Are you a cat lover? If your answer is yes, you should include the Lanai Cat Sanctuary on your bucket list. The sanctuary, located on a 25,000 square feet piece of land in the remote island of Lanai in Hawaii, is home to over 500 furry felines that were rescued from being hunted and killed by residents due to their overpopulation.
The kitty paradise was established in 2009 as a measure to control the island's cat population after it has gone out of control and has become a problem to Lanai's 3,000 or so human residents. The furry creatures were descendants of the first cats brought to the islands more than a century ago on whaling boats.
To deal with the nuisance problem and control their population, a volunteer program was launched to catch the feral felines, neuter them, and release them back to the wild. However, it was discovered that the cats were also preying on the native ‘Ua’u birds. Hence, a shelter was created to rescue the island’s cats and protect its birds at the same time.
While not as luxurious as the nearby Four Seasons resort, this "Fur Seasons" provides the resident cats a rustic environment where they can run around, play with each other, climb trees and enjoy the eternally sunny haven. To provide shelter, there are cat houses made from repurposed pallets or deconstructed garage doors and wooden climbing structures as well as tree perches to allow a bird’s eye view. There is also a "catfurteria" where the cats have free access to healthy food similar to what can be found at websites similar to Kneadcat.com and fresh water.
The Lanai Cat Sanctuary is open to the public all 365 days of the year, from 10 am to 3 pm. Visitors can observe the feline residents or interact with them. The feline residents range from adorable adolescents to snuggly seniors and each one has its own personality. The cats are also available for adoption.
Admission to the sanctuary is completely free of charge. Visitors are however encouraged to leave a donation to help maintain the sanctuary and provide for the cat's needs including cat food, medicines, and veterinary service.
How to get there:
The Lanai Cat Sanctuary can be accessed from a couple dirt roads near the Lanai airport. After passing the airport, take the second dirt road on the left. There should be a rock denoting a highway labeled "Kaunolu." Turn left and look for a gate on the right.
For more information about the cat sanctuary, visit www.lanaicatsanctuary.org.