July 22, 2019In the News

Homeless man tries desperately to find shelter for his cat during heat wave

Things had been going badly for Robert Ferreria for a while, but the heat wave made him desperate.

Homeless man tries desperately to find shelter for his cat during heat wave.

Recently evicted from his Wind Gap apartment and living in his SUV, Ferreria showed up at the Center for Animal Health and Welfare in Williams Township on Wednesday and asked if his 18-month-old tabby, Fabulous, could stay until the weather improved. He made it clear that he wasn’t willing to surrender his pet, even though he’d probably be accepted at a homeless shelter if he didn’t have a cat with him.

“He’s my little buddy, I would never give him up,” Ferreria said.

Kelly Bauer, executive director of the nonprofit animal shelter, agreed to find a foster home for Fabulous. Then she climbed into Ferreria’s 2003 GMC Envoy and pulled out her video camera, recording his a seven-minute plea to her Facebook followers.

Within hours, Bauer had not only located a foster home for Fabulous, but she found temporary housing and several job leads for Ferreria, who is 40. Bauer, who experienced homelessness as a child growing up in Quakertown, said she respected Ferreria’s determination to keep his cat despite his dire circumstances. Too often, she said, people abandon pets at shelters as soon as they hit a rough patch.

“Pets are family, and to see someone trying so hard to keep his family together, I knew I needed to help,” Bauer said.

With Bauer in their corner, Ferreria and Fabulous may fare better than others in their situation. According to the nonprofit Pets of the Homeless, up to 25% of the 3.5 million homeless people in the United States have at least one companion animal, adding up to as many as 875,000 pets living on the street with people.

Renee Lowry, executive director of Pets of the Homeless, said the organization gets at least two calls every week from people seeking a homeless shelter that will accept pets.

“Communities across the country need to look at their homeless populations that have pets and realize the need is more than they think,” Lowry said.