Angel Paws, the Hidden Cat Gem of Colonia


Photo Credit: Emma Nadella

By adopting a cat, you are not only saving that animal’s life, but it can provide you with comfort during hard time like the pandemic. According to ASPCA, “3.2 million cats can be found in shelters every year and of these, about 860,000 are euthanized annually.”

By: Emma Nadella, Reporter

In the small community of Colonia, most people don’t know about Angel Paws, a non-profit cat shelter made up of volunteers, dedicated to helping abandoned and homeless cats finding their permanent homes.

There is no euthanization held in the shelter, they keep all cats happy and healthy until they are adopted. Angel Paws also allows people to donate and support their shelter while also staying Covid safe.

Origins of Angel Paws

Founded in 1999, Angel Paws was created by two experienced animal rescuers. Both of the rescuers had 40 years of experience prior to making the shelter a reality. They had gained that experience from separate animal organizations but shared one thought in common. Both of the founders felt that the community was lacking something. It lacked a place to care for cats gradually throughout their lives. So Angel Paw’s main goal is to give cats a place to live and find them a new home. Most cats find new homes, while others may prefer to stay at the shelter. Either way, all volunteers who work there show their love and appreciation to all of them.

They also created it by fundamentally using only non-paid volunteers as well. People all over from different cities come to volunteer at Angel Paws. The shelter also makes note that it only uses volunteers and donations from other people to help the cats. It helps teach the volunteers about different ways to help the animals, while also allowing them to educate potential adopters about how to take care of them. It not only shows the dedication a volunteer puts into caring for the shelter but also shows people adopting how great Angel Paws is as a whole.

Continued Growth

Set up to continue being successful and growing in the community, Angel Paws is set up to hold many cats. Current owner, Elaine Chelak, she explained, “We take in anywhere from 120-150 cats per year.” 

In regards to volunteers, Chelak also said,  “In varying levels of involvement we have about 90 volunteers. Some have significant involvement and others do not, or rarely, come to the shelter at all. When our shelter is normally staffed for shifts, we have about 65 people who come in on a regular basis during the week. New to our organization due to COVID is a growing amount of foster homes.” Due to COVID all throughout the year, involvement in the shelter was staggered but kept going on strong during the pandemic.

Currently, they are not holding any in-person fundraisers for the safety of everyone to prevent anyone from getting sick. However, they have plenty of other ways of donating money on their website. You can donate by giving things that can be put to use in the shelter. On the same website, they give a list of items they can take. All donations and support to Angel Paws are really appreciated!