Lanai Cat Sanctuary

NEWS Did you Know Hawaii Magazine Reports Lanai Cat Sanctuary Most Popular Lanai Attraction?

The following summary about the Lāna‘i Cat Sanctuary is based on an article from Hawaii Magazine that was originally published in their Fall 2023 issue and online on January 15, 2024. The article chronicles how one woman’s act of compassion sparked a thriving island-wide rescue operation. Hawaii Magazine’s journalist Kevin Allen took an in-depth look at the sanctuary’s grassroots beginnings and evolution into one of Lāna‘i’s most popular attractions. Most impactfully, the article shows how the sanctuary not only gives hundreds of stray cats a better life, but also brings together residents and visitors who actively participate in this heartwarming cause.

The Lāna‘i Cat Sanctuary has become one of the most popular attractions on the Hawaiian island of Lāna‘i, which is known for its laidback vibe evidenced by coffee shops sometimes opening and closing at their leisure. Yet this quaint sanctuary has a serious mission – controlling the island’s stray cat population. 

Kathy Carroll moved to Lāna‘i with her husband in 2000.  The odyssey began four years later in 2004 after Kathy Carroll rescued a stray kitten and finding no animal shelters or veterinary services on the island, Carroll made it her mission to create a sanctuary. She convinced the Four Seasons Resort to lend her a horse stable to convert into makeshift housing using deer netting.

In 2009, the sanctuary moved to a more permanent location with running water. With the help of volunteers and donations, Carroll was able to develop basic facilities. The operation expanded in 2014 when Keoni Vaughn came on board as executive director, lending management expertise gained from serving as vice president of the Hawaiian Humane Society shelter on Oahu. 

Vaughn has focused on boosting revenue to fund the $1.2 million yearly operating budget. Popular initiatives include an on-site gift shop, cat sponsorship programs, and adoptions.  

Today the sanctuary houses 665 cats on two sites designed to give them ample room to roam. Joe Adarna, who joined as a sanctuary manager in 2019, notes that they receive 150 to 200 stray cats each year.

Visitors can volunteer by interacting with the cats, which have varying levels of sociability, from attention-seeking greeters to shy hideaways needing coaxing. Helping socialize cats makes them more adoptable, which is essential to avoid overcrowding. With continued community support and responsible intake, the sanctuary hopes to keep cat numbers stable rather than continually expanding.

Ultimately, the Lāna‘i Cat Sanctuary seeks not only to provide shelter but also to find loving homes for its feline residents. Adarna expresses satisfaction when the number of cats remain steady or decrease, as this reduces the need for continual expansion. Even for those cats that may never find adoptive homes, the sanctuary strives to ensure they lead contented lives, basking in the warm sunlight on this small Hawaiian island.

Would you like to visit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary? Check out the available itineraries HERE.  To learn more about the Lanai Cat Sanctuary (LCS) and to Donate go HERE. You can read the original Hawaii Magazine article HERE.

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