The extraordinary yet very sad story of our efforts in 2022 to save homeless cats in CSL and beyond

Wearing my hat as the city councillor responsible for Animal Welfare, let me give my annual salute to Diane Liebling. A retired nurse, she has devoted so much of her life over the past decade to chair our Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee, which oversees a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return, Maintain) program and find homes and medical care for homeless cats and kittens.

Let me just remind readers how much I absolutely love cats. Our own Cleopatra is now 13 and a true member of our family. I am crazy about her!!

One of our rescues.


As Diane notes,   “2022 has been, perhaps, the most challenging one I have ever witnessed. Due to COVID, the vet clinics cut back on their hours, thereby creating a backlog of cats that needed desperately to be seen. The SPCA halted their TNR program for a significant amount of time resulting in a huge increase in the cat population, which will take years to resolve. While it may seem that the issues related to the SPCA are of no concern to us, this is not true. While we are not part of the SPCA TNR program, it is not difficult to see how we are impacted. Cats do not respect boundaries and I am certain I have picked up stray, wandering cats from NDG, Montreal West, Hampstead, and other surrounding areas.”

Starting in March 2020, and moving well into 2022, Diane reports that the increase in cat abandonment has been rising and she has picked up several abandoned cats. Most of the veterinary clinics, including the Côte Saint Luc Hospital For Animals, have increased their prices.

How could anyone not want to adopt this beauty?

In 2021, the cost for TNR cats was increased by 10 percent. “It may not seem like a lot but it definitely adds up,” Diane explains. There is a severe shortage of veterinarians in this province and salaries, I imagine, have gone up to compensate for this. Additionally, the cost of cat food has gone up by at least 15 to 20 percent. We supply many colony feeders in CSL and it is unrealistic to ask them to bear the brunt of the cost themselves. Our adoption fees have steadily climbed over the last number of years but this hardly every covers the true cost of care, especially for a cat with medical issues.”

Diane  highlights a few sad cases we had in CSL this year.

  • In May, a 97-year-old woman died on Kingsley Road, leaving behind her 13-year-old cat. “Lucky” (sadly not very Lucky) was brought to the CSL Vet Clinic where she was literally unapproachable for two weeks. She had extreme “cage rage,” which is an awful thing to witness in a previously owned and loved cat. Of course, our committee paid for boarding.   Fortunately, one of Diane’s rescue friends found her a foster   and she is doing much better in a home.   We actually used “Vet chez Vous,” a CSL based veterinary service which does home visits exclusively to go to the checkup.  
  • In early July this year Diane received a call from a CSL Public Security officer regarding a situation on Heywood. This was for a resident who was brought to hospital leaving behind his two owned cats as well as several outdoor feral cats he has been feeding (with our support) for many years.  “I was told the apartment was uninhabitable and had I not seen it first hand for myself, I am not sure I would believe it,” she said. “I spoke with  Building Inspector Pierre Lemay  I, along with the committee members, went into the apartment, but not without full  Hazmat  gear, including goggles, double masks, foot and head coverings and multiple gloves. It is impossible to accurately describe what we found, but was not good. Fortunately, we were able to retrieve his two, extremely traumatized, cats, which went to the vet for a full workup. They went into foster care. One required dental work, which is very expensive.” While there used to be around seven or eight cats outside this apartment, many disappeared, but four still remained. Diane trapped one, who was very sick, and had to be euthanized; two more were relocated to sanctuaries outside of Montreal (there is a cost to this as we have to support them). and one remains still to be trapped.

On the subject of foster care, there were several strays that Diane picked up in CSL this year, along with the two cats on Heywood. “These were cats that were 100 percent owned and abandoned,” she fumed. “While in foster care, we are obliged to pay the cost for food and litter.”

  • The final very sad story. In the summer Diane  was alerted to a beautiful Scottish Fold in someone’s backyard on Cavendish Boulevard. Fortunately the son of the homeowners brought him to one of her amazing fosters. Despite posting “Doc’” all over Facebook, the SPCA and Pawboost, no one came forward to claim him. He had two very expensive vet visits and it was quickly determined he had end-stage kidney failure. “My foster and I knew he was not doing well but we were not quite prepared for him to die suddenly,” she says.  “Fortunately he died inside with loving care…it would have been a very different story had he not been brought inside. It was extremely traumatizing for my foster.
  • Cat1
    A loveable feline.

