“Cat Lady” is a term that became popular with the rise of YouTube and cat memes, but the Internet hasn’t seen a true cat lady until now. Sixty-seven-year-old Lynea Lattanzio has lived with 28,000 cats over the course of the past 25 years. What started as a way to help her father find a cat turned into an obsession–but an obsession of the best possible kind.
Lynea Lattanzio brought home 15 cats on that first trip to the animal shelter. In that same year, she successfully rescued and rehomed 96 cats. Today, she runs a cat shelter out of her home, where she and a team of volunteers currently take care of 800 adult cats and 300 kittens.
Lynea’s generosity towards these cats knows no bounds. When she started the shelter – Cat House on the Kings, California’s largest no-kill, no-cage sanctuary – she funded it out of her own pocket for 7 years. She sold her car and her wedding ring and even ate up all of her retirement. To keep medical costs down, she became a veterinary technician.
Her goodwill does not stop there though. The shelter became so big that she eventually had to move out of her own house.
At one point, Lynea had 67 cats sleeping with her in her bedroom, along with her dogs. That’s when she decided that something had to give and that something was her.
“I went from a 4,200 square foot, 5-bedroom home with a pool, wet bar, and view of the river, to a 1,600-1,800 square foot mobile home with a view of a rusty metal shed. I’ve come up in the world,” she jokes. The upside though? Her new home is a “cat-free” zone – meaning that only select few (dozen) cats are allowed in at one time.
Lynea truly is a cat lady, but the best possible kind there can be. With a staff that comes in at 4 am, she and her team save thousands of cats each year – cats that would have otherwise been put down or lived their entire lives without a place to call home.
Cat House on the Kings’ current expenses are somewhere around $1.6 million each year. Fortunately for the cats, a generous donor left Lynea her estate in 2004, allowing her to buy the neighboring 12-acres to use to expand her sanctuary. Now the cats can roam freely while they wait for that one human to find them and take them home.
Lynea estimates that she has taken in and lived with close to 28,000 cats.
Though Lynea loves her cats, her ultimate goal is to rehome them. She helps speed up this process by training feral and abandoned cats to become the loveable creatures they were born to be.
As of right now, the sanctuary currently has 500 cats that are ready for adoption. If you’re looking for your perfect pet and feel like doing some good at the same time, stop into their website to see if there is a cat listed that is right for you. Or just share this video with your friends and family to help Lynea and her team help their cats!
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