A Dream Place for Special Needs Rescue Cats, Rustic Hollow, Cage Free Sanctuary

This is one of the few sanctuaries in the U.S. to give Feline Leukemia and other ‘adoption challenged’ felines a ‘chance at a lifetime’. Its name is C & W Rustic Hollow Shelter located in Iowa, a non profit, cage-free sanctuary for special needs felines with disabilities, chronic medical conditions, those with Feline Leukemia or FIV, and felines displaced at the death of their guardian.

“Our goal is ‘happy cats.’ Their quality of life is our top priority along with care and feeding and keeping their houses clean. I attribute the happy contented cats to my wonderful staff who go above and beyond in caring for the furs,” said Carmen Conklin, the founder of C & W.

“Our caregiver employee team of 10 and several volunteers care for the over 350 felines and several very senior dogs that call C & W their forever home. We offer an ‘alternative to euthanasia’ as many of the felines that come to us are at the ‘end of their lives’ without a sanctuary to welcome them. Our sanctuary residents come from over 30 states and from all across Iowa,” said C & W.

These beautiful kitties with special needs live in actual homes where they are safe and have freedom to walk, sleep, play, look out windows and even go outside in special enclosed outdoor cat rooms. (C & W Facebook group)

Happy and content

cute rescue special needs cat at c & w rustic hollow shelter

Kitty Kottage-cats in their playroom loving the sunshine

cats with special needs happy

Keyko is the sweetest kitty ever. He lives in Sandy’s Kitty Haven building because it is peaceful and quiet with the fewest cats housed there. Keyko was born with Devon Rex Myopathy syndrome, a malady that affects his muscular system as well as his heart.  He stands up for his treats because he cannot lift his head because of the weakness of those muscles. However, he loves to climb up high where he can lay his head on the perch and look down on everyone. He loves people, petting and treats. And his roommate Maya. They are the best of pals.

keyko rescue cat with special needs at C & W rustic hollow shelter

Burnie arrived at C & W in 2003 after he had been deliberately burned in a burn barrel. The humane society that rescued him spent a lot of time and money into his recovery and healing. Then he would not use the litter box for them. Since C & W take in kitties when they have been unsuccessfully retrained to the litter box, and Burnie had such a wonderful personality, they asked C & W if they would take him in. Burnie d.Katt is now their spokespurrson and very content in his home in The Kat Barn at C & W.

cute Burnie survivor cat c & w rustic hollow shelter

Barkley daydreaming on his favorite comfy couch

cute Barkley daydreams special needs cat at C & W

Soooo much work to do. Soooo little time…. Tiger Man sooooo tired

cute tiger man sniffing shoe at C & W special needs cat

Whitey is one of their long time residents of the S.A.F.E. room (Save a FeLV From Euthanasia) in The Kat Barn. Their Feline Leukemia residents have their own area in The Kat Barn and they have their own patio door and outside screened in catio playroom. Whitey spends a LOT of time out there. Feline Leukemia cats ‘can’ live long lives. C & W assume Whitey is simply a ‘carrier’ and will not become symptomatic for years. He still needs to live separately from other cats at the shelter. He has many roommates and Whitey is over ten years old. He joins T.J., Carver & several others who have lived past 5 years into ages 7-10. Whitey also goes to the nursing home with the staff as he is the biggest of kitties, but also has the biggest and gentlest personality.

Whitey cute special needs cat at C & W

Marbles doing her “pretty paws.” She sits up and makes those paws go up and down so fast… really cute.

cute Marbles special needs cat at C & W

Big Al hails from New Mexico. He is an FIV kitty (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and in spite of the fact he missed his first flight via plane because he escaped his carrier, panicked and jumped out of the car when the door opened near the airport. Fifteen miles and two weeks later, Big Al found his way to a kind person who took him to the vet and discovered he had FIV. She called her friend in rescue (15 miles from her) and sent her a picture. Sure enough, it was BIG AL. He did NOT miss the second flight and arrived ready to be a couch potato. And he is.

cute big al puts his paws up special needs cat

Kat Barn buds at C & W Rustic Hollow Shelter

cute special needs cat snuggling headbutts

The Pink Room kittens-our Feline Leukemia Kitten rooms.

cute special needs cats getting sun beams

Love Meow is happy to contribute to C & W Rustic Hollow Shelter through our Save Meow Project. Other rescue groups we featured in the past.

