The Ultimate Guide to Lana’i Cat Sanctuary

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.

This one was a sweet winker!
Read this first: What to Know Before You Visit Lana’i

Quick Facts

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.

This pretty little lady loves to sleep in the basket attached to this tree!
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.

This one was giving me such a look!
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!
The cats are very friendly, but they cost a lot to feed!
More here: The Most Helpful Hawaii Posts You Will Ever Find

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.

This guy wanted to say a big “hello!” before we could even get our masks off!
Read on: How to Save BIG on Your Trip to Hawaii

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:

The Kittens

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?

My husband, the kitten whisperer.
More here: Questions about Hawaii You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask

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!

Have you ever seen such blue eyes on a cat?

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!

How many cats do you see?
Read on: How to Make the Most of Your Last Day in Hawaii

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!

Cats kept going over for a petting… from him, not so much from me!
Do everything: The Ultimate Lana’i Bucket List

Want more about Lana’i and all things Hawaiian? Check out my dedicated Hawaiian Islands Page!

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7 responses to “The Ultimate Guide to Lana’i Cat Sanctuary”

  1. […] Read on: Everything to Know about the Lana’i Cat Sanctuary […]

  2. […] Get a sneak peek: The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Lana’i Cat Sanctuary […]

  3. I would love to see this. It look’s like so much fun. This for sharing!!!!

    1. quickwhittravel Avatar

      It was awesome! You’re so welcome!

  4. […] you a cat lover? Do you know a cat lover? The Lana’i Cat Sanctuary needs to be on your Hawaii to-do list! The Sanctuary is FREE to visit, but if you fall in love with […]

  5. […] Get all the details (and more photos!): The Ultimate Guide to the Lana’i Cat Sanctuary in Hawai’i […]

  6. […] Get all the fluffy details: What It’s Like Visiting Lana’i Cat Sanctuary […]

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