Skip to content

Giving cats a happy ending

Perry’s Paws on a mission to save, spay/neuter felines

By Anna Jauhola
Every rescue cat has a story. A new rescue shelter in Kittson County has made it their mission to make sure each cat’s story has a happy ending.
Two women, with help from many others, founded Perry’s Paws earlier this year. Robin McEnelly, of Kennedy, and Heather Pulczinski, of Lake Bronson, began the shelter to rescue feral cats and fix them to prevent more unchecked cats around the county.
“My mom died in October last year,” Robin said. “She was 90. We had bought this house for her. We spent so many years caring for my mom every day and personally, I felt a hole.”
Shortly after her mother’s death, Robin met Pulczinski at the Cenex station in Lake Bronson and their idea for a rescue blossomed. The organization’s name comes from Robin’s mother’s maiden name. Her son, Michael, and partner Mike Peterson have done the majority of renovations to the house to give the cats separate enclosures, with window seats, wall shelves and hidey-holes, depending on their needs.
The rescue has been wildly successful. They have spayed/neutered 157 cats since they began in March. Currently, the shelter and its foster homes are housing 103 cats. Of the cats in the main house in Kennedy, only a few are not fixed due to age or health conditions.
“We’ve had lots of people who are willing to help with fostering,” Robin said. “If you can give up a spare bathroom for a few weeks, just until they’re ready to go, it helps a lot.”
In their mission, Perry’s Paws has trapped cats all across Kittson County, and even into Roseau and Marshall counties. To handle all the cats, people have been extremely generous by giving monetary donations, along with food, litter, toys, cat trees and beds, blankets and more. They also work with area Humane Societies, which take cats that are ready to be adopted, but in turn, Perry’s Paws takes their cats that aren’t ready.
The organization cannot fully exist on the generosity of the public alone. They are now working on becoming a fully-fledged nonprofit.
“We talked to LegalCORPS,” Robin said. “We gave them a $50 fee so we could be added to their website for lawyers in Minnesota who want to give back. Benjamin Velzen called me and I almost hit the ground.”
Velzen is working with Robin and Pulczinski to set up Perry’s Paws as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Robin said Velzen has been great to work with. Once the status is official, they can apply for grants and receive physical donations from companies like Chewy.
“That would keep us supplied with food and litter. Right now, our donations have to go toward that, and any extra dime we have goes toward fixing the cats,” Robin said. She added that spaying or neutering cats benefits their health and overall lifespan, not to mention lowers the number of feral cats.
To help keep the cost of spay/neuter low, Perry’s Paws has partnered with WE R Furr, based in Callaway, Minn., with a new location in Moorhead. They also contacted Robin directly as they were looking to take on new rescue organizations.
“That opened our doors way wider,” she said. “They are absolutely fantastic. That’s how we can do the low-cost spay/neuter.”
Perry’s Paws doesn’t just care for and house cats, and then send them back to humane societies. They also adopt them out. The $125 fee covers spay/neuter and rabies vaccination. There will soon be a Facebook page dedicated to the organization’s cats that are ready for adoption. Otherwise, you can keep up with updates on their regular Facebook page as well.
Currently, Perry’s Paws is housing some interesting kitties.
Stuart is a huge love bug. He came from the Pennington County Humane Society because he was on the kill list. While he is feral, he’s become very social and enjoys other cats, but not kittens.
Xena is truly a warrior princess. She came to Perry’s Paws from a local person who found her on their doorstep. Xena had been recently spayed, but when advertised, no one claimed her. She is a cutie who enjoys pets and tolerates other cats.
Tank is a big tomcat and has an official title at the rescue – resident adviser.
“If anybody’s got complaints, they give them to Tank and he gives them to us,” Micheal said, laughing.
“But seriously, Tank shows the cats who are really terrified that having a friendly feral cat is a good thing with other feral cats,” Robin said. “They can see Tank is calm. He is literally our sweetest boy.”
Tank came to Perry’s Paws after having been shot with a BB gun. Several BBs remain just under his skin. The veterinarian said if they don’t bother him, they’re better left than removed, which can cause more problems, Robin said.
Coal is a young mama cat who came to the shelter not long ago with six “stowaways.” She gave birth only days after arriving. Five kittens survived and are doing well. Although Coal is only a little over 1 year old, the veterinarian estimated she has had five batches of kittens, Michael said.
“Being feral and unfixed, all she’s done is reproduced, so everything is stretched out,” Robin said of Coal’s belly.
These are just a few of the cats’ stories. Each one has found a safe place at Perry’s Paws and is at their own level of comfort.
“I’ve seen the cats running around town, cats that are limping, cats with half their faces ripped off, and I’ve seen it my whole life,” Robin said. “Both Heather and I have tried to help just the ones who’ve shown up on our doorsteps. There’s so many more. It’s just, we did this to them, people did this to them. We need to fix some of the issues we’ve created. And all these little lives are just as important.”
So how can you help? Monetary donations are extremely important, as well as food and litter. Eventually, it will be helpful for volunteers to just sit with the cats to provide a calm, welcoming human presence.
If you want to give, you can send donations to Perry’s Paws, ℅ Robin McEnelly, 102 Atlantic Ave., Kennedy, MN 56733 or directly to KodaBank, 101 5th St., Kennedy.
You can also drop off food and litter donations at the Perry’s Paws house at 306 W. Manilla Ave. in Kennedy, or at McEnelly’s home at 102 S. Atlantic.

Leave a Comment