There are animal lovers and there’s Lynea Lattanzio of California, who calls herself an “eccentric, crazy cat lady”… and she’s not exaggerating a bit. In fact, Lattanzio has opened up her 4,200 square-foot home to as many as 1,000 cats at a time. She loves cats, it’s obvious, calling them “independent… beautiful, and graceful.” Lattanzio estimates that she’s taken in 28,000 in her lifetime!
She’s also the founder of the largest no-cage sanctuary for feral and abandoned cats in the state, called the Cat House on the Kings. She runs the operation from her home and it’s, as you would imagine, not always the easiest endeavor because of all of the felines. There are so many, in fact, that she lets the cats live in her five-bedroom home while she lives in a trailer that sits next to the house on her property.
She can’t run the operation all by herself and has full staffing and volunteers to help her care for the cats. With the staff, medical care for the cats, overhead costs, and food, it’s estimated to cost the facility about $1.6 million each year to run.
The organization’s website describes their mission as follows: “The Cat House on the Kings is California’s largest no-cage, no-kill, lifetime cat sanctuary and adoption center. Our mission is to place rescued cats and kittens into loving, permanent homes; to provide a safe, happy and healthy home for unwanted cats and kittens in a unique, no-cage facility; to prevent pet overpopulation through spaying and neutering; and to educate the public about responsible pet ownership.”
The site also notes that Lattanzio started her mission in 1981 and saw it grow exponentially. The site explains: “By 2004, The Cat House population had grown to over 500 cats and kittens. The Cat House was well known, but donations had not kept pace with expenses. A very generous donor, Doreen Wallet, left much of her estate to The Cat House on the Kings. This money was used to purchase the neighboring six acres and install cat-proof fencing around the entire 12 acre perimeter.”
Among the many people who commented on the YouTube video about the cat sanctuary were those who remarked that the cats appeared to be in very good hands. One person noted: “She treats them well. It’s much better then the hoarders that have cats running around with issues. She needs an award. They all adore her and aren’t scared, true blessing.”
Another person agreed, writing: “These cats look healthy, well fed and very taken care of… There are people that don’t live this good.”
As for the critics, another commenter summed it up well by sharing this perspective: “This lady is not a hoarder, she’s running a sanctuary. most people running shelters are not crazy people, they are just trying to save cats from being euthanised or struggling as ferals. Don’t take the piss out of people. A cat hoarder is someone who does not have the means to care for cats. This woman obviously has a lot of money. The homeless cat problem was caused by humans dumping unnutuered cats into the wilderness to fend for themselves. This woman is a rescuer.”
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