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This Week’s Creature Feature ... The Cat’s Meow

Rude Ranch Animal Rescue steps into the spotlight

With a nickname like The Best Little Cat House in Maryland, you might imagine that Rude Ranch earned its screen time on HBO. But Harwood’s unique no-kill shelter has won a prime spot on Animal Planet’s show Must Love Cats. The popular show features profiles of fascinating cats and the people who love them.
    How did Rude Ranch get a feature? Through happenstance and the power of the Internet.
    “We are friends with a pet blogger from Oregon,” explains Kathy Rude, co-owner of the shelter. “She was featured on the show because she taught her cats to swim. She mentioned our shelter since we do education outreach and work with special-needs cats.”
    The segment spotlights Rude Ranch’s unique facility, which finds adoptive homes for rescued cats and provides a rehabilitation center and shelter for feral cats. No animal is turned away, and no animal is killed. The crew of Must Love cats spent nine-hours touring the facility.
    One cat in particular, Tommy Tomcat, was bitten by the TV bug.
    “We have a cat come out to greet people,” says Rude. “Tommy Tomcat got it right the first time, but it took the crew five takes to capture his greeting.” It’s always good to work with professionals.
    You’ll meet Kathy and Bob Rude and learn about their mission to rescue any animal that comes their way. Find out about the sanctuary’s different ways of helping cats, including the sale of artwork created by the feline residents.
    “We weren’t entirely original with the animal art,” says Rude. “We saw an elephant sanctuary that did that, so we squirted some different colors of paint on paper and let the animals go to it.”
    So far, dogs have been more artistically inclined than cats, but the Rudes have discovered that using a laser pointer on the canvas inspires their kitty Picassos.
    “We’ll have more artwork available soon, but we’re waiting for the weather to warm up so baths are easier,” Rude says.
    During the segment, the Rudes also offer tips on taking care of older and special-needs animals.
    If you’re looking for a companion to watch with, visit Rude Ranch representatives Saturday at Pet Valu in Edgewater, where you can adopt a pre-owned cat (11am-1pm; $50/feline). These older cats have lost their homes and are ready for a new loving abode.
    As for their hopes with their newfound fame, Kathy Rude is keeping it simple: “We hope people come out to adopt some of our cats,” she says. “And we hope we don’t look too fat on camera.”
    See Rude Ranch’s segment April 14 at 8pm on Animal Planet. Find Rude Ranch at