Our committee, thanks to Diane,  has become quite well known on the island and are a shining example of what can be done when a municipality like Côte Saint-Luc takes it upon themselves to address and support an important program. “Many rescuers/TNR trappers I know would love to have the program we have but, without their city approval, it is impossible,” proclaims Diane. “They are completely dependent on the SPCA, if their area is covered, and the SPCA TNR program stops periodically due to staffing shortages.”

Since COVID hit, we have not held our annual fundraising concert. We hope it will return outdoors next summer.  One of our fosters, Karin, is selling calendars to benefit our program (as well as Hearing, Entendre Quebec).  The cost is $25 each. Every calendar is accompanied by a cute cat toy or pin, while supplies last.

One of the many feral cats who lives outdoors and we help feed.

 “Honestly, I could not do what I am doing without Karin,” says Diane.   “She has fostered numerous cats and kittens for us and right now she has had one of our cats for 10 months.  Long story short, this was a cat trapped on Beethoven and the vet was certain this was a previously owned  social) cat because of her evident external spay scar.  Well, if she was an indoor cat at some point, she has completely reverted to feral and is/was a traumatized disaster.  She is getting better, but progress is slow. I don't know if she is ever going to be adoptable, but Karin never bothers me about her.  She has just made her one of her family; maybe one day she'll be adopted, but who knows?”

Thank goodness Diane and her diehards, like Ronnie, Ellen, Abby and others, continue to step up to the plate. “I will say that this has been the most challenging year in cat rescue, and that is putting it mildly,” she says. “Unless you are on Facebook and see the utter chaos and devastation going on in cat rescue, it is impossible to describe. I cannot emphasize enough how brutal it is for tens of thousands of cats in this province. The level of abandonment has never been higher.  Kittens are being born year round because of climate change.  An unspayed female who used to have two litters a year is now having four.   

We are grateful to the city for providing us with a budget ,as well as the continued support from our MNA for D'Arcy McGee, David Birnbaum previously and now Elisabeth Prass. Hats off as well to Fern Collier-Pereira and her team for continuing to organize garage sales.

If you are interested in joining our committee, e-mail me at

Why microchipping your dog or cat is mandatory - and important!

Microchipping dogs and cats became mandatory in Montreal and Laval last January. The law also applies to Côte Saint-Luc and we decided to give pet owners more than a year's grace, but that time is almost over.

Starting April 6, 2021, all Côte Saint-Luc cats and dogs over six months of age must be microchipped. A proof of microchipping will be asked when you renew your annual dog or cat tag.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is computer chip, the size of a grain of rice, with a serial number associated with the owner’s contact details. It is inserted, by a veterinarian, under the skin of the animal.

Why microchip?

A microchip makes it possible to identify a lost animal and quickly find its owner. The device cannot be lost and accompanies your pet throughout its life. Dog and cat ownership information is accessible to veterinarians. This avoids overloading shelters and most importantly carrying out avoidable euthanasia.


My Cleopatra was microchipped the moment we adopted her as a kitten.


Where can I get my pet microchipped?

You can get your pet microchipped at your local veterinarian or at the SPCA.

What is my view?

All of my cats have been microchipped. My 11 year old  Cleopatra never goes outside. But we worry heaven forbid if she ever escaped (when I open the sliding door for the barbeque she heads in the opposite direction) what would happen? I hope to never find out, but a microchip is a vital purchase if you love your pet. We have all heard stories about dogs breaking lose from a backyard or off a leash.

You have to be a pet owner to understand this. Our dogs and cats are family. We care about them, well at least I do, like they are your own flesh and blood.

So please, adhere to this new regulation!





Annual CSL Cats Committee Benefit Concert Another Success

A capacity crowd of well over 300 people attended the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee’s (CSLCC) annual benefit concert on   October 24 at the Syd Wise Auditorium of the Wagar Adult Education Centre. Featured performers  for Broadway’s Greatest Hits were the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo. There were also solo performances by soprano Olivia Charette-Hancinsky, baritone Burney Lieberman and saxophonist Gideon Vigderhaus.



For a detailed recap  please click here.

The "power" of the cats: 2017 benefit concert a big success

On a night when massive power failures hit Côte Saint-Luc and a good chunk of Montreal, the show still went on!

Joseph Milo starts the program.

The Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC) held its annual benefit concert on   August 22 at the Syd Wise Auditorium of the Wagar Adult Education Centre.  Featured performers were once again the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo. The selection of music was light classical pieces around the theme of Dance.  Soprano Fairouz Oujida was a  special guest.  

We did so in the memory of Barbara Diehl, a member of our commitee who passed away very suddenly in June. In fact, we were the last people to see her. She went home happily after the meeting. The following day she was found by family in her home. One of her daughters and  grandchildren attended our event.

More than 270 tickets were sold for the event. Funds raised will go towards our Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program. There are many feral cats in the community. The CSLCC’s team of volunteers sets out to trap as many as possible, have them sterilized and then adopted or returned to the spot where they were originally found.  In the latter case, efforts are made to assist the feeders in the community. The committee has also rescued a number of  kittens and found homes for them.

I wish to thank our devoted Chairman Diane Liebling and the woman who spearheaded the efforts seven years ago to help get this initiative started, Shelley Schecter. As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection I am so proud of the success our small and devoted group of volunteers has achieved. Thanks to former Mayor Anthony Housefather, who helped me get this off the ground, his successor Mitchell Brownstein and members of council. In particular I must single out Sam Goldbloom, who has supported me all the way. He and his wife Bev even adopted a cat a few years ago they named Mr. Darcy. My little kitty, Cleopatra, has a special place in my life.  While I adore all animals, cats make the most remarkable pets. You do not need to walk them. They do their business in a litter box and will apportion food you leave them during the day at their own pace. And oh fresh they smell. These animals bathe themselves all day long. When I pick my eight year old Cleo up she smells like shampoo.

Councillor Sam Goldbloom, Cllr Sidney Benizri, myself, Cllr Ruth Kovac, Anthony Housefather, Cllr Allan J. Levine, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Cllr Glenn J. Nashen.

 We are grateful to our 2017 concert sponsors: Expedia Cruise Ship Centres, with franchisee Sean Flynn; Little Bear Pet Supplies on St. Catherine Street in Westmount and D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum.

Our dedicated bake sale crew.

In addition to sponsorship and ticket purchases, we also held our annual bake sale at intermission. Bravo to committee member Fern Pereira and her team for their extraordinary work. Funds raised from that project goes to Diane Liebling’s project of providing food and litter to people who foster cats and those who feed outdoor felines year-round. A huge hats off to Alvin Fishman of the Parks and Recreation Department, who handled all logistics and Regine Banon at City Hall for her coordination. 

Tori Gazin shows young Annabelle a kitten she just rescued.

 We are always looking for new committee members and thanks to the concert this year a few new people have stepped forward.

The orchestra plays.

 The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (MWSO) was founded in 2006 by conductor  Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky. This one of a kind orchestra is composed of 55 musicians: about 80 percent of its members are from 15 countries around the world, while the remaining 20 percent are natives of Montreal who successfully facilitated the integration of the newcomers. They have been rehearsing at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for many years and as part of the arrangement, they agree to perform a benefit concert once a year. We have been the beneficiaries the past seven years.

Mayor Brownstein, Councillor Goldbloom, Sean Flynn and myself.

 We remain grateful for the partnership we have with the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals.

Cats Meow 2017 (36)
Joseph Milo and his orchestra take a well deserved bow.

 The concert was a splendid affair and everyone left delighted and entertained. Anthony Housefather, Mayor Brownstein and Elisabeth Prass (on behalf of David Birnbaum) gave opening remarks and then the band played on!

For more information call 514-485-6806, ext. 2200 or log on to


CSL Cats Committee receives donation from Quebec government

A huge thanks goes out to D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum and specifically his invaluable bureau chief Elisabeth Prass for once again assisting my true "pet" project - the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee.

David Birnbaum presents the cheque to me from the Quebec government.

Following up on a commitment originally started by his predecessor, Lawrence Bergman, Birnbaum has been providing our committee with a greatly appreciated $500 annual donation. He presents it to us at our annual fundraising concert each summer- the next edition set for August 22, 2017. Recently, Prass communicated with the office of Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Laurent Lessard about the work of our committee. This Ministry is responsible for Animal Welfare and as such Prass was able to secure us an additional $500.

CSL Cats Committee Chairman Diane Liebling welcomed the donation. Normally our work only begins in the spring. But that has not been the case this year. There has been an alarming number of homeless cats, many giving birth to kittens, in one specific part of town in the winter. As a result, our already small budget has been impacted so every donation like this is invaluable.

