FRESNO, Ca (CIrca) - Imagine over 700 cats, roaming free on a 12-acre property. Indoors, outdoors, meowing, purring, climbing trees, in the sun, rain….
To Lynea Lattanzio, it’s definitely heaven, and one that has taken her years to build. Lynea runs a cat rescue and sanctuary called Cat House on the Kings, deep in Fresno, CA. Yes, she’s a cat lover, but she wanted to do more to help cats get adopted after learning about the incredibly (depressingly, really) high kill rates for cats in shelters. Simply put, cats are the first animals to be put down due to overcrowding.
But Lynea noticed that the cats in the shelters, sequestered behind cold fences and walls, were shy, and reclusive. But once they got out of there, their little personalities started to show. And what was once considered an undesirable cat is suddenly “adoptable” again, simply by virtue of being cage-free.
That was where the idea of Cat House on the Kings came from. Lynea touts it as the largest no-kill, no-cage cat sanctuary in the country. It’s a full blown operation, replete with 40 paid employees that work for the cats.
“You work for them, they don’t work for you. Don’t mistreat them.” She says.
She takes in the adoptable ones, which absolutely yes, you can go and adopt yourself. But she also takes in the totally unadoptable ones who, for one reason or another, would never find a forever home. Every single cat is welcome.
When I walked onto the property, I was struck by the sheer number of them. Of course, I knew there would be a lot of cats, but there were So. Many! And as a cat lover, I was in heaven.
Inside the main house, cats dominated every single surface. They crowded around the fireplace, sat on perches high and low. Out of the corner of my eye I caught many coming in and out of various doggy doors, checking out the newcomer. It was pouring rain the day I shot this piece, but even so, a brave few cats chased after us as we walked to tour the property.
Lynea sat on the couch, calmly throwing cat treats to the dozens of cats that crowded around her, as we chatted. Her dedication to these animals runs deep. So much so, in fact, that Lynea no longer lives in the big house - that belongs to the cats. But she’s happy to do it, I can see.
“You can take the woman out of the shelter, but you can’t take the shelter out of the woman.”
Animal lover? Check out some of our other animal pieces. There's no such thing as a micro pig (Sorry). At this central California farm, you can kick it with ostriches and emus. And Elephant Nature Park in Thailand is working to make tourists aware of elephant abuse in the tourism industry.
Originally published 5/1/18