Lanai Cat Sanctuary

Giving Back When Visiting Lanai Cat Sanctuary
Local Expert's Rating:
5.0 / 5
The Bottom Line:

If helping animals is something you enjoy and spending time with some rescued cats sounds like fun, be sure to stop in and see the Lanai Cat Sanctuary for yourself. This home to over 600 cats is made possible by donations, making it a fun and worthwhile stop when in Lanai. 

- The Local Expert Team

The Lanai Cat Sanctuary found its start in 2004 with 25 cats, a horse corral, and a dream.  Sanctuary founder Kathy Carroll created the shelter as a way to address stray cats in an area that didn’t feature an animal shelter, veterinarian, or rescue group. The sanctuary was moved to its current Lanai location in 2008.

Today’s Lanai Cat Sanctuary protects cats as well as some endangered birds. It was expanded in 2015 when Keoni Vaughn joined as the group’s executive director. In 2013, the sanctuary purchased a high-tech mobile veterinary clinic that is used onsite for services like x-rays, sterilization, and assessments. 

In 2019, veterinary teams were recruited from the U.S. mainland and Oahu to further expand the veterinary services of the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. In 2019, Joe Adarna took over the day-to-day operations of the sanctuary as the current manager. 

Since 2015, the Lanai Cat Sanctuary has rescued over 600 cats. Lanai Cat Sanctuary’s purpose is to allow cats to live their best life possible. The governing board, employees, and management all are committed to the responsible and ethical treatment of all animals under their care. 

You can help fund the sanctuary and further expand its mission by visiting Lanai Cat Sanctuary. To find the Lanai Cat Sanctuary, pass the Lanai airport then look for the second dirt road on the left with the highway rock marker that says Kaunolu. Turn left and look for their gate. 

While there is no set admission fee at Lanai Cat Sanctuary, please note that all tax-deductible donations are used to continue to provide lifelong care to the precious sanctuary residents. Interestingly enough, even though in the wild cats and birds might seem like natural enemies, at Lanai Cat Sanctuary, cats and birds do somewhat co-exist. The collaboration ensures that stray cats are given the home they need for life, while the engaged birds are looked after, perpetuating their population. 

The Director of Invasive Species Programs at American Bird Conservancy stated the following about the important work accomplished at Lanai Cat Sanctuary:

“Lanai Cat Sanctuary focuses on solutions and innovation. Its leadership takes a non-divisive approach to their love for cats and birds.” 

Some of the endangered birds that Lanai Cat Sanctuary has worked to help include the Uau, a bird that burrows under uluhe fern ground cover and nests on Mount Lanai Hale, and the Alae Keokeo, which builds nests in floating vegetation among wetland areas. Other birds include the Uau Kani, which makes its home in fragile burrows located near “Sweetheart Rock,” also known as Puu Pehe, and the Aeo, which builds nests on floating vegetation in the wetlands. 

At the present time, Lanai Cat Sanctuary has more than 600 cats that they care for, each having a microchip, name, and health record. All these cats need and deserve love, water, shelter, and food. The average cost for all this care, which includes daily caregivers, is around $1,000 a year per cat. 

Sadly government entities have little desire to fund sanctuaries like the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. As a result, it’s up to guests or supporters to donate to ensure its efforts are allowed to continue. Lanai Cat Sanctuary’s residents are mostly undomesticated. 

Around 95% of the population that call Lanai Cat Sanctuary home were born in the wild. This means they are pretty shy about interacting with visitors. However, over the course of time as staff works with these hesitant cats, around 40% will become friendly enough for possible adoption. You can adopt a cat, called a Lanai lion if you desire. All kitty adopters are required to spend quality time with their cats to ensure property bonding.

Insider Tips:
-In addition to giving donations, you can also buy merchandise to support Lanai Cat Sanctuary. 
-After adopting, a doctor will perform a basic health exam which will be necessary to have your cat board a plane leaving Hawaii. The Lanai Cat Sanctuary manager will research how much this will cost, allowing you to adopt a cat and then have it flown to you. 
-You do not need to make an appointment to visit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. Instead, make your way to the site and bring along a picnic for a day of fun with some amazing animals. If you want to purchase onsite, you can buy water, juice, or soda at the sanctuary.