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.


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…

4 replies
  1. Sheralyn
    Sheralyn says:

    Both of my cats are rescues, ive lived and traveled all over the world and this place is one where i walked in and truly knew the kitties were happy and healthy.
    I wish every one of the cats would get adopted, but ubtil then this is a great olace for them, outside and happy. And not one of the cats was aggressive or mean. They are all so well behaved and loving. I love when people get the word out, they need donations, adoptions etc…..great people and great cats!

  2. Kat
    Kat says:

    I have 11 rescued cats and I know how much work it is to feed and provide medical care for them. Without Banfield Vet Hospital and their monthly pet program, I could not afford to give them the veterinarian care they require. That said, I cannot even imagine how you care for 500 cats both feeding, vet care, and just making sure there’s not too many kitty disagreements. This place is amazing. After visiting Hawaii in 1993, I remember seeing so many stray cats climbing into garbage cans looking for food. I bought some hamburgers and fed several. It was heartbreaking as some had mange. It’s so good to see a place where strays can find shelter and love.


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