From Abandoned in Storm to Loving Sanctuary

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SAMSUNGFerguson was lost and alone when he was rescued by a kind lady, who found him lying in a snow bank, unable to get up or walk. It had been a bitterly cold day!  The lady took Ferguson to the local humane society and he went immediately to the veterinary clinic where they gave him some intensive care and examined him.  It was determined that, not only was he a rather senior kitty, but that he had an enlarged heart.

He was placed on two medications, given supportive care and then went back to the humane society where he simply sat in his cage, head down, never looking up

Julie (the person in charge of Ferguson) corresponded back and forth with Carmen Conklin, Director of C & W Rustic Hollow Shelter in Iowa, for several weeks about Ferguson.

Julie did not want to give up on Ferguson, but he was not responding and she thought he might be suffering and that euthanasia could be the best option for him since his life expectancy might not be long anyways.  It was an agonizing decision for her.

The veterinarian did not give up on Ferguson either. Ferguson went back to the vet and he encouraged Julie to continue to give him a chance to see if he would respond.

In one of the emails between Julie and Carmen, Carmen asked her if she had tried taking Ferguson out of his cage and into their office to see if he was more responsive, as he might just be depressed in the kennel.  When she tried this, Ferguson immediately showed some interest in life and leaned into her hand for petting.

Revived with hope for him, Julie corresponded again and Carmen told her to give it a try-network him as a special needs feline who needed a quiet home to live out his life. In their original correspondence, the possibility of Ferguson living at C & W Rustic Hollow had been discussed. Carmen had told Julie that she thought sanctuary living might not be right for Ferguson and might stress him out too much. Though they were experienced with kitties with heart conditions, Carmen just wasn’t sure that C & W was the answer for him.

Julie put Ferguson’s story and photo in the local newspaper. This is where the story gets a bit humorous and incredulous, perhaps.  Carmen was working on her computer on Friday and Wanda (co-founder of C & W) was reading the newspaper. All of a sudden, she exclaimed, “Oh, I want this kitty. Look at Ferguson’s story! He can live with us and I want him. Call them now.”SAMSUNG

Carmen started to laugh. Yes, she knew Ferguson-a lot about him, actually! But somehow, in thinking of him coming to the sanctuary, she failed to think about their own home, which is where many of the ageing, diabetic and hospice care kitties go. Carmen had never even mentioned Ferguson or the emails to Wanda!

So, the “tail” ends here. Ferguson is HOME now. Upon arrival, they set up an open kennel in Carmen’s office and he and Wanda immediately bonded. He responded to them, purring and loving to be petted. This is the happy ending that Julie and PAWS Humane Society wanted for Ferguson. It’s what Wanda wanted too. Ferguson is home.

However he came to be abandoned, laying half dead in a snow bank in very cold weather, no one will ever know. But what they do know is that Ferguson will live out whatever days or months he has with his heart condition with love and care.  At Rustic Hollow, it is not the quantity but the quality of life they have.  And Ferguson’s life is full of quality now. Thanks Julie, Pat and John for being there for Ferguson and for fighting for him to have a second chance-a chance to live out his life.


C & W Rustic Hollow Shelter is a no-kill shelter tucked away in a valley of northeast Iowa. The 350+ felines that call C & W their forever home have woods, creeks and plenty of wildlife to keep them occupied. Inside the six buildings and houses that the felines reside in, there are even TVs with Catsitter videos and cartoons to watch!  Outside, the cats enjoy screened “catios” and playrooms, full of other felines lounging in the sun.

C & W is home to cats deemed “adoption challenged” by other shelters or humane societies around Iowa and the US and also to special needs cats who may have chronic medical, physical, neurological or behavioral issues.

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