The committee has produced a new information flyer and volunteers have started to deliver it door to door. As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I cannot say enough about Diane Liebling`s leadership and I thank Shelley Schecter of Educhat who remains involved as invaluable advisor and the lady who helped me to start this all off.  The Côte St. Luc Hospital for Animals and its staff are true partners in our mission.

A condo created with love - for cats

Marek  and Anna Balazinski are wonderful human  beings. Over the years they have chosen to join a group of good souls in Côte Saint-Luc who regularly feed homeless cats outside their door.:
Catfor Poster
"In the spring of 2013 cats started to come to our patio," Marek explains. "In  the autumn,  one female brought their five small kittens. We have built a solid cabana. In February 2014,  two more kittens were born. We had all of these cats  sterilized and vaccinated. This will mark our fourth winter with this cat’s family. In the fall of  2014 mama disappeared. In the 2016,  two more cats disappeared. However,  in the fall  of 2015,  one very young cat joined our family. Now we have six permanent residents, and from time to time some other cats are coming to eat. They are not really sociable. We can caress only two of them of course as they are in a good mood."
Marek has shared this wonderful story about a "condo created with love" that he and his wife have built for the cats. Please read it  here - Download A condo created with love

More than 300 people attend our benefit concert for the Cats Committee

How proud am I of the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC), a group I helped established six years ago? Very much so.

We are a small group of volunteers, dedicated to Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt. Few communities on the island of Montreal have such an entity. While the city provides us with an annual grant of $5,000, we need more to fulfil our mission. There are veterinarian bills to pay and supplies to purchase. So a year into our existence we decided to start doing some fundraising. Our biggest event is a concert we present featuring the extraordinary Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo.

Josephand MikMac
Larissa Macmac and Joseph Milo.

For our fifth annual concert on August 23 at the Syd Wise Auditorium of the Marymount Adult Education Centre, more than 300 people were in attendance. A Bouquet of Classics: The Music We All Love was the theme. Net proceeds plus funds collected via donations and purchases through our bake sale – spearheaded by Fern Collier-Pereira – gave us the boost we needed to keep doing our job. In fact the money received from the latter goes to a new fund which will enable us to purchase cat food for those who feed outdoor community cats year-round.

It is safe to say that most of the people in the audience were there to hear good music. As I said in my address, if only a few of those individuals step forward to help us then it will be a plus for us. I must say that over the last couple of years, different people have joined our team and truly made a difference. Diane Liebling is the heart and sole of our committee. She oversees the most difficult task of trapping the homeless community cats we find, often fostering them in her own garage. As I saw the large gathering around the bake sale at intermission, with Fern and committee members working so hard, I felt very very proud,

Volunteers oversee the successful Bake Sale.

Councillor Sam Goldbloom once again co-chaired the concert with me. Sam and I are the only pet owners on council and he adores his Mr. Darcy as much as I love my Cleopatra. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein has been very supportive of our cause. So has his predecessor, present-day Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather. Both gentleman spoke at the start of our program, as did Elisabeth Prass. She runs D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum’s office. David, following the lead of his predecessor Lawrence Bergman, provides us with an annual donation of $500.

Mr. Birnbaum could not attend because he was sitting in a Parliamentary Commission in Quebec City. But Ms. Prass explained how Mr. Birnbaum has been proud to report to his colleague, the provincial Minister of Agriculture, that  Côte Saint-Luc is a leader in the welfare of cats and humanitarian practices towards pets. “In the spirit of this, in December of last year, our Liberal government was proud to adopt Bill 54, the Animal Welfare and Safety Act, which legislates for the better protection of animals and defines them as sentient beings with biological needs, rather than as objects,” she explained. “Our government's goal with this ground-breaking legislation is to better protect pets and ensure humanitarian treatment of animals raised for food production.”

Alexandra Cohen served as our emcee and opened up with two songs, Corner of the Sky from the Broadway show Pippin and Life is a Cabaret from the Broadway classic Cabaret. 

The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra are nothing less than outstanding. This year some members also presented superb solo performances. Founded in 2006 by conductor Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky,  this one of a kind orchestra is composed of 55 musicians: about 80 percent of its members are from 15 countries around the world, while the remaining 20 percent are natives of Montreal who successfully facilitated the integration of the newcomers. They have been rehearsing at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for many years

Anna Levitina, Rami Negev and Sean O'Brien.