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17 Responses to “A Dream Place for Special Needs Rescue Cats, Rustic Hollow, Cage Free Sanctuary”

  1. Preston says:

    I’d like to burn the person that hurt Burnie.. damn people.. some are just plain evil and should face significant jail time for that. These monsters are but one tiny step from hurting humans. Dirt bags. Sorry it just causes me great anger to hurt a defenseless anima. Other wise so happy to hear that these precious kitties get to live a full rich life and that someone finds value in their lives. God bless you.

    • thanks for the kind words Preston. And I wish they had caught the person who burned Burnie too. We have a sweet sweet kitty named Ted and someone threw a chemical in his face and he is still recovering at C & W. He can see, but is very light senstive, but loves everyone. So does Burnie. Cats are so forgiving.

      • Sunya says:


        I empathize with your anger. There was a sweet kitten who was burned for “fun” (for “fun”–just the thought of it gets my blood boiling…) by two teenage girls a few years ago in my area. Luckily, the girls were caught, and the kitten survived the ordeal and became a well-loved, well-loving pet.

        I can’t imagine how anyone could perform such despicable acts as hurting animals who can’t speak up or defend themselves, but we’re lucky that not all people are like that (as seen in the compassionate stories and comments here at lovemeow), and many will make an effort to help and care for hurt animals until they are capable of trusting and opening up to humans.

        I definitely salute C&W’s caring efforts in giving these special needs cats the time and care they deserve, and am so glad that these cats are able to recover in a loving environment! Keep up the good work–it’s very inspiring!

  2. Elise Troudet says:

    this place is just wonderful. thank you for hte kitties !

  3. Audrey says:

    What a wonderful place. It’s so great to know these cats are being taken care of. Bless all you wonderful people. I wish there were more places like this.

  4. Robin says:

    What an amazing place. Thank you for posting information about this sanctuary.

  5. Anne says:

    C&W is a very wonderful place … I have been there and will go again, as it is within an hour of where I live. They really know and love their kitties!

  6. Thank you to LOVE MEOW for posting a story about our sanctuary. It is purrfectly appurciated.

  7. LeoMoon says:

    Thank goodness for these places.

  8. yornma says:

    Saw this article and bless the people who are involved for the care of these wonderful animals. <3 You are all wonderful people and thank you so much for making the lives of these animals so much better. It's great to see a place where all cats are accepted. I wish this concept would spread across the country.

  9. Laura says:

    Like I’ve said on here before… There is a special place in HELL for those scum-bags that hurt these beautiful animals… how can a human being put a cat in a burn barrel and set it on fire :'( I just don’t get it. I am so very grateful for those Special, Wonderful people who run this Amazing Shelter. And I know there is a special corner in HEAVEN for you!

  10. Anna says:

    So reassuring to hear that amazing places like this exist.

  11. kaytee says:

    What a wonderful place, so glad these kitties found it!

  12. KellyAnne says:

    Amazing mission. Please keep up the good (and important!) work!

  13. pumbie says:

    Wonderful and priceless labor. FRIENDS OF ALL OVER THE WORLD: here, in my city: Vigo (Spain), we are having now a big, big, problem: some politicians want to close the cat shelter (the only one in the area) and carry out euthanasia on many of them. We need support to stop this savagery. You can consult “proyectogato.org”. There you have a link, for ex. in Facebook, to sign in support of our petition.

  14. Denise says:

    thank you for having a place like this and all your hard work at making it possible for these cats to have a good life.

  15. Iffat says:

    Holy meows! So many wonderful kitties & so many interesting stories. Glad I learned of your shelter & will make a donation soon.

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