to start getting on travel sites to voice our negative opinion of the hotel so that people question whether or not they really want to stay at a “Pet Friendly” Hotel that is anything but at the moment…

  6. Doctor Vet says:

    I am so glad you are looking out for and protecting the Riverfront cats!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for stopping by today Doctor Vet. I really learned alot today visiting Christine and the Riverfront Cats and am really hoping to help open people’s eyes a bit to the situation.

  7. RumpyDog! says:

    I certainly hope a good solution for the cats can be worked out.

  8. First of all, like you said, every year is the Year of the Cat for me! Secondly, I will be anxious to hear the outcome of the feral cat story. Lastly, thank you very much for your kind words on my blog the other day!

    • Deb says:

      Julia!! Thank you for your interest and it was my pleasure to leave those kind words!! It’s easy to be kind when the words are truthful and come from the heart!

  9. Cheysuli says:

    But isn’t every year the year of the cat? Really?

  10. meowmeowmans says:

    How exciting that you’ll be meeting Christine. Thank you for caring about the ferals, and for helping them!

    Year of the Cat? We LOVE it. :)

    • Deb says:

      Meowmeowmans – now that I have met Christine’s Riverfront Cats firsthand, I am more excited than ever to help them out and can’t wait to share my experience with them!

  11. Wendy. S says:

    Well, you know how I feel about every being “the year of the cat” ; ) Thank you for helping our feral babies, Deb, they need a strong champion like you!

    • Deb says:

      Yes Wendy, I hope you don’t mind it I borrowed that title for a bit!! I appreciate your thanks Wendy and really hope I can inspire people to make a difference in the life of a feral.