When Oracle founder Larry Ellison bought 97% of the Hawaiian island of Lana’i, he didn’t realize that the island was covered in cats, and that his new holdings include the Lana’i Animal Rescue Center, home to 425 feral cats. Lana’i has 3200 people and thousands of cats, descendants of abandoned pets. Kathy Carroll began spaying and neutering feral cats in 2004, and founded the rescue center. Carroll knows most of the shelter cats by name. The shelter is supported by donations, including adoptions and cat sponsorships, and has become quite famous.
Last year, around 1,000 people visited the Lana’i Animal Rescue Center. It was named the No. 1 most recommended thing to do on Lana’i, according to TripAdvisor, where it also enjoys a five-star rating (the No. 2 recommendation was the Mike Carroll Gallery). The daily open houses are free, but for sale are a new batch of T-shirts, illustrated by Mr. Carroll, featuring a Hawaiian cat playing a ukulele. For a while, the Four Seasons was running shuttles to the shelter as part of its voluntourism offerings, and the shelter’s own handout invites tourists who are longing for their cats at home to “Visit a Cat Lover’s Paradise.” One Japanese ailurophile did just that and flew straight to Lana’i from Tokyo, stopping only to change planes in Honolulu. Another visitor proposed to his girlfriend underneath the “Cattic” — a three-walled porch with Adirondack chairs and a cat-sized loft where some of the more skittish cats like to hide out. He’d been carrying around the ring waiting for the right moment.
Read all about this unique cat shelter and the cats of Lana’i at Buzzfeed.
(Image credit: Andrew Dalton)