PurrEver Ranch, Sanctuary for Senior, Special Needs Cat

Rita Wood (founder of PurrEver Ranch) & Puddy Tat

PurrEver Ranch opened its cat doors in June 2004 when Rita Wood realized that even though there are numerous animal rescue groups in her area, none of them focused on the homeless, senior or special needs felines. She founded PurrEver Ranch, a non-profit hospice for senior and special needs cats with disease or behavior issues.

Here is the story of how PurrEver Ranch got started – the Importance of Being Special:

In May of 2004, I (Rita) dropped by the shelter to put some aloe vera on some of the sick kitties noses in isolation. I was informed it would be a sad day & that euthanizations would take place. At first I tried to accept the fact that CAS was a kill shelter. I tried to convince myself I had several rescued cats that I was caring for & simply could not afford to take any more in.


I asked if I could feed some tuna to the kitty cat for her last meal & was given permission to do so. As I opened the can, the cat began talking to me. Mewing up a storm. She didn’t have to open her mouth though, I heard every word she said. I refused to look at her. It was then that the cat began waving her paw at me to get my attention—I swear–she waved her right paw up & down. I hesitantly looked into her eyes & heard her scream, “HELP ME!” With tears in my eyes, I opened her cage, picked her up & felt the terror running thru her body. I held her tight & whispered softly, “you’re coming home with me, Special.” I renamed her Special because that is what she is.

It was at that moment that PurrEver Ranch, the cat sanctuary, I’ve been dreaming of for years became a reality. I’d tell you I’ve been rescuing cats all my life, but truth be known—they’ve been rescuing me. (Check out their Facebook page)

senior cat


Save Meow Project:

Through my Save Meow Commentathon project (for each comment you make, I personally donate 5 cents from my own pocket), I have raised $200. It’s not a lot, but I am hoping to take this opportunity to raise awareness of animal rescue. I asked Brian, one of our most frequent visitors to nominate three rescue groups of his choice. One of them was PurrEver Ranch.

It turned out that PurrEver Ranch is in dire need of permanent housing. I decided to send them the donation and am glad that I could help even though it was only a small fraction of what they need.

"Puff. Yes, he WAS that sweet. Gift from the heavens. How anyone could trade him in for a man is beyond me. Of course the boyfriend was gone months later & she wanted cat back. No way, Jose. You took him to a kill shelter. Puff left this earth knowing he was loved, WANTED and full of kisses. Puff the magic kitty. Lived at PurrEver. And in the land of pussycats, Puff was one of the BEST! miss you puffers. miss you so much." - Rita

Other Challenges that PurrEver Ranch is facing:

“We also have close to 20 kittens from several different litters ranging from infants to teenagers. We are not set up for adoptions as we are a hospice and do not receive the spay/neuter grants that most rescue orgs get. Hospices aren’t elligible for grants. Nobody wants to help the unwanted, the old, the sick – the “unadoptable”. Even companies don’t donate product like food and cat litter coz it can’t be sampled.

A local pet store Hollywood Feed in Oakland TN has offered me a place to have adoption events. But vetting nearly 20 kittens is going to be a huge financial challenge. But somebody has to take care of them. There is no animal shelter in Fayette Co, TN and PurrEver is the only cat rescue.”

cute calico kitten

"Puddy Tat! This little girl is quite mystical. When my Sinatra died, for a week following his passing, she did things only he did. Slept where only he slept. When I would cry, would mew & softly paw at my face. When I was worn out with lonliness, she would softly crawl on my chest like sinatra & purr her reassurances. Just like he used to do. There is a song by Diamond Rio, "I Believe" and I do. I believe. You can listen to it on our Pawprints page." - Rita

cute senior cat

"Monte, rescued Katrina kitty. Still looking for his humans but think he might be best having his own home. his own humans. not a packcat. spoiled boy. lover boy." - Rita

cute playful calico kitten playing

Kitty kitty bang bang

cute senior cats snuggling

Figero & Clara Cara

cute rescued bengal cat

"Ace - Male Bengal rescued from a horrid breeder who kept him, his wives & children in a windowless storage room. Now he lives like the leopard he soars to be. Just had to share this cool picture." - Rita

cute rescued cat

cute rescued senior cats

PurrEver Ranch - Hospice for senior cats

cute ginger senior cat at cat hospice

Charlie "Does this make my butt look big?"

cute rescued senior cats

cute rescued white cat

"Isabella came to us from a kill shelter. The Director called me & told me they had a 5 mos deaf kitten that hadn't been properly socialized & was biting & attacking everyone. I picked Isabella up & took her back to PurrEver. A few months here, she was still biting & really creating havoc. Who knew a deaf kitten could scream so loud?! One night in the kitchen as I was feeding the herd wet food, she went on a tangent nearly stroking several of the geezers out. I said jokingly said very sternly (to a deaf cat), "Now you listen here young lady, you either shape up or you're shipping out." It was a hot summer nite & I was wearing shorts when I felt soft paws on my thighs. I looked down & it was Isabella reaching up & for lack of better words, holding me. She pressed her little head against my leg & as I felt her soft wet nose against my leg, tears sprung from my eyes from the sheer tenderness of it all. She held me for several seconds... I scooped her up (she is not a cat that cottons to being held) & said, "you're not going anywhere, sweet babygirl." She rewarded me with a quick swat across the face and a deep mrrrrroooooowwww. Cuddle time was over. That was a few years ago & Isabella is still here. She still trys to stir things up and has the grace of a goat. But she makes me laugh with her silliness and she holds my heart when she is still. I sometimes wake at night to find her sleeping on my chest." - Rita

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56 Responses to “PurrEver Ranch, Sanctuary for Senior, Special Needs Cat”

  1. siku marie says:

    What a wonderful mission! I see so much money wasted every day on greed and corrupt practices and I wish that those $$$ could just be channeled into ideas like this which offer so much to making the world better.

  2. Leslie says:

    Thank you, I wish there were more people like you. I would love to do the same. Regarding the "woman" who gave her cat away for a man, any man that doesn't like cats, give him/her away instead. All of the cat's pictures are beautiful.

    • Caroline says:

      Amen to that! Any man who doesn't like cats… STAY FAR AWAY! I "converted" my fiance into the biggest cat lover on the planet. Well, it didn't take much convincing / converting to do :) I mean who can't fall in love with a furry face and whiskers?

  3. flow says:

    Rita, you're a SAINT!!!

  4. Dee says:

    GBU for being an angel for the seniors cat! Keep up the good work!

  5. Anonymous says:

    You are a SaintFrancis Angel – and you are in TENNESSEE – hurrah!!! I will share this story with my friends there!

  6. Jamie A. says:

    What a wonderful organization! I have a special place in my heart for senior kitties (my "daughter" being one!) and I can't thank you enough for being such a wonderful angel on this Earth! God bless you!

  7. Brian says:

    Rita really is an angel on earth and the things she does for the kitties makes my heart purr with love.

  8. Linda says:

    What a wonderful place for those kitties in such need! God Bless you for the work you do, and the love you so freely give!

    Loved all the pictures and especially the picture and story of Puff The Magic Cat!!

    I agree with Leslie and others of like mind, who say if the boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't like cats..maybe you should think long and hard about a relationship!

    Oh and the story of Puddy Tat! How unbelievably touching!!

    You truly are an angel of God!!

  9. Chris says:

    You are my idol! You're pursuing a dream of mine. I thank God for wonderful people like you!

  10. Christy says:

    Thank you for all you do for the kitties! I know they love you and appreciate your help. I liked your photos and wish you much success with your shelter mission.

  11. Janie Jones says:

    I'm so glad organizations like this exist. Thank you :)

  12. Fisher says:

    The kitties look so happy and loved. You are a huge success at fulfilling your dreams and theirs. Wishing you the very best!

  13. JaneA says:

    Rita is doing wonderful work at PurrEver, and I hope she will be able to find a wonderful furr-ever home for her facility. I too have a dream of opening a hospice/sanctuary for special-needs cats, and Rita is a real inspiration.

  14. Lori Flemming says:

    Rita, you are just such a wonderful purrson. I truely wish there were more people in the world like you.. Bless you !

  15. Bali Suut says:

    On behalf of all the cats in the world, thank you Rita, I salute you.

  16. Penny says:

    Very touching stories. Wonderful work you have chosen to do in this world, to make life gentle for the souls that come your way. Thank you for letting your heart lead the way. It's a lesson to us all.

  17. octopuss says:

    This brought tears to my eyes, it really did, I'm so moved. Definitely a sanctuary for SaveMeow to donate to, and good luck, PurrEver Ranch!!

  18. kermujones says:

    God Bless you and your work

  19. Ria says:

    Those cats are just so precious. Performing euthanasia on them for non life-threatening disabilities are just inhumane. Thank you for opening the PurrEver Ranch, Rita

  20. Debby says:

    Those kitties are so lucky to have someone to turn to Rita, and you are so blessed for doing it. Thank you so much for being so loving.

  21. Nancy B. says:

    How wonderful to see such happy kitties! It's a great thing that you are doing. Keep up the good work!

  22. Rita is my idol, she is such a special person and I thank God that there is someone like her in this world. Keep up the good work Rita! The cats of the world salute you. xxx

  23. Lisa says:

    Absolutely wonderful and so moving. You are an angel.

  24. Lori says:

    what a beautiful story and it just warmed my heart so to know someone out there cares that much. Keep up the great work and I wish I lived near there to help out. Thank God and may he bless you for all that you do for the kitties

  25. Caroline says:

    Definitely never trade a man, woman, or anyone/anything for a cat…It's a bad trade! Cats are more than worth their weight in gold. People should be ashamed of themselves thinking that their furry family members are disposable like that. I'm sure glad that woman didn't get the cat she so callously left for a man back.

    I'm so glad there are good people like Rita and Purrever Ranch out there!

    All 7 of my indoor kitties are rescue/shelter cats. I wish I could take in more of them, but I don't want to stress them out. Besides, my bed is getting pretty crowded at night when 5 of them sleep with me, and I have a king-sized bed! LOL

    Keep up the great work, all rescuers…Please!

