When pet owners get a few cats, they may joke that the furballs have completely taken over the house. For one woman, that actually did happen, and a few decades later, the house is a large rescue operation that has saved tens of thousands of lives.
Lynea Lattanzio was living on six acres along a river in Parlier, California, when her father asked her for help finding new kittens after his senior cats had died. During the search, she went to a shelter, and ended up coming home with 15 abandoned kittens to foster. Within the year, this number had ballooned substantially: She had been able to rescue and place nearly 100 cats. This was driven by her realization that kitten season can be deadly, and her desire to save as many lives as possible.
Ultimately, the number of rescued cats grew so high, Lattanzio got a trailer for herself to live in, plopped it on her land, and let the cats have full rein of the home… and the property, which has since grown to 12 acres with cat-proof fencing around the perimeter.
With that fencing, the resident cats are able to freely roam both inside and outside, enjoying nature alongside the wildlife that stops by. Egrets, raccoons, and peacocks are among them. There’s a bit of a symbiotic relationship between the cats and the peacocks, too. The birds will often eat the cat food on site, but in exchange, they’ll leave feathers around, which the cats go a little batty for. They’re basically nature’s toys.
As home to more than 700 cats (plus a few dogs) and a nearly zoo-like atmosphere with the other animals, The Cat House on the Kings has become a popular place for people to visit, too, not just to search for a new feline friend. The tours began as a way to showcase the place to potential volunteers, staff, and supporters. Now, the hope is that it will let people see what’s possible with animal rescue.
Lattanzio says, “Tours of the Sanctuary bring curious visitors that not only fall in love with the cats and kittens living well here, they realize what can be done by amazing people who care.”
Though it’s fun to visit the resident felines, the nonprofit – now staffed by about 40 people and helped by a large network of volunteers – is also focused on finding the cats homes and providing necessary medical care. Throughout the course of the year, the organization will take in about 1500 cats, placing around half on their own and transferring a few hundred to other no-kill shelters. They also estimate that they’ve spayed and neutered nearly 60,000 animals, have helped needy canines by saving around 10,000 dogs, and have rescued over 35,000 cats and kittens throughout the 30-plus years they’ve been in operation. They even devote a portion of the property to FIV positive cats, and they work to train others so they can tackle the important tasks of cat rescue, too.
They also regularly bottlefeed abandoned newborn kittens and those from rescued pregnant mama cats, something The Animal Rescue Site has been able to help with, through formula donations. Over the years, with your help, we’ve also sent toys and supplies to their organization.
Beth Caffrey, who handles donor relations for The Cat House on the Kings, says, “I cannot put into words what it does for your heart and motivation to open a box filled with great products for kittens, as so many who are in animal welfare have become terrified of what they will find in an abandoned box. In other words, ARS not only sends greatly-needed products to help cats/kittens in their recovery journey, they send hope and positivity to those providing the necessary care. The donations lift us up when we need it most and keep us going forward to do more incredible, before unimaginable, life saving!”
If you’d like to see more of the property and the cats who call it home, follow The Cat House on the Kings on Instagram and Facebook. And if you’re close to Parlier, the cats might not mind if you paid a visit.Whizzco