Over the Rainbow Bridge: A Former Roamer’s Experience

Once upon a time, a little kitten was born.

She didn’t know it at first, but she would “join” the Roamer Program and bring good cheer to all who met her. She had no name at birth, but when she joined the Program, she became Penny. Penny was brought to the Program by the Two Rivers Police Department. She was found on the streets of Two Rivers with her mom, a four paw declaw, and a brother. The mom had been declawed, but not spayed. The mom and brother found forever homes through the Roamer Program.

However, Penny had some physical problems that prevented her from being adopted. Her problems were not life threatening, but challenging. For the first couple of months of her life, she walked with a head tilt. She had lost almost all of the sight in one eye resulting from an upper respiratory infection caused by exposure. It was November when she came to the program. The amount of sight she had in the affected eye could be comparted to the size of a pinpoint. She was my foster for 3 years. She grew up in the Program and was always passed over by adopters because she looked a bit different and needed just a little extra care. Roamers are not perfect. We deal with these kinds of Roamers all the time. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma attached to felines who have special needs.

One of our most loving Roamers, Pete, also had advanced URI when he came to the program. He too, had an eye that had suffered from exposure and he too, came off the streets of Two Rivers. He was a great cat, but he was always overlooked because of his disability. He was finally adopted to a physician’s assistant in Milwaukee who told us she didn’t mind his disability because she works with disabled people all the time. Pete is doing great! Penny was finally adopted through our connection with Best Friends of Animals. They did an Internet flyer with her picture and history and a couple in Milwaukee adopted her. They feel she is a special little girl. Just recently, they lost their dog, Dixie. Dixie was 14 and it was time for her to cross over. After Dixie was gone, Penny started to sit at the back door and howl. She knew Dixie went out the door, but never came back in. It was her way of expressing grief, her way of mourning.

Animals have feelings too. This month alone, 4 former housecats came into the program from outdoor situations. How do you think they felt when they found themselves outdoors, cold, hungry, and wondering why they weren’t wanted anymore?

—Kathy Beer, for the Free Roamers

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