The Lanai cat sanctuary was set-up in 2009 by former nutritionist and certified cat lover Kathy Carrol. The island had a large population of feral cats, and with little control over their numbers, it would only get bigger.
Kathy began capturing, spaying, and then releasing the cats. But this wasn't so good for the island's endangered bird population, as rare birds like the Hawaiian Petrel were being hunted by the wild cats.
Lots of the cats find a new home
After learning more about the local wildlife problem, Kathy decided to set up the sanctuary. It now receives around 200 cats each year, 50 of which find a new home within 12 months.
Around 60% of the cats remain feral, making them unsuitable for adoption. However, thanks to visiting tourists, the remaining 40% have become well socialised.
The centre gets around 12,000 visitors each year. The gates open at 10:00am every morning, and the local residents seem more than happy to welcome the humans.
Keoni Vaughn is an executive director at the sanctuary. He told mentalfloss.com:
“About 40 cats line up to compete for human affection. It’s like they report to work...When the first guests come, they’re meowing and everything because they know they’re going to get treats."
Covering the cost of the kitties
The sanctuary is free to visit, although it does welcome any donations. All the money goes toward covering the costs of the centre, which includes microchipping, spaying, and of course feeding the cats. A vet is also flown out to the island twice a month to give the kitties a quick check-up.
Thanks to the support of visiting cat lovers, the centre is growing all the time. It currently houses 620 cats, but staff expect it to hold up to 12,000 in the near future.
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