Lend a helping paw
A Long Prairie Combined Fund Raffle is being held to raise money for Project Long Prairie 100 which aims to curb the stray cat problem in Long Prairie.
Each ticket is $5, and the drawing is to be held Nov. 30, 2023. First prize is a 69.5-inch square Easy Street Quilt; second prize is 8-12 pounds ribeye donated by Long Prairie Packing; third prize is a lap quilt.
“We’re basically a group of four of us that are doing a TNR program, which stands for trap, neuter, and return,” Pam Koska, Project Long Prairie 100 treasurer, said.
In May, Project Long Prairie 100 was started to get the cat population under control.
“In four months we pulled 124 cats, got them neutered, spayed, and into rescues or farm programs,” Kendra Delage, president and founder of Project Long Prairie 100, said.
Koska said over 100 of these cats were taken from the trailer park and only about six of them were returned.
“A lot of them were friendly and were able to be adopted by families and are still looking for homes,” Koska said.
According to Koska, “the colony is huge” at the trailer park, so there are still more to capture.
“Abandoned cats that are really friendly and pet-quality are going to rescues to be adopted out to private families again,” Delage said.
As for feral cats that are returned to the area, Delage said, “There is a place for outdoor cats because they keep the rodent population down.”
“The trailer park was not supporting the number of cats that were there,” Delage said. “They were all sick, they all needed something besides neutering.”
Koska said they would get the cats back to their health, and by then the cats were not able to go back out into the wild.
“There is a large network for kitty cats,” Koska said, describing several rescue centers in the Twin Cities that have taken in some of Long Prairie cats and kittens they found. There are even special centers for senior cats or cats missing teeth, “like nursing homes for cats,” she said.
“We’re kind of in a hold-and-monitor mode. So if there’s suddenly a bunch of new kittens showing up or pregnant, or a sick cat at the trailer park, most people know to call us,” Delage said.
Next, the group plans to build cat shelters so that stray cats have a warm place to go this winter.
“There are cats that freeze to death in this town every year,” Delage said.
The funds from the raffle won’t be going toward the shelters though. Instead, profits from the raffle will go toward paying the veterinarian bills for shots and neutering that are required before the cats go to rescue to get placed into homes.
The Long Prairie Combined Fund was originally a food shelf fund, Koska said.
“It’s a 501(c)(3) that has been in existence for over 25 years. They initially raised money for the food shelf. Around four years ago, they went dormant and were going to close down the nonprofit,” Delage said.
Jody Bebault was part of the original 501(c)(3), and with her help, the nonprofit was reorganized with Delage as president, Bebault as vice president, Luan Brunkhorst as secretary, and Koska as treasurer.
“The Long Prairie Combined Fund has a greater mission to do good things for the community; it just happens that we’re doing this TNR project,” Delage said.
While most of their efforts have been at the trailer park, cats have also been rescued near the hospital and other parts south of town, Koska said.
“People call us from all over town,” Delage said.
The raffle is one step among others planned this year to reach the goal of keeping cats off the streets. In February, Project Long Prairie 100 plans to host a “microchip clinic” which will be another fundraiser. Cats can be brought in and given a microchip for identification purposes at a discounted price.
The big goal, Koska said, is to build up the funds to one day get a humane society in Long Prairie.
Already, since Delage started dreaming up the rescue efforts, people from all over the state have come alongside to offer help.
“We’ve had tons and tons of food and litter donated to us,” Delage said.
They started a Facebook page, where rescue organizations, especially from the Twin Cities, have started to follow them to support the efforts in Long Prairie.
“People started to deliver boxes and boxes of cat supplies,” Delage said.
“It was just people wanting to help.”