Faces of Christmas

12 Faces of Christmas: Lynea Lattanzio’s lifetime of love at Cathouse on the Kings

Cathouse on the Kings founder Lynea Lattanizio has calling to save felines

Cathouse on the Kings founder Lynea Lattanzio gave up her home on the Kings River to open a no-kill shelter for cats and kittens and to provide spay and neuter services. Lattanzio is one of The Bee's .
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Cathouse on the Kings founder Lynea Lattanzio gave up her home on the Kings River to open a no-kill shelter for cats and kittens and to provide spay and neuter services. Lattanzio is one of The Bee's .

The basics: Lynea Lattanzio, 67, dedicated her home, her finances and her entire life to create the Cathouse on the Kings, the largest no-kill nonprofit sanctuary, rescue and adoption center for cats in California. She is divorced with no children of her own, but many of the 700 cats living at the facility have become like family.

What she does: Seven days a week, Lattanzio lives on the sanctuary, 10 minutes east of Fowler on the Kings River, where for the last 22 years she has taken in every kitten she can, rescued from all over California and as far away as Saudi Arabia and Puerto Rico.

Why she does it: “Fresno County has one of the highest kill rates in California. I had always wondered about my purpose in life, and I think I found it. I was shocked when I found out the numbers, and I knew this was something I’m supposed to be doing with my life. It’s my calling.” Some may call her crazy – and Lattanzio sometimes jokingly agrees. “I tell them I’m eccentric and masochistic, which is nearly the same thing.”

The turning point: Lattanzio moved to her rural home in 1983. Ten years later, her father wanted a kitten, and after bringing home a box-full from the Sanger Area Humane Society, Lattanzio gained veterinary training and began taking care of more and more neglected and abandoned animals, most of them set to be euthanized.

Details, details: For the first seven years, she ran the Cathouse entirely out of her own pocket, and over time, the sanctuary expanded from 6 to 8 to 12 acres as Lattanzio made room for more. She even moved out of the five-bedroom home to a trailer on the property, giving up her house for the animals she loves. She’s had visitors from all over the world with more than 1 million followers on Facebook, but Lattanzio says many people in the central San Joaquin Valley have never heard of the sanctuary. Every cat taken in receives all shots and vaccinations, spay/neutering and an ID chip. Lattanzio calls it a Cat Haven and a Dog Disneyland, with around 30 dogs on the property, as well. “As long as you can get them here,” Lattanzio says, “we take them.”

What others say: Richard Logan of the dating website CatLoversMeetSingles.com says the Cathouse was the perfect location for filming a promotional spot. “It’s right in your own backyard; they’re great people with lots of respect.”

How you can help: Feeding and taking care of 700 cats is no small feat. Anyone wishing to donate can visit the sanctuary online at www.cathouseonthekings.com; donations made through the PayPal Giving Fund before Dec. 31 are worth 101 percent thanks to an added donation by PayPal. Other ways to help can be found on the sanctuary’s contribution page, www.cathouseonthekings.com/contribute, including sponsoring a cat or dog, having a supply drive or purchasing a calendar. Updates on new happenings at the Cathouse can be found on its Facebook page. Also, CatLoversMeetSingles.com will donate 10 percent of its $14.95 signup fee to Cathouse on the Kings.

Megan Ginise: 559-441-6614

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