I could have listened to them all night. The first half was dominated by classics. After intermission we heard many Broadway tunes from the likes of The Lion King, West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera. Every year Joseph surprises us with something dedicated to cats. Sean O’Brien, Anna Levitina and photographer Rami Negev belted out Everybody Wants to Be a Cat from the Aristocrats. It was a feel good way to conclude proceedings. We all left truly happy, very much looking forward to doing the same thing next August.

Nutrience Pet Food by Hagen served as a sponsor as did Expedia Cruises, which even set up an information kiosk. The latter had a lot of traffic.  Scotiabank Cavendish generously donated some door prizes. I thank them for supporting us.

Thank you to Alvin Fishman, who steered the ship on logistics from day one and went the extra mile on the day of the concert with Mo Giobbi; to Harold Cammy, while on a well-deserved break, always gets things started for us by booking the auditorium and getting ticket sales going; to Regine Banon, who takes care of printing the tickets, overseeing our flyers/programs and all publicity related to the event (this year she went the extra mile and came to video tape); to Lisa Milner, who keeps us regularly up to date on crucial sales at the library; and of course Marymount Adult Education Centre head caretaker Michel Leblanc who stays after work to ensure to oversee the crucial component of sound.

There are so many people on our committee I can single out, from Rebecca Katz who oversees our Facebook page and takes care of our hotline to young Liz Brenhouse who fosters and socializes cats in her own bedroom and seeks homes for them. True cat lovers exist in our community and I want to meet more of them.

We received a lot of media coverage leading up to the concert. You can review it all here.

L’Orchestre symphonique des musiciens du monde donnera un concert bénéfice au profit du Comité des chats de Côte Saint-Luc le 23 août

Le Comité des chats de Côte Saint-Luc (CCCSL) tiendra son concert de financement annuel le mardi 23 août à 19 h 30, à l’auditorium Syd Wise du Centre d’éducation des adultes Marymount, au 5785, avenue Parkhaven.

Le concert mettra en vedette les musiciens de l’Orchestre symphonique des musiciens du monde (, sous la direction de Joseph Milo. Certains membres de son orchestre interpréteront aussi des pièces en solo. Les fonds recueillis lors du concert A Bouquet of Classics: The Music We All Love seront versés au Programme du CCCSL.


« Ce concert bénéfice permet aux gens qui aiment les animaux de profiter d’une soirée de belle musique tout en contribuant à une bonne cause, a dit le maire Mitchell Brownstein. Voilà un autre exemple des mesures concrètes que prend la Ville pour faire la promotion des arts et de la culture dans la communauté. »

Les commanditaires officiels de la soirée sont le député libéral de D’Arcy McGee, David Birnbaum, et Nutrience Pet Food de Hagen.

« Il y a beaucoup de chats errants dans la communauté, explique Mike Cohen, conseiller municipal responsable de la protection des animaux dans la ville. L’équipe de bénévoles du CCCSL a pour objectif d’en attraper le plus grand nombre possible et de les faire stériliser, pour ensuite les donner en adoption ou les retourner à l’endroit où ils ont été trouvés. Le comité porte aussi secours aux chatons abandonnés en leur trouvant un foyer. Il y a quelques années, la Ville a adopté un règlement régissant l’octroi des licences pour chats. »

L’Orchestre symphonique des musiciens du monde (OSMM) a été fondé en 2006 par le chef Milo et son épouse Lucy Ravinsky. Cet orchestre unique en son genre regroupe 55 musiciens : environ 80 pour cent d’entre eux proviennent de 15 pays différents et 20 pour cent sont originaires de Montréal, ce qui a grandement facilité l’intégration des nouveaux venus. Les répétitions ont lieu à l’hôtel de ville de Côte Saint-Luc depuis plusieurs années et, dans le cadre d’une entente avec la ville, l’orchestre offre un concert bénéfice une fois l’an. Cette année, les bénéficiaires de cette initiative sont le Comité des chats de Côte Saint-Luc et Educhat.

Les billets sont présentement en vente à seulement 12 $ (taxes incluses) aux endroits suivants : au comptoir principal de la Bibliothèque publique Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc, (5851 boul. Cavendish), au Centre communautaire et aquatique de Côte Saint-Luc (5794, av. Parkhaven), et à l’Hôpital vétérinaire de Côte Saint-Luc (7930, chemin Baily). Aux deux premiers endroits, les paiements sont acceptés par carte de débit ou de crédit, ou comptant, mais seulement en argent comptant à l’Hôpital vétérinaire.

