By Kevin Deutsch
For nearly 20 years, a Coral Springs couple has been removing garbage from the streets of Coral Springs during their daily walks while also caring for cats that might otherwise starve.
Mike and Eileen Rosenblatt, both 59, can be seen day in, day out picking up trash around Coral Springs Sportsplex, Coral Glades High School, and surrounding areas, filling up bags of rubbish while stopping to feed four different groups of felines the couple cares for as they would their own.
“The world is not a perfect place, so one of the things we’re supposed to do is leave the world better than the way we found it,” said Mike Rosenblatt, who, like his wife of 36 years, tries to do works that embody the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, loosely translated as “to repair the world.”
“We do the best we can with what we have,” Eileen Rosenblatt said of their daily clean-up jaunts, one in the morning and another in the evening.
Passing drivers and pedestrians routinely stop the couple to say thanks or offer words of encouragement, and many locals have said the Rosenblatts inspired them to pick up trash left in their own neighborhoods.
The Rosenblatts don’t clean up for plaudits, but have plenty of admirers nonetheless.
Latoya Stevenson, a Coral Springs resident and registered nurse, said that “since 2016, myself, my husband Vergil, and our children watched this couple in awe.”
“We’ve noticed that on their morning and evening walks, they pick up trash in the neighborhood and feed cats in several different spots,” Stevenson added. “Thank you, Eileen and Mike. Keep it up. We appreciate you guys.”
As for the cats the Rosenblatts feed, each one was humanely caught by the couple, brought in to be fixed and registered, then returned to the area where they previously lived.
“We get pleasure out of it,” Eileen said of feeding the seven felines, plus two cats they keep in their yard.
That’s not counting the ones living inside.
“If we don’t do it…. no one’s going to do it,” she said of caring for the animals. “If we’re going to help this animal…it’s going to live a long life. They’re safe, they’re fed, they’re protected.”
The Rosenblatts’ daily trash pick-ups go back decades to when they lived in Sunrise. Their cat feedings began after the couple’s youngest daughter, then two—and an aspiring “animal doctor”—said she wanted a kitty of her own.
Five years later, “we got cat number one, and that’s how this cat thing started,” said Eileen, whose daughter, now 29, is a professional veterinarian.
“We’ll dog sit for you,” she added, “but we’re definitely cat people.”
Mike said he and his wife make a deal with all the cats they humanely trap: if they come along to be spayed or neutered, the Rosenblatts promise to feed them for the rest of the cats’ lives.
“I hate to see any animal suffering,” Mike said.
The routine helps local humans, too: During their decades of walking together, Mike said he has found around 15 wallets he then returned to their rightful owners.
The couple is perpetually motivated to clean up nearby streets because “we hate the concept of kids having to walk through garbage to get to school,” Mike said.
In addition to Coral Glades High School, where Eileen works as a substitute teacher, the Rosenblatts also clean up byways trafficked by students from Westchester Elementary School and Sawgrass Springs Middle School.
“People tell us, this is why Coral Springs is what it is,” said Eileen. “A pretty city.”
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.