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Lanai Cat Sanctuary celebrates 10 years with free party today

Food, music and games with special giveaways will be offered

The Lanai Cat Sanctuary, which houses more than 600 cats, will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a free party open to the public from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. today at the sanctuary in Lanai City.

Food, music and games with special giveaways will be offered.

The foundation for the sanctuary was laid in 2004, when Kathy Carroll started the island’s first spay/neuter program for homeless cats. She and her volunteers created the nonprofit Lanai Animal Rescue Center in 2008 and devised a makeshift sanctuary in a horse corral owned by the then-Four Seasons Lodge at Koele with just 25 cats, a news release from the sanctuary said.

The current permanent location at 1 Kaupili Road was established in 2009. The organization focused on rescuing homeless and abandoned cats and changed its name to Lanai Cat Sanctuary in 2015, the news release said.

Over the years, more than 2,000 cats have been sterilized, reducing the stray cat population and protecting endangered birds. In addition, the sanctuary has found homes for more than 350 cats through its adoption program, the news release said.

The number of cats living at the sanctuary has grown from 350 to more than 600 currently.

Since 2014, the outdoor size of the sanctuary has more than tripled — from 10,000 to 45,000 square feet — allowing up to 1,100 cats to be housed. Donations from visitors and supporters have increased, enabling the expansion of a new 10,000-square-foot area, a 2,000-square-foot senior center, and eight cat treatment centers, the news release said.

Annual visitors to the sanctuary have increased from 800 in 2014 to 13,000 currently, the news release said.

For more information, go to lanaicatsanctuary.org or follow @lanaicatsanctuary on Instagram or LanaiCatSanctuary on Facebook.