Les conseillers Mike Cohen et Sam Goldbloom, coprésidents de l’événement, précisent que de l’information sera disponible le soir du concert pour les personnes qui voudraient se joindre au comité ou adopter un chat. Une vente de pâtisseries se tiendra à l’entracte. Pour plus d’information, appeler au 514-485-6806, poste 2200 ou consulter

Fourth annual benefit concert for the CSL Cats Committee another successful

Well we did it again! The fourth annual benefit concert for the  Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC)   and Educhat was sold out as more than 300 people joined us at the former Wagar High School  on Parkhaven to hear the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo and outstanding young singers Alexandra Cohen and Nicole Raviv.

Funds raised from  A Bouquet of Classics and Other Fun Music  will go towards the CSLCC’s Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program and Educhat, the volunteer organization headed by Shelley Schecter which has spearheaded efforts in Côte Saint-Luc and elsewhere. There are many feral cats in the community. The CSLCC’s team of volunteers sets out to trap as many as possible, have them sterilized and then adopted or returned to the spot where they were originally found. The committee has also rescued a number of  kittens and found homes for them. Our city also has a cat licensing bylaw. 

As  the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I was proud to be the main organizer of the event. I thank Councillor Sam Goldbloom – like me a true cat lover- for his support. Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillors  Glenn J. Nashen, Ruth Kovac, Mitchell Brownstein and Allan J. Levine were all on hand. Since I launched the CLSCC five years ago, the mayor and council have been 100 percent behind my initiative.

On this night we  honoured our treasurer Ruth Kleinman, Finance Administrative secretary Elizabeth Ruhry  and accounting agent Maria Picciuto  for the support they have given the committee.  In addition, they have set a wonderful example for others to follow by feeding a homeless cat outside the library on a daily basis. They have even named him “Eli.” Stated Ms. Kleinman: “We are just supporting the mission of the Cats Committee. The three of us have cats of our own. My job is to manage the budget. Elizabeth and Maria go out of their way to help.”

MNA David Birnbaum presents Sam Goldbloom and I with the cheque.

Nutrience Pet Food by Hagen and D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum were our sponsors. Birnbaum, whom I have known for many decades, joined us for the event with his press attaché Christopher Savard. On stage he presented Sam and I with a $500 cheque for the committee and rightly acknowledged the excellent job his Agriculture Minister  Pierre Paradis is doing in regard to animal protection.

The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (MWSO) was founded in 2006 by conductor  Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky. This one of a kind orchestra was formed when it was discovered that a great pool of professional musicians, recently immigrated to Montreal, had no opportunity to make use of their valuable talent in their new home. The MWSO was created, not only to provide these new Canadians with the opportunity to engage in their main passion; making beautiful music in an orchestral setting, but to give them back the professional dignity they had enjoyed in their homelands and most especially, to share their wonderful talents with the music lovers of Montreal.

The MWSO is composed of 55 musicians: about 80 percent of its members are from 15 countries around the world, while the remaining 20 percent are natives of Montreal who successfully facilitated the integration of the newcomers. To date, the orchestra has entertained Montreal audiences with over 30 performances, including several benefit concerts as well as having produced several recordings. The orchestra has also been selected as the subject of four documentary films. They have been rehearsing at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for many years and as part of the arrangement, they agree to perform a free concert once a year.

Joseph Milo shares a dance with Nicole Raviv,

Joseph Milo and his team were nothing less than outstanding. You could see the smiles on everyone`s face in the audience as they hung on to every tune. There was a wonderful balance of music, from classics to Broadway. This included the William  Tell Overture,  Moon River, music from Star Wars and the “Let it Go”  theme from the Disney blockbuster Frozen. By popular demand they brought back two favorites from our previous shows—The Typewriter (in which a musician actually plays the typewriter as an instrument) and a cats duet by Raviv and Anna Levitina.

Alexandra Cohen, who has been performing in musical theatre since she was six years old, and acting in film, TV, and radio productions, sang    “Don’t Cry for me Argentina” from the musical Evita, and “Being Alive” from the musical Company.  See the  video clip here or below.


