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Travel & Discovery

Visiting the Lanaʻi Cat Sanctuary

I have just returned from my trip to Hawaii and I’m finally able to actually use a computer! Sadly, while on my trip, my laptop decided that it no longer wanted to live so I was completely unable to backup, upload, edit, write, or share anything that wasn’t on my phone for the past 2 weeks. I have been working hard to try to get everything edited and ready for release quickly while dealing with some life changes.

I had initially wanted my first post about Hawaii to be a general over-view with some small highlights but the longer I thought about it, the more I wanted to talk about this amazing place!


The Lānaʻi Cat Sanctuary is located on Lānaʻi island quietly nestled off a small dirt road off of the only highway on Lānaʻi. It is completely outdoors, though the cats (and wildlife) are protected by tall fences and metal grating around the trees so that the kitties cannot escape. All the cats who come there are fixed, named, and cared for by the thoughtful staff.

One thing that particularly stood out to me, as a mainlander, was their humanitarian approach to the care of these cats. Unlike the majority of shelters and rescues here on the mainland, they do not euthanize kitties who test positive for things like feline leukemia. Instead, these cats are given their own quarantined area to live and play in where they receive proper medical care.


The sanctuary features numerous clever hiding places for the cats to sleep, play, and get a break from the sun. The whole place was designed with the cats’ happiness in mind. Along the back perimeter of the main area of the sanctuary are little nooks for the more shy cats to retreat to for some privacy. You are encouraged and welcome to play with the cats and toys are available for you to pick from and play free of charge.


Around mid-day the cats do get their lunch at the Catfurteria so if you plan on visiting during one of the feeding times, you will likely find most of the kitties hanging out in here. Of which, they have hundreds of cats within the sanctuary which they care for.


You are free to explore the entire sanctuary after a short tour. I think I spent most of the tour either petting a cat or carrying one in my arms! These cats are not afraid to come right up to you and demand your attention so watch your step so you don’t accidentally step on some kitty paws.


For the most part, these cats are fairly litter trained. The sanctuary uses all natural liter made from the Cook Island pine trees fallen debris (to which, those pine trees are a important part of the ecosystem on Lānaʻi within themselves, but that’s a topic for another post). You don’t have to worry too much about where you step on this grassy turf, your chances of stepping in kitty waste is very slim.


Part of what makes this place unique is that you get to spend time with the cats in a comfortable environment. Instead of pondering if the cat you just adopted will have the same personality when you get home, you get to see first hand who this cat is and what they like to do. The cats in this sanctuary are clearly very happy and relaxed here and they do not mind all the attention they receive from visitors. What you see is what you get.


There is the occasional kitty scuffle, which usually seems to happen when one cat accidentally wakes up another cat from a deep sleep (no one likes to be disturbed during a sunny cat nap). Otherwise, this sanctuary is calm and beautiful. There’s lawn chairs and benches for you to sit on and relax with the cats. If you’re looking for the cuddly kitties, this place provides you with all the tools you need to find the perfect (or should I say purrfect?) snuggler.


They are not just helping the cats either here. Lānaʻi is home to many ground burrowing birds, and without any other predators on the island the cats are a direct threat to the population of these native birds. Preservation of life is the fundamental upon which this sanctuary is built.

The sanctuary is free to visit during any of the open hours, though they do rely on the donations of the visitors to keep operations running smoothly. Even if all you have is the change in your pocket, every little bit can help!


While I was visiting, I fell in love with two of the kitties. One was a young kitten who followed me for the entire duration of my visit and even posed for a couple photos for me. The other, Old Guy, who’s a large primarily white cat with small black markings and is missing his ears and one eye. Sadly, I do not have any more room for more cats in my house (we already have 4 rescue cats).
They will also ship a cat to you if you cannot make it out yourself. You can view some of the cats available by visiting their website and clicking on “adopt”. If you cannot adopt, please consider donating or even sponsoring a cat.

To show my appreciation for this amazing place, I will be donating 50% of my Patreon earnings to the cat sanctuary for the month of May! You can get on board to help support both me and this beautiful organization by going to my Patreon page and becoming a Patron!! Every little bit helps!! If you do choose to donate directly to the cat sanctuary, drop a comment below!! Let’s share the love!

To see more photos I took at the Lanai Cat Sanctuary as well as the rest of Hawaii, please give me a follow on Instagram @thewaywardvixen

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