“Crazy cat lady is so passe,” says Lynea Lattanzio as a way to begin describing herself. The many-cat owner is not kidding. Her Cat House on the Kings probably gives new meaning to the term cat lady, since she literally has thousands of cats and kittens she is taking care of all by herself from home. In fact, this cat lady has now given meaning to the phrase “going to the cats,” since her house is now dedicated to housing all the animals while she lives in a trailer. She does not live alone, mind you — she only has 20 kittens and four puppies living within her abode!
The Cat House on the King is California’s largest sanctuary for feral and abandoned cat. The five-bedroom home and six-acre property gives plenty of room for the true owners to run free all over. Over the last 24 years, Lattanzio estimates that she has lived with around 28,000 cats. What’s more, the Cat House on the Kings does not use cages and it is a no-kill sanctuary that even might meet PETA’s approval.
The self-proclaimed “eccentric cat lady” started her epic journey of collecting kitties back in 1992 after she divorced her husband. By the end of the year, she already had 96 cats, which is enough to be called a cat lady by most people. The medical costs associated with keeping the animals was fairly high, so in 1993 Lattanzio became a vet technician. As might be expected, the cats began to multiply like Star Trek tribbles.
“I’m at the top of the list of eccentric cat ladies – I don’t think there has been anyone who has lived with 28,000 cats in 24 years. That’s probably a record,” she said. “Back then I was single, had no kids and bought this 4,200 square foot home and thought what am I thinking.”
What started the interest in cat collecting? Besides wanting to offer a sanctuary to unwanted pets and feral cats, the cat lady was actually banned from owning a cat as a child by her mother. Nowadays, she’s practically tripping over them, since the Cat House on the Kings and its team of volunteers are watching over about 800 adult cats and 300 kittens. And that’s not including the dogs, puppies, and a handful of peacocks!
“I started taking in cats but it wasn’t my intention to have 1,000 plus cats – but it’s happened one step at a time,” she explained, according to Daily Mail. “I went from my five bedroom home with a swimming pool, bar and a view of the river to a 1,600 square foot mobile home with rusty metal. ‘When I moved to the trailer I swore it would be a cat free zone, but I currently have 20 kittens and four puppies in there. You can take the woman out of the shelter but you can’t take the shelter out of the woman.”
When the cat lady started her Cat House on the Kings, she paid for everything out of pocket for seven years. She even sold her car and wedding ring to fund the venture. Eventually, in 2002 the Cat House on the Kings was recognized as a non-profit, so she now has volunteers helping her, including a professional vet who comes out once a week to check the animals. According to WFTV, a donor helped expand the property by purchasing land nearby.
“I love cats because they’re independent, they’re beautiful and graceful,” she said. “If you’re interested in adopting, go to our website and fill out the adoption form – there are 500 for adoption that are friendly and ready to go.”
[Image via Cat House On The Kings/Facebook]