The Purrfect Sanctuary in Lanai

cat daydreaming

A little daydreaming never hurt anyone!

We use the expression “herding cats” to refer to refers to an attempt to control or organize a group which is uncontrollable or chaotic.  It depicts something difficult, challenging, and nearly impossible.  However on the island of Lana’i “herding cats” is common place – and the volunteers of Lana’i Animal Rescue Center (LARC) make it look simple.

Lana’i is unique in many ways – and LARC is yet another way to celebrate the uniqueness of this small island.  I took my allergy meds, drove out past the airport, put on some plastic gloves (to also help with my cat allergy), turned and looked at the gate to LARC.  There they were – a complete welcoming committee of kitties brushing up against the fence purring just waiting for me to step inside their sanctuary to cuddle.  I’ve never felt so loved as I did that morning as the cats followed me from area to area as if I were the pied piper.

Co-founder Kathy Carroll led Michaela (fellow cat lover!) and me through the shelter and explained the history.  The sanctuary was opened in October 2009 and currently is home to 380 cats. It was created in an effort to control the growing cat population on Lana’i. A spay/neuter program was started to reduce future cat over-population, with over 1000 cats going through the program on Lana’i. In cases where the cats cannot be returned to their original location (due to endangered bird populations or other concerns), they are moved to the Sanctuary to live out a pretty posh existence.

The sanctuary has everything a cat would ever dream of! Spacious cubicles for sleeping,a catfurteria,  “pallet palaces” for hiding, and large 8-foot long irrigation pipes for hiding in or chasing each other through and kitty-climbing jungle gyms.  The enclosure also boasts long grasses for catching zzzzz’s under and trees for climbing (sadly there are no firemen though).

Volunteering – Something for Everyone

As a tourist or visitor on Lana’i you can visit the sanctuary and play with the cats, as well as volunteer and help out at the sanctuary. And if you fall in love with one you can even adopt! For locals, there is a strong group of cat lovers who volunteer and keep LARC going day to day and manage donations and improvements to the sanctuary.

My morning spent with the kitties of Lana’i was a real treat. It made me miss my kitty who I had to give away to a new home in order to travel. So this little morning dose of kitty love was a great way to start my day.

A few pics for the cat lovers out there….purrrrrrrrr…..

stare down

A bit of a stare down from this cutie

cats are way better than barbies and unicorns

Cats are way better then Barbies and unicorns!

cat close up

Up close and personal

who says cats don't like trees

Who says cats don’t like trees?

colorful coats

Colorful coats

shy kitty

This little shy kitty won my heart – but it would never allow me to get close enough to pour out my heart.

It can leap buildings in a single bound

It can leap buildings in a single bound! No cape needed!

Hold that pose

Hold that pose!

Cat playground at LARC

A kitty playground as part of the facilities of LARC

watching her figure

Watching her figure…

me enjoying my new friends

Me enjoying my new friends!

LARC volnteers

The cat herders!  Volunteers and workers of LARC…they loooovvveee their job!

More Information:

LARC website:  www.lanaianimalrescue.org/tandemserver/

Info on uncontrolled breeding and donations to LARC:

Did you know that in Hawai`i, a female cat can have FOUR litters of kittens per year?  and…

Did you know that TWOuncontrolled breeding cats, plus all their offspring can add up to the following statistics?
1st Year……..…12
2nd Year………66
3rd Year…..…382
4th Year……2,201
5th Year…..12,680

If you would like to make a donation to help prevent over-population
You may mail your check to the following address:
Lāna`i Animal Rescue Center
Post Office Box 63-1577
Lāna`i City, HI 96763-1577
Telephone:  (808) 215-9066

Visit Lana'i

Disclosure: I was a guest of Visit Lana’i as a part of their New Media Artist in Residence Program.   All views expressed here are my own honest opinions and do not reflect the views of Visit Lana’i.

Your Comments

16 Comments so far

  1. Laura says:

    Adorable cats! And what a unique experience while in Hawaii.

  2. Laurence says:

    They look like some seriously happy kitties :D

  3. Wynne says:

    What a wonderful way to spend some quality vacation time! I hope to do the same in Rome’s cat rescue shelter next year.

  4. This is a wonderful post (as I am a cat lover myself). Such a cool place to see and for a good cause too!

  5. Those are some gorgeous looking kitties :)

  6. Seriously?! Cats and Lanai’i. Did you consider that this may just be too much good stuff for one post?

  7. Mark H says:

    While I am not a huge fan of cats, I greatly admire any effort towards animal rescue and shelter. And the cats do look adorable…

  8. AHHHHH!!!! THE CUTENESS! Bet you $5 that this post will go viral. How can it not with a combo of luscious photos, paradise location, and kitties???

  9. Amanda says:

    Absolutely beautifully written! Thank you for spending time with our Lanaian Lions, it was great meeting you and Michaela. Your pictures capture LARC so well, especially love the one of the leaping cat! Oh, and Cats are much better than unicorns!!

  10. Christina says:

    This is such a good idea! We saw way too many strays throughout Europe, it made me so sad. Every city should have this!

  11. Turtle says:

    Soooo adorable! Can I adopt them all??? :)

  12. Deb says:

    Aw, I loved our visit there. I think it was one of the highlights of our time in Lanai and everyone should go and hang with the kitties. Great cause!

  13. Christy says:

    So adorable! I love learning about places like this.


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