Getting ready to cut the ribbon at the Paws and Claws grand opening on Saturday. Credit: Wendi Kromash

Paws and Claws Cat Rescue finally opened its doors on Saturday, May 13, at 829 Chicago Ave. Although the organization is nearly three years old, until now all the felines it rescues have been cared for in volunteers’ homes before the cats get adopted.

The Hansen family – mom, Anne, with children Lauren, 9, and Grace, 14 – stopped by because they are big fans of Ashlynn Boyce, the organization’s executive director and founder.

Paws and Claws founder Ashlynn Boyce (second from right) and Northwestern volunteers attend the adoption center’s grand opening. Credit: Wendi Kromash

Soon after Boyce founded Paws and Claws in 2020, the Hansens adopted their most recent cat, Ellie, a 4-month-old female. 

Their story is typical: a beloved cat, Blackie, died suddenly. They were heartbroken. Blackie’s sibling and buddy, Bobo, was also missing his playmate.

A few weeks went by and someone in the family saw Ellie’s photo on Facebook. It was love at first sight. She was being fostered and would be ready for adoption soon. But then Ellie got sick and the foster family was going out of town for the weekend – could they take her earlier? They hesitated because of Bobo.

From left: Anne, Lauren and Grace Hansen at the Paws and Claws grand opening. Credit: Wendi Kromash

Boyce intervened and nursed Ellie back to health. A week later, the Hansens adopted Ellie, healthy and ready for her forever home.

Two extremely cute candidates for adoption. Credit: Wendi Kromash

Anne Hansen said of Boyce, “She steps up to the plate every time.”

For the Huflen family, it’s a group effort. Parents Yani and Peter Huflen and their daughter, Nadia, are “foster-only” volunteers for Paws and Claws.

Peter Huflen agreed to his family’s volunteer effort despite being allergic to cats. He takes medicine to control his allergies and on Saturday was enthusiastic about the cats they are helping, just as Yani and Nadia were.

For the past three years, they have taken in groups of kittens and cats for about four months at a time. These groups of cats, anywhere from three to eight at a time, are sometimes as young as 5 weeks old.

The Huflen Family – Yani (left), Nadia (center) and Peter – attend Saturday’s Paws and Claws celebration. That’s Brennan Rieman (aka, The Kona Guy) in the truck behind them. Credit: Wendi Kromash

The Huflens have fostered about eight groups so far. Nadia Huflen said they like fostering because they travel a lot, and fostering gives them flexibility. 

For the first few weeks, Paws and Claws’ new adoption center will be open by appointment only. Boyce said in an email that the hours will change in a couple of weeks and will be reflected on the website.

Wendi Kromash is curious about everything and will write about anything. She tends to focus on one-on-one interviews with community leaders, recaps and reviews of cultural events, feature stories about...

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  1. Thank you, Ms. Kromash, for this lovely story… it “made my day”…!!!

    I will gladly make a donation so that their good work may continue to thrive…

    Gregory Morrow – Evanston 4th resident