  26. Carmen says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do!! Your cats are beautiful. I've got a rescue cat & dog, if I could I'd have more, but living in an apartment sort of limits you.

  27. Coribee says:

    Does it count if I keep commenting? ;____; This teenager needs to find herself a job and donate money to people like this. It'd be worth it if all I had to eat was kraft mac n'cheese and bread.

  28. caroline says:

    you have truly touched my heart. love to you.

  29. Gabriella says:

    May you be richly blessed for the work you do. It's people like you that make me feel there is still some hope for humankind yet.

  30. persa says:

    Dear Rite (and friends),

    it's wonderful to know that angels do walk on earth sometimes… thank you for reminding me..

  31. Mary says:

    Wonderful story! God bless Rita and all the animal friends in this world.

  32. Lynn says:

    Rita thank you so much for bringing LOVE into these little darling's world … you've created 'heaven on earth' and are an angel for the love-worn and neglected … thank you for saving these babies … I hope someday all animals will know the warmth and kindness of a loving home <3

  33. Sarah R says:

    God Blees You Rita and all you do for these kitties!!! I adopted an older cat who was at a sanctuary for 8 months because she was overlooked because of her age, not me She is the best cat ever and the most beautiful! My husband isn't much of a cat person but he has taken a liking to her :) I got tears reading your story, you are a saint!! I volunteer at Orphan Animal Rescue and Sanctuary in Neenah,WI and LOVE every minute of it!! Love seeing the cats and kittens go to their furever homes, brings a smile to my face and in my heart!

  34. Sarah R says:

    BTW I LOVE the picture of Puddy Cat!!! Absolutely gorgeous face and beautiful mesmerising eyes!

  35. Anna says:

    it was always my dream to create such place – I'm impressed!

  36. Sue says:

    You have earned your place in heaven. In the company of every kitty you ever rescued.

  37. Angel says:

    Thank you so much for taking care of these precious babies! I thank God for people like you that can make such a difference in animals lives!

  38. Eva says:

    Thank you Rita, you're the saviour.Don't worry, God bless your mission always. I'm sure the cats will always live in sufficient.

  39. Dyana says:

    Isabella very cute!! >_<

  40. jmuhj says:

    Longtime admirer of PurrEver and Ms. Rita, and contributor when I can be. Thank you, LoveMeow.com, for the great idea of commenting for cats — and we again send out our prayers that the perfect place for PurrEver Ranch materializes VERY soon. <3

  41. Eugenia Bambas says:

    I need your assistance or suggestions. I rescued a family of homeless cats. I've been able to domesticate all of them but two. One of the female kittens is only partially tame and the momma kitty just will not tame. I have kept them inside ever since I got them but it's not fair to them to live out their lives in hiding in my house. I need to find a safe refuge for at least the momma, so she can live a safe but more normal life – a refuge that will look after her. She has been spayed and given her shots.

  42. Sylvia says:

    How selfless an act to open a sanctuary for senior special needs cats!

  43. Augusto says:

    i love it, thanks for taking care of the kitties /cry

  44. Anonymous says:

    Kudos to you!

  45. rose says:

    I love that someone has a big heart for cats..

    I love my cats (6 of them) like they were my kids……

    this is so awesome what you are doing..thanks

  46. Joan Gilbert says:

    So glad you could help these kitties.. They look wonderful and healthy now.

  47. sharon stringer says:

    What an amazing place,truly heartwarming i love my cat like a baby and have always adored them,i hope the purrranch gets lots of support keep up all your wonderful work.

  48. Sandy Kalister says:

    Wow, you are truly inspiring me to expand my small rescue of 'throw-away' cats in Oregon. "Thank you" is an understatement! I have not heard if you were able to relocate?

  49. E. Salazar says:

    Some cents for this wonderful project

  50. LeAnn says:

    I have been donating to PurrEver Snctuary for awhile. I can't say enough about Rita. Met her on facebook, and you can just feel the love shine thru. The patience and kindness in her is immeasurable. May God bless her and keep her healthy, safe and loved. For she has touched so many furry and not. I thank you, Rita. For all that you do, and all the love you give. xo

  51. Nancy Chismar says:

    Lovely work…yes, a few more cents.

  52. Nancy Chismar says:

    Special needy and seniors would be a waste of time for some humans and the loves of our lives for others…

  53. Mechelle says:

    Rita has more strength and compassion that anyone I’ve ever met. She sacrifices so much so these beautiful babies have what they need. While my hubs and I have 4 furbabies (all rescues) ranging from 2 years to 12 years old, I also donate monthly to help Rita take care of the Kittizens at Purrever. Hoping for a miracle so she can get the permanent housing she and the herd heeds.

  54. Joanna says:

    Rita, You are so right. No one seems to want an old cat, especially if it has health problems. A friend and I are currently trying to rescue two seniors from a kill shelter. May God Bless you for showing mercy and compassion to these unwanted kitties. I wish I lived closer so I could come and help you. I’ll just have to donate instead! Thank you for all you are doing to help these kitties!

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