The Lanai Animal Rescue Center consistently ranks as No. 1 or No. 2 for Lanai City attractions on Trip Advisor. It’s not a reputation the cat sanctuary founders Kathy Carroll and Loretta Hellrung were seeking, but they do enjoy a consistent stream of visitors and constant attention to the nonprofit’s mission.
The reviews vary with writers to Trip Advisor calling the sanctuary a “must do” or “must visit” on Lanai. “Whether you love cats or not, you really need to check this out!” wrote a visitor from Colorado. “These folks are doing great things here, and doing it in an interesting and educational manner.”
“Cats are our focus,” said Carroll, who works as the shelter’s executive director. Carroll and Hellrung, who now resides on the Mainland, spent years volunteering to nurture and care for abandoned cats on Lanai. About four years ago, Carroll established the animal shelter and a cat park on 3.5 acres of leased property about a half-mile from the Lanai Airport. A staff of six part-time and full-time employees plus approximately 25 volunteers ensure that the cats are cared for in the sanctuary. “It’s really overwhelming in a good way,” Carroll said. “I never dreamed we could do this. The cat sanctuary seemed like such an outlandish idea at the time. Now it seems natural.”
At the Lanai Animal Rescue Center, cats are called the “Lanaian Lions.” About half of the estimated 375 at the shelter are adoptable and the other half (cats with special needs and medical problems) could benefit from foster care. Carroll said while the rescue center could use cash donations, “we don’t need millions of dollars” to support a comprehensive spay and neutering program for the animals. The Lanai Animal Rescue Center facilitates on-island, island-to-island and out-of-state adoptions. An “Adopt in Place” program allows a donor to contribute monthly to the care of a cat at the sanctuary. For more information, go to http://lanaianimalrescue.org, or call 808-215-9066.