Crazed cat fans all over the land, this post is most definitely for you!
And may have you booking a flight out this way before you realize what hit you. So proceed with caution…
This past round when I visited Maui, I decided to take in Lana’i for a 3 night visit, all because of Lanai Cat Sanctuary, housing only 800 cats… GOODNESS.
The first day I landed in Lanai, I was about to combust. Glancing at the time, I knew full well the Cat Sanctuary was about to close, so I reserved the ENTIRE next day to do it right.
I ran over to Richard’s Groceries across the street from my lovely plantation hotel stay, and grabbed some cat treats and packed a cooler full of lunch along with a towel to sit on.
Would they even allow a crazy cat lady to stay the full day? I called ahead, and not only was it ok, they encouraged it!
I was pretty sure this was gonna be the BEST DAY OF MY ENTIRE LIFE.
So next AM after breakfast, I summoned the shuttle service, and got picked up in minutes.
Well, you’d think I was a kid on Christmas morning because once I saw that front door, I was just beside myself!
How to get there
The Lanai Cat Sanctuary is situated on the quaint one-town island of Lanai in Hawaii.
It is easily accessed from Lahaina’s harbour in Maui. It’s a quick 45 minute ferry ride ($30 each way, reserved prior) and then you can take a shuttle from harbour to sanctuary for $10 (one way).
Learn how in THIS POST HERE.
The trip could easily be done as a day trip, or like me, stay a night or three to take the island in! I’m really glad I stayed longer. It’s a lovely island with some beautiful sights I’ll show in in Part 3 shortly.
How to help
The sanctuary is now the #1 draw for visitors to Lanai these days, and they welcome anyone that wishes to visit for absolutely free!
They also have structured creative ways to give.
Includes donating cash while visiting, making online donations, purchasing cute t-shirts, in which all the funds go back to the sanctuary, and shopping their Amazon wish list. (I will share the link once I get it from them)
The furry welcome committee is always ready for your visit. You can barely get through the front door into the yard at first!
What stress? These little darlings will melt all your troubles away in 1 second and you’ll never feel more loved!
The entire compound has high, mesh fences keeping the cats safe and sound from outside intruders.
In return, the sanctuary also helps protect the island’s endangered birds, so it’s a double win.
Standing on one end of the sanctuary, it’s easy to oversee the entire thing. There are lots of big trees for shade, big and little out buildings, cat hiding places, and clumps of tall grass for the shy ones.
To the right (not pictured) are segregated chain linked areas that temporarily house cats that are receiving medical attention, another for new kittens, yet another for slightly older cats to help intergrade the newer kittens, then finally, the main area once they are ready.
It’s such a wonderful, caring and loving system.
Cats here are never put down until deteriorating heath or old age dictates the need. They are all medically treated, spayed and neutered, and can live the rest of their lives right in this very tranquil spot, or be adopted.
I just wandered it all, totally amazed, with my heart so full! SO. FULL.
Once the little guys got use to me, they were very laid back and watched you walk along. Some will follow you for a quick cuddle, some keep their distance.
But sit, and you’ll get the royal treatment, especially if you carry treats!
Dishing them out was so fun. You felt overwhelmed in the very best of ways, then suddenly guilty if every single cat didn’t get at least one.
This is the natural community litter box that was spotless.
Settling down on a towel on the ground, even with no treats in sight, I got lots of little visitors that desired to hover and simply take in your presence.
You handsome thing you…
Each cat is referred to by name. That in itself is a miracle… can you imagine remembering 800?!
The staff were always circling around, saying hello to visitors, making you feel incredibly welcome!
It was so interesting to hear stories of the cats, and stories of folks that came from all over the world just to see them.
Hello to you too!
“Oh good, you’re sticking around? I’ll just have a short nap and get right back to you…”
Ohhh, I’ll wait.
Count on it!
Some beds were even on pedestals! 😀
A no-bird zone would be an understatement.
I also loved how some of the buildings were constructed to house the shy ones.
Oh my heart.
It just didn’t matter where you wandered. They were everywhere.
I met one girl that was sitting at a picnic table with cats all over her lap. We sat and chatted in the gorgeous sunshine with a touch of a tropical breeze. She apparently lived on Maui and religiously came over each week to Lanai on her days off to visit.
It eased her work stress.
I’m not sure who was more lucky… the girl or the cats.
I vote both.
I kid you not. My full day here felt like 30 minutes tops.
And I even ended up visiting twice before heading back to Maui.
It was said that Hilary Duff had just been by to see them.
And a cat You Tube celebrity.
Don’t you LOVE the fact that they have become such ‘a thing?!’
Homeless dogs are apparently not a thing on Lanai. Just homeless cats. And lots of them. I found that interesting.
The incredible news is, they do get adopted from around the world. However if they don’t, they will live the rest of their lives in this lovely community with never-ending cat friends and lots of human cuddles.
Kinda makes me want to be a cat on Lanai.
And why continued donations and visitors are very welcome.
I asked the sanctuary why they don’t charge admission.
They felt they probably wouldn’t get as many donations that way.
I kind of agree with that theory. If they charged $10, that may be all they receive. Most left giving more than that. Bless good hearted traveling cat folks!
I myself bought a few (too many?) t-shirts. Gifts and donations all in one shot!
Sigh… So was it the best day of my life?
You bet your sweet kitty cats it was! A special day like no other. EVER.
Who else is sold and booking this one in next round?
Learn more about the Lanai Cat Sanctuary HERE
Read the entire Lanai series below:
Part 2 – Lanai Cat Sanctuary with 800 residents (you are here)