Trip Ideas

The Lanai Cat Sanctuary is a Purrfect place to visit

Everyone knows Hawaii is the place for a typical fun-in-the-sun vacation.  Hawaii has beaches lined with palm trees, the sand and the surf, tropical drinks, island-hopping and unique tourist stops all its own.  But if you’re vacationing in Hawaii and you like cats, we have the “purrfect” place for you.


Just what is this “purrfect” place?  We’re glad you asked.  This particular paradise is the Lanai Cat Sanctuary in Lanai City on the island of Lanai in Hawaii.  It is a non-profit, cageless, open-air cat sanctuary and community service organization. The Lanai Cat Sanctuary helps cats on the island of Lanai in numerous ways.  They provide adoption services, foster homes, humane education, shelter, sustenance and veterinary care.  They even provide spay and neuter services.


Within the seven-foot-high fence, the enclosure is complete with kitty cubicles for cat naps, “pallet palaces” for hiding and playing, big eight-foot long irrigation pipes for playing as well as numerous cat-climbing jungle gyms.  There are also long, tall grasses, bushes, napping and perching trees and cat boxes.  There is a smaller, fenced-in kitten area known as Kitten Garden and a place for the Malkins to munch referred to by some sources as “the Catfurteria”. Lanai’s Cook pine trees provide mulch for giant litter boxes.  According to the on-site officials, even the litter boxes are free of stink thanks to the efforts of staff members who diligently scoop cat poop throughout the day. Many of the mousers there are up for adoption.  If you find a cat you love but can’t take it home, you always have the option of “adopting-in-place”.  Once you sign up you will receive regular updates from the organization concerning your cat and its state of health and well-being.

Organizational Structure

The cat sanctuary includes a staff of volunteers. The volunteers help see that the cats get hours of feeding, grooming, petting, watering and even loving.  They also assist with maintaining the sanctuary and-- according to the official website of the outdoor shelter-- are compensated in “purrs and special bonds”. It is a 25,000-square-foot enclosed habitat.  It was officially opened in October 2009.  At press time, the Lanai Cat Sanctuary holds almost 500 cats. They are open seven days a week.  From 10 am to 3 pm cat lovers can come and visit the sanctuary and interact with the friendly felines. The organization’s executive director is Keoni Vaughn. Vaughn is a native Hawaiian.  Before he worked here he had been employed for years as “an animal cop.”  He is famous for telling the press his habitat is like the “Fur Seasons,” which is both “funny” and apt since tourists staying at the  Four Seasons Lanai often will drive the half-hour trip to visit the pussy place.

Wrapping Up

The sanctuary was originally created to collect and house them but in years to come grew to include abandoned cats as well.  The animals are all spayed or neutered as soon as possible upon arrival and the operating veterinarian actually flies from the island of Maui to the shelter two times a month.  Donations are always welcome and happily accepted to offset the various expenses of this “purrfect” pet paradise.

(All images are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated.)

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