Alexandra  is frequently invited to sing the national anthem at many events including Cote Saint Luc’s Canada Day celebrations. Alexandra has won the title of Top Female Triple Threat performer at the Show Choir Canada National Championships. As a member of the Cote Saint-Luc Cats Committee, Alexandra produced a film about the Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program.  She has brought this film to many elementary schools to teach children about responsible pet ownership. Last year she was recognized as Cote Saint-Luc’s Youth Volunteer of the Year. She is currently  in her second year studying health sciences at Marianopolis College, where she created and directs a group called Singers for a Cause. 

Nicole Raviv is a singer-songwriter, actress and dancer. She was a child actor in the touring cast of The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre and is a recent graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Recent New York theatre credits include The Butterfly's Day (Off-Broadway), Be Our Guest (Off-Broadway), and Crossf8- A New Musical. Nicole has made TV appearances on The Good Wife and The Dr. Oz Show, and is currently working on her own EP album as a recording artist with producer Chris Young.  She sang I Feel Pretty (West Side Story), On My Own (Les Misérables) and  I Could Have Danced (My Fair Lady) as well as the duet.

Now for a few thank yous.  To Shelley Schecter, Diane Liebling and Barbara Hilliker who lead the charge in terms of trapping and fostering; Alvin Fishman, Regine Banon, Harold Cammy, Lisa Milner, Ruth Farrugia and Mauricio Giobbi from the city who really steered the ship for us;  Alexandra Cohen, who besides her performance worked on the script, hosted the evening and determined our sound needs; Michel Leblanc whose work on the sound and lighting was invaluable; the Volunteer Citizens on Patrol, who kept law and order; and committee member Fern Collier-Pereira and her group whose bake sale raised almost $400 for Educhat.

More municipalities and boroughs must step up to save homeless cats

When it comes to cats, my favorite animal creatures on earth, I wish I lived in a world where more people wanted to have them as pets and that the homeless cat population would disappear. But this is not going to happen and while we continue to deal with the latter problem globally, here on the island of Montreal some municipalities and boroughs are making efforts to deal with the issue.

Five years ago, in my capacity as a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc and with the backing of Mayor Anthony Housefather and council, I started a Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) and Adopt Program in conjunction with Shelley Schecter and her organization Educhat. Working with a very small group of volunteers, homeless cats are trapped, neutered, vaccinated and either returned to their original location where they are fed, sheltered and kept an eye on or adopted.


We all feel very uncomfortable with the release part, especially in regard to kittens. The only alternative is for more members of the public to step forward and adopt those which are socialized. If left outside they will remain feral. As Shelley notes, “more cats are dumped than are adopted.  If everyone would take in one homeless cat, this problem would not exist.”

There are also certain owners of outdoor cats who exacerbate this problem by not sterilizing their own animals while letting them outside to impregnate others over and over again.It is estimated that over a period of seven years two unaltered cats can exponentially create over 400,000 offspring.  “For those who pooh, pooh these numbers, you can half the numbers a few times and you are still looking at an alarming amount of cats,” points out Shelley.

Right now the only municipalities and boroughs on the island of Montreal which have TNR Programs, besides Côte Saint-Luc are Dollard des Ormeaux, St. Laurent, Anjou, Montreal North, Sud-Ouest, Verdun Lachine, Ahuntsic-Cartieville and Côte des Neiges-NDG.  Hochelaga Maisonneuve and Rosemount are looking into starting ones of their own.  More municipal bodies must step to the plate. People who do not have allergies and like animals should consider adopting a cat. They make for the most remarkable pets. Unlike dogs, you need not take them for a walk as they do their business in a litter box. You can apportion their food for the day or night when you are out. They even bathe themselves. These are affectionate and brilliant animals who really make a difference in one`s life.

The Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC) will hold a fundraising concert on Tuesday, August 25 (7:30 p.m.) at the former Wagar High School (5785 Parkhaven).  Featured performers will be the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (, conducted by Joseph Milo and  Montreal-born singer, dancer and actress Nicole Raviv. Funds raised from  A Bouquet of Classics and Other Fun Music  will go towards our  TNR  and Adopt Program . Tickets are only $10 each (tax included) and can be purchased now at the following locations: the main desk at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library (5851 Cavendish Boulevard); the Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Avenue); and the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals (7930 Baily Road). For more information call 514-485-6806, ext. 2200 or log on to   All of the details about the concert can be found on this link.