Kitten and cat rescue facility formed to help overcrowded cats

Photo courtesy AIMEE CREECH

Rosie, a mother cat being fostered along with her kittens by Aimee and Emily Creech. The cat family was rescued from being euthanized at a nearby shelter due to capacity issues and have thrived since then.

A new kitten and cat rescue in Cowley County is trying to help alleviate overcrowding at the local humane society by providing a place for cats to receive care and socialization until they can be adopted.

Pretty Kitty Rescue was founded by local resident Charissa Perdaris, after she moved out to the country earlier this year and started finding multiple litters of cats abandoned along the road.

“The road I lived on seemed to be a very popular place for abandoning them, and it was truly a heartbreaking discovery,” said Perdaris, who works in the creative and web industries, and had no experience with rescuing cats and kittens before this year.

Perdaris started taking the cats in, and began the hard work of caring for baby animals. She bathed them, removed mats and stickers from fur, administered medications and gained the trust of feral cats that started out hissing and scratching every time she came near. One of the kittens Perdaris found was so malnourished, that it died in her hand while she was trying to save him.

When more help was needed to save the cats, Pretty Kitty Rescue turned to Dr. Cinda Grimes, a veterinarian based in Ark City.

Perdaris praised Grimes’ work with the kittens. “I tell everyone that I pulled the kittens off the road, but it was Dr. Cindy who saved them,” Perdaris said. “She is everything in a person that God asks us to be, and her lifelong service to animals and to this community is immeasurable. We are so grateful for her and for her staff, and they are the real heroes of this story.”

Pretty Kitty Rescue is also supported by an incredible board of directors, said Perdaris. Members include Mendy Pfannenstiel, president; Alleigh Allen, vice-president; Angie Czaplinski, treasurer; and Connie Leavitt, secretary. Additional positions are held by Amanda Perdaris, business advisor; and Dr. Cinda L. Grimes, veterinary advisor

“The people that care have come forward to help in the most profound ways, and we are so grateful to each and every one,” said Perdaris.

Pretty Kitty Rescue works in partnership with the Cowley County Humane Society to care for abandoned cats. Perdaris said she initially reached out to the shelter when she found the first abandoned litters and was told the shelter was full. Perdaris reached out to CCHS and offered help, and the shelter staff have since referred several people wanting to drop off cats to her.

“We look forward to a long partnership with them and with their incredible and hardworking staff,” said Perdaris.

Perdaris said the rescue is here to help support the community and the work done by the shelter, and to help prevent euthanasia of animals and provide a safe place for cats, kittens and nursing mother cats with kittens.

“Every city needs a good animal rescue. Animal rescue is a vital service to communities. Due to Covid we saw first hand how important animal services are in a community, and when they cease to function we see the ripple effects. Now we face over crowded shelters which have lead to the spread of disease and sickness in many animals. I have been a cat/kitten foster for two years and it has been both joyous and heartbreaking. I am thrilled to be part of the non-profit, Pretty Kitty Rescue. We plan to do big things in the community and are excited to save as many animals as we can and educate the public on animal care and related services. Every animal deserves a loving home,” said board member Connie Leavitt.

One of Perdaris’ favorite rescue stories involves a litter of very sick kittens facing euthanization that she took in. The kittens were taken to Grimes, who went to work and gave Perdaris instructions for further treatment at home. Perdaris and Grimes weren’t sure that the kittens would make it, but as the result of continued care at home the kittens went from being near death to running around Perdaris’ living room and playing with the others kittens.

“This inspirational story is just one example of the incredible work that Dr. Cinda Grimes has done for us and for these vulnerable lives. We’ve seen so many miracles in such a short amount of time and so many lives have been saved thanks to her and by the grace of God,” said Perdaris.

Pretty Kitty Rescue has a shelter/pound license with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health. The license allows them to take in strays, owner surrenders, mama cats and litters of kittens, and to transfer cats and kittens from any local or nearby shelters that are at-risk for euthanasia due to space shortages or sickness. The non-profit has passed three inspections since becoming licensed in September.

Animals adopted from them are socialized and litter box trained, and come with all their shots including Feline Leukemia Virus Vaccination (FeLV), are spayed and/or neutered, are dewormed, are treated for fleas/ticks, and are microchipped. Current needs include donations, food, supplies, fosters, sponsors and volunteers. Perdaris said they would like to partner with local groups that believe in their cause, and the group can bring adoptable animals to events.

“I am a lifelong Christian and am Greek Orthodox, and we believe in treating animals with respect and with unconditional love. I prayed to God about what was happening to me and to these little lives, and He lead me to where we are today. When you follow your heart, it leads you to all the right places and all the right people too,” said Perdaris.

A litter of kittens and their mom were recently placed with Aimee and Emily Creech, a mother and daughter fostering team, where the cats have thrived.

“It brings my daughter and I great joy to know that we’re helping to rescue these beautiful kitties that might not had a chance otherwise. Working with Charissa has been amazing. I’ve never met anyone with such a loving heart for fur babies. It’s a honor knowing that we get to play our part in fostering and finding loving homes for these animals,” said Aimee Creech

Anyone interested in Pretty Kitty Rescue’s work can follow them on Facebook or Instagram, and sign up for emails to stay in touch.

To make a donation, volunteer, sign up to foster, view available cats and kittens, or to reach out, visit prettykittyrescue.org.

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