What if I told you there are lions in Hawaii? Would you believe me? Would you think I’m lying? Would you think there’s more to the story? The Lanai Cat Sanctuary has been home to over 600 cats since their efforts began in 2004, and these lovable kitties are affectionately called “Lana’i Lions!” Here’s everything you need to know about visiting on your trip to Hawaii’s Pineapple Isle.
Location and Transportation
The Sanctuary is located at 1 Kaupili Road, just 11 miles from the Ferry Terminal, 1.5 miles from the Lana’i Airport, and 4.5 miles from Lana’i City. Because the Sanctuary is located on a dirt road, you can drive yourself here only if you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle. If not, contact a car service like Rabaca’s for transportation from anywhere on the island.
Essential info: The Ultimate Guide to Renting a Car on Lana’i
The Cat Sanctuary is open 365 days a year (those sweet kitties need to be fed on Christmas Day, you know!), and their hours are 10:00am-3:00pm.
Also helpful: Which Hawaiian Island Should You Visit?
Admission and Donations
Admission is FREE, but donations are always welcome! There are multiple ways to do donate:
- You can make a monetary donation at the Sanctuary or directly on the website.
- Order and donate items from their Amazon Wishlist to be sent directly to the Sanctuary.
- “Adopt a cat in place” to pay for its care on a monthly or yearly basis without actually having to scoop its poop!
- Adopt a cat to bring home with you. Just be aware that sending a cat back requires 120 days’ quarantine upon the cat’s return, and the average cost to return a cat is $1500. Be very sure if you choose to adopt a Lana’i Lion!
What is the Lana’i Cat Sanctuary?
It’s a home for over 650 cats, and they all have different names! Why do they need a sanctuary? Because cats can quickly overrun an island like Lana’i, and they are predators to the native birds, which are otherwise protected. This place protects the cats and the birds in one fell swoop. All cats are sterilized and given a computer chip to keep track of them when they arrive.
Highlights at the Cat Sanctuary
This was such a fun way to spend a morning! When you arrive, you’ll be given a bag of dry food, shown around the enclosures, and have a chance to ask any questions you may have. Then, you’re free to roam and make friends! Here are some of out highlights:
Who doesn’t love a sweet kitten?! There were three in the kitten enclosure when we visited in November 2021. Of course, they all loved Steve. Can you blame them?
Seeing Interesting Features on a Variety of Cats
There are only a handful of long-haired cats in the Sanctuary, but you’ll find the cats in every color! One cat, Kins, is all black with white spots. Another calico cat had swirly colors on her sides. They have a special enclosure for senior and special needs cats, some of whom were stand-offish, and others were very friendly. Some have big eyes, some have one eye, and this one has the most beautiful blue eyes!
Read next: The Best Things to Love about Hawaii
Finding Cats in Funny Places
These cats live in the actual lap of luxury. They have tiny houses, beds, food everywhere, people feeding them during visiting hours, and more! You’ll find them everywhere, including up a tree! The nice woman showing us around told us that when we go into the Manele Park enclosure, go to the mango tree and look up. We’re glad we did!
Seeing My Honey with the Cats
All animals love my husband! He’s really a dog person at heart, but he had fun with the cats, and they liked him, too! He’d just be sitting somewhere, and there would be a cat on either side of him getting a petting, plus one or two more at his feet, rubbing his legs!
Want more about Lana’i and all things Hawaiian? Check out my dedicated Hawaiian Islands Page!
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