Disability

Why I Want to Start a Cat Sanctuary Now

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This is a post about why I want to start a Cat Sanctuary now. There are many photos in this post, which I have described in the alt-tags. This post is not available in PDF, but a version of this will be available in my podcast. There is a vlog at the end of this post in which I talk about this idea and why it makes sense to me.

For vlogs and ongoing updates, join my Patreon.

Allright, so. 

Last I left you guys, I was going to start an Inn that at the heart would be an employment training center for people with disabilities.

It’d be a farm-to-table kind of deal and it would sweep across everything related to the production of food, the serving of it, job training, career development and hosting of retreats, and so forth. The post about all of it is linked here if you want a refresher!

I was going about my normal business of being a mom, healing from All The Grief that kind of drowned me over the past couple of years. And writing, and figuring out life after moving back to Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai’i.

Lots of pieces to put together in this puzzle that I’m pulling together of my life.

My mom (who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area but needs to move back to Hilo too, IMO) suggested that we go to the neighboring islands of Maui and Lana’i for the kid’s spring break this year. She’d meet us there, flying over from the Bay Area. This was exciting to me because in all my time living on the Big Island, I have never been to Maui or Lana’i (or any island except O’ahu for that matter, and there, usually just to change planes in Honolulu).

So it was a huge, “yay!” Super cool, lots of rad!

Maui was an experience and I’ll write about that someday, maybe. I take that back; I’m not likely to because I doubt I’ll ever have the time to.

But now, Lana’i.

Lana’i changed everything.

You see, Lana’i is this really isolated island community. There are only about 3.000 people on the whole island. It has one resort there, that’s it. It’s pretty cold there, too; cold by island standards anyway, and it feels like every house there is plantation-style (see my photo collection of the Houses of Lana’i).

It reminded me more of Blue Lake (in Humboldt County, California) than anything, really.

So, we were there on Lana’i and my mom said that she heard there was a Cat Sanctuary there, and asked if I wanted to go.

CAT SANCTUARY?!

And DO I WANT TO GO?!! (is the Pope still Catholic?!)

image description: read sign reads "Lanai Cat Sanctuary" and the dirt it is standing in is also red

So we went
image description: a girl in red dress reads an information display about the cat sanctuary. text from the display is not readable in the photo as it is too small

This is the deal:

The Lana’i Cat Sanctuary was started about 14 years ago by Kathy Carroll.

Feral cats were tearing into the native bird population and everyone was pretty unhappy it all. So she started first with 25 cats that had just been caught and were going to be put down. She took them and started the sanctuary just from that; establishing a place in which cats could be healed and thrive, and by doing so, also protect native birds.

image description: an orange cat looks directly into the camera
When I walked into that cat sanctuary, my heart kind of exploded
image description: a grey tabby cat sits on a plank of wood in a tree. the cat is looking at the camera
My kid's hearts were obviously exploding too!
two children's hands are by a cat, a child's hand is cupped around the cat, allowing the cat to smell his fingers; the child's hand is on the cat's head
image description: child sits on a bench with cats all around him
image description: girl in a red dress smiles as she feeds cats; many cats are crowded around her, hoping to get some of the treats
image: girl in red dress bends down with cats surrounding her. she is feeding them

My heart was exploding in the same way that it did when I first stepped off the plane in Kona in 2016, when we came back after Dada died.

My heart was exploding in the rightness of the place, the feeling of connection with it, a huge moment of realization:

YES! THIS!

All of the *THIS*

This is right and this feels good.

This gets into my pores and I connect with THIS.

I get this, this holds in my heart and THIS is what I want.

image description: a fluffy tabby cat looks into the camera
image description: a black cat walks in front of the camera and is looking at it

All of these points surged in my head and heart:

  • Hilo has a huge feral cat problem
  • Cats are incredibly soothing and healing for all people who love them
  • There is a MYRIAD of jobs and job training related to a cat sanctuary: holy cow, it’s mind boggling, how much work is involved and how many training programs could be integrated
  • CATS!!!!!!!
image description: a fluffy mixed color cat in a basket in a tree looks at the camera
image description: a girl with a red dress is playing with cat toys and a joy filled smile on her face
image description: a girl wearing a red dress plays with cat toys
image description: children run with cat toys and cats all around
image description: a cat lies on a plank of wood in a tree
image description: a cat cuddles in a basket
image description: cat in a cupboard peers out, the cat is grey
image description: a woman sits with a girl in front of a a red shed that reads "hope" on one side and "love" on the other. a cat is walking forward toward the camera
image description: a cat walks on a plank that links trees

MEOW!

This brings the lens of my focus into full clarity.

I can SEE how this can unfold, I SEE this now.

So, please join me in my journey in making this happen.

I’m posting videos over on Patreon and keeping it all together and going there, and I’d love it if you subscribed and joined.

If you prefer video, watch me talk about the cat sanctuary and why it makes so much sense to me!
image description: a tabby cat that looks like a small lion is on the ground facing the camera and looking away
See the Rewards I Offer on Patreon, But Most of All, Be a Part of Supporting Innovative Disability Work

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a cat-loving Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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