More cats, more cat videos

Another day, another video of our time at the Lana’i Cat Sanctuary. The latest video, an edited version of the original that appeared on AFAR.com, ran on AFAR’s Facebook page. The 50-second clip has no speaking, but with images and captions it gives a great sense of what the place is like.

To refresh your memory, we visited the Lana’i Cat Sanctuary last month during a four-day stay at Four Seasons Lana’i. The experience changed our lives. Especially for L and R.

Below you’ll find a screen shot. To see the whole video, click here.

20160824_003323

Robot toilet overload

Toilet blindfold

Toilet blindfold

Most people who stay at the Four Seasons Lana’i remember the luxurious rooms, the incredible dining options (Nobu! Dean & DeLuca in the minibar! Those amazing malasadas!), the intimate pool, and the picture-perfect sand beach on Hulopo’e Bay.

My kids will remember all of those things. But also, the in-room toilets.

These aren’t just any toilets, mind you. They are what our Big Girl calls, “Robot Toilets.” Toilets with built-in seat warmers. Toilets that open and close and flush automatically. Toilets that sport bidets for those trips to the bathroom you just can’t seem to tidy on your own.

The toilets represent the top-of-the-line product from a company called Toto, a company that makes all different sorts of toilets. The ultra-exclusive fixtures undoubtedly are intended to add to the feeling of luxury—especially since the technology creates this situation that actually obviates the need ever to touch the toilet or toilet seat when you go. (As an aside, they are priced at more than $3,000 apiece.)

But for my Big Girl—a brilliant and creative 7-year-old who suffers from anxiety about foreign toilets in general—they basically were the Devil in porcelain clothes.

At first, before she had to use the toilet in our room, she was fascinated by them, pushing the buttons to watch the lids go up and down. Curiosity quickly turned to fear when she sat down and the toilet unexpectedly started a circulate cycle to make sure none of her “presents” stained the bowl. We quickly figured out to use a (complimentary and posh) kid-sized slipper to “blindfold” the toilet’s electronic eye (which triggers the circulate cycle when you sit down).

For a few days, this plan worked wonders. Her curiosity returned.

Then, drama struck. We refer to it as The Bidet Incident. Completely out of nowhere, while the Big Girl was doing her business on the bowl, the toilet’s bidet feature went rogue and sprayed her bottom with gusto. To say this caught her by surprise would be an understatement. There were many tears. And blood-curdling screams. Then she announced she was “never peeing on Lana’i again.”

Powerwoman and I dried off our daughter’s bottom and did our best to stifle laughter. We spent the rest of the afternoon creating stories about robot toilets gone haywire. Mine evoked the Terminator movies, only with robots that sprayed unsuspecting butts instead of killing people. (The stories worked. She peed again.)

Thankfully, by our last morning on Lana’i, the Big Girl was able to smile about the toilet. She and her 4-year-old sister made up a farewell song. They included the toilets in their recap of their favorite things about the Four Seasons Lana’i. The two of them even figured out how to hold the blindfold slipper without any help from my wife or me.

As we headed for the door, depressed at the thought of leaving this paradise, L ran back to “do something important” and kiss the toilet goodbye.

“I just did it on the top,” she said. “I didn’t want the bidet to shoot me in the mouth.”

Cat heaven in Hawaii

Lana'i Cat Sanctuary, as shot by L

Lana’i Cat Sanctuary, as shot by L

If you asked my big girls to describe the attributes of their personal heavens, each would cite unlimited French fries and hundreds of playful cats. While Powerwoman and I haven’t been able to deliver on the French fries yet, we did find a spot that blew their cat-loving dreams.

The place: the Lanai Cat Sanctuary on the Hawaiian Island of Lanai.

At the suggestion of the concierge at Four Seasons Lanai, we visited earlier today. There were 495 cats. Running freely in an open-air 25,000-square-foot enclosure. For the girls, it was like Cat Christmas.

The place is quite a story—one I’ll tell in a variety of written and video pieces over the next few weeks. To summarize, it basically is a glorified animal shelter, it’s free to visit, and, if you love cats, is AWESOME. The Executive Director, a kind and gentle man named Keoni Vaughn, refers to the place as the Furr Seasons (a riff on Four Seasons, get it?). And for cats, it really is luxurious.

Dozens of different cat boxes. Dozens of grass patches in which to play. Trees to climb. Pipes in which to hide. Endless amounts of food and water. And because the place is open to the public, constant love.

Vaughn told me that about half of the animals there were feral cats rescued from the wilds of the island to relieve the threat to native birds. The other half of the animals had been abandoned by owners over the years. All of the kitties are happy. And just about all of them are available for adoption.

We didn’t adopt a cat yesterday but we all wanted to. Instead, the girls spent the better part of two hours petting and loving and kissing and feeding and chasing and playing with the cats. Every time I thought the girls were tiring, they’d perk up and move on to another cat. All they talked about for the rest of the day: Cats, cats, cats.

Below are a few images from our time at the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. As I noted, I’ll be creating some other content about the experience over the next few weeks. I’ll share it here as it’s published.

IMG_1519

IMG_1520

20160728_110833

IMG_1514

20160728_105831

UPDATE: One of my clients, AFAR, has published a story (by moi, of course) about our time at the Sanctuary. You can read the piece here. For even more Lana’i kitty goodness, check out the video I produced for AFAR…

%d bloggers like this: