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 Cat Sanctuary make it look simple.
Lanai Cat Sanctuary
On an island with no veterinarian, or shelter, passionate volunteers were able to start an incredible cat sanctuary for the little Island of Lanai. In the last few years, the sanctuary has expanded its family of cats. It rescues cats from protected areas where native and endangered ground-nesting birds such as the ‘Ua’u, the Hawaiian Petrel. The Sanctuary has brought in more than 600 cats since 2015. In 2018, 200 cats were rescued.
Lana’i is unique in many ways – and the Cat Sanctuary is yet another way to celebrate the uniqueness of this small island.
Visit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary
Beleieve it or not, but the Cat Sanctuary is a tourist attraction on the island of Lanai – one that shouldn’t be missed! You know I love cats and spend a lot of time volunteering at mt y local shelter with kittens. Of course I would be stopping at the sanctuary!
In order to visit the cats you’ll need to make an appointment. Visiting is important though because the nonprofit gets a majority of its funding through visitors to the 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 entrance to the sanctuary.
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 with a pocket full of treats.
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, 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.
A Paradise for Cats
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 the sanctuary 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 purrfect way to start my day on Lanai.
Cat Facts on Breeding – Do the Math
Did you know that in Hawai`i, a female cat can have FOUR litters of kittens per year? and…
Did you know that TWO uncontrolled breeding cats, plus all their offspring can add up to the following statistics?
How to Donate to the Cat Sanctuary and 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
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.