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|Amber Brooks • 4/05/18|
The Short Version: If you’re a cat person, you probably want to date someone who can appreciate and share your love of cats. It’s easier to get along when you have that in common, and then you don’t have to worry about your significant other and your fur baby disliking one another. However, meeting fellow cat people can be a challenge. That’s why rescue organizations can be great resources for animal lovers looking to put themselves out there and meet new people. The Cat House on the Kings in Parlier, California, is a worthwhile place to give your time because it saves lives. The 12-acre sanctuary fosters a cage-free and safe environment for hundreds of cats of all breeds. Over the last three decades, the Cat House on the Kings has rescued over 37,000 animals and spayed/neutered over 58,000 community cats. You can support the nonprofit’s mission to improve the quality of life for cats, kittens, and other pets by becoming a volunteer. In doing so, you may just meet someone you want to take home with you.
In 1983, Lynea Lattanzio moved to a quiet house on the river in Fresno County, California. She hoped to find peace after her difficult divorce, but the six acres of land only made her feel more alone. However, her love of cats helped her find a new purpose for her life and land.
One day, she visited a local animal shelter to help her father look for two Manx kittens to adopt — and she went home with a box of 15 abandoned kittens. None of them were Manx. Within a year, she had rescued 96 homeless cats.
Years later, Lynea sold her 2-carat diamond wedding ring and her 1973 Mercedes to help her fund a new project to turn her property into a pet sanctuary. In 1997, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved a zoning variance for her nonprofit rescue organization, which she called the Cat House on the Kings. By 2004, the sanctuary had doubled in size and housed over 500 cats and kittens.
The Cat House on the Kings began on a mission to help save a life, and it has expanded into a vast operation that has saved the lives of over 32,000 kittens and cats and over 7,100 dogs and puppies. This no-kill shelter has had a tremendously positive impact on the community by rescuing and caring for animals in need. You can join this compassionate team by volunteering your time at the sanctuary in Parlier, California, or the rescue center in Fresno.
The Cat House on the Kings is open seven days a week, so anyone interested in adopting or fostering a new feline friend can stop by and see hundreds of cats of all breeds and ages. The sanctuary’s team typically takes care of 700+ adult cats and 200+ kittens (plus several dogs) at any given time. Some live on the 12-acre grounds, while others live with foster families until they can be adopted by their furever homes.
Because the Cat House on the Kings is a cage-free sanctuary, its animals are free to live according to their own natures. The team puts the happiness of the cats first. You can tune in to the shelter’s kitten cam to watch its younger residents nap, explore, and play.
Beth Caffrey, Head of the Public Relations team, has worked in the animal welfare profession for over a decade, and she told us the Cat House on the Kings relies on its volunteers to help them care for thousands of kittens, cats, and other animals. “We couldn’t save as many lives as we do without our foster families,” she said. “That’s huge for us.”
Volunteerism is a great way to meet people who share your interests and values. When you pitch in to help an animal shelter like the Cat House on the Kings, you have the chance to do something good for the community while mingling with good-natured people in the community. It’s a win-win.
Many people offer their services as a foster for cats and kittens at Cat House on the Kings, taking care of animals at home on a temporary basis, but you can also get more involved with the day-to-day work of the shelter by becoming a general volunteer. Beth told us they need assistance with a variety of chores, including animal care, office work, and laundry. “I can’t say enough good things about our laundry women,” Beth said. “We have a ton of laundry. It’s constant.”
The Cat House on the Kings also has volunteer cat cuddlers who help homeless cats and kittens get used to a human’s touch. This makes them more adoptable — because everyone wants a cuddly kitty! If you ever need a good cuddle, you can head to the sanctuary and bundle a furball into your arms.
Volunteers can also help put together informational packets, transport cats, and keep the animal areas clean. The Cat House on the Kings even has social media helpers who get the word out about what’s going on at the sanctuary. Whatever you’re interested in doing, the Cat House on the Kings can give you a chance to make a difference and meet fellow cat lovers while you’re at it.
If you don’t live in California, you can always get involved with a local animal shelter to meet animal lovers in your area. “Every area has shelters like us in need of help,” Beth said. “Helping animals is a great thing to do for your own health and well-being.”
The Cat House on the Kings hosts a few large annual events, including a poker tournament held at a casino in downtown Fresno. Held in March, Poker for Paws typically attracts over a hundred participants and family members who want to support the shelter’s good works. “Poker for Paws is fun for human beings who want to help animals,” Beth said. “It’s something a bit different, and you have a chance to win a prize while raising funds for the Cat House on the Kings.”
Every year, the animal sanctuary also puts on two large-scale open houses in the spring and fall. They open their doors and organize a family-friendly festival complete with games, vendors, and cat-related activities. Cat lovers have a ball exploring the grounds and seeing so many cats running free.
These events take a lot of planning and resources to put on, so the team is always happy to have the help of volunteers handing out flyers beforehand and helping to run the event on the day of.
The Cat House on the Kings’ fundraising events give thousands of cat lovers in the community the chance to network and mingle in a fun atmosphere. Staff members, volunteers, and donors come together looking to have a good time and support the shelter’s mission of caring for homeless kittens and cats in California.
The Cat House on the King requires a lot of manpower to keep it running smoothly. Over 40 staff members and hundreds of volunteers work together to care for thousands of cats and kittens. Its staff includes cat lovers of all stripes. They oversee many daily chores and long-term projects, including setting up appointments for spaying and neutering as well as training volunteers to care for infant, adult, and senior cats.
Beth’s job is basically to spread the word about all the good work the Cat House on the Kings does. Once people hear about it, they often want to get involved and help out, so it’s important to share its remarkable cat-related stories on television, radio, print, and social media.
Since 2011, a volunteer named Harvie has worked over 60 hours a week on the Cat House Facebook page. She promotes the animal shelter on social media to find fosters or volunteers, spread the word about its events, and raise much-needed funds.
The team pays attention to the needs of its cats and works hard to ensure they lead happy and healthy lives. Their current project is to build a White House where sunlight-sensitive cats can go outside in a screened-in area where they’re protected from the sun. From providing veterinary care to facilitating adoptions, the Cat House on the Kings does everything possible to care for its feline population.
“Any chance you have to spread goodness in the world makes your life and the lives you touch that much better,” Beth said. “By helping animals, you’re joining a movement of peace.”
When Lynea started taking in cats and kittens by the dozens, she realized she could do an incredibly good thing by opening her doors to animals in need. Now decades later, she runs a well-respected nonprofit that has saved more than 32,000 cats and 7,100 dogs. All it took was a little love and a lot of teamwork to give community cats, dogs, and other animals a better life.
You can become a volunteer at the Cat House on the Kings to support a good cause and be a friend to thousands of cats in California. Whether you turn out to an annual event or lend a couple hours of time on the weekends, this rewarding work can give you the opportunity to meet compassionate people who care about animals as much as you do.
“Animals give unconditional love — they don’t judge you or care about your political leanings — they just want to love you and make your life better,” Beth said. “That unconditional love is the greatest gift of all, and to share that with people means everything to us.”