By Samantha Grillo @_samanthagrillo
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Videographer / Director: Ruaridh Connellan
Producer: Samantha Grillo, Nick Johnson
Editor: Ian Phillips
Sixty-seven-year-old Lynea Lattanzio now lives in a trailer on her six acre property and allows the cats to run freely through the five bedroom house.
She started fostering cats in 1992 and acquired 96 by the end of the year - successfully rehoming all of them.
In 1993 she became a veterinary technician to help keep the animals’ medical costs down and the number of cats continued to grow.
Today she runs Cat House On The Kings which is California’s largest no-cage, no kill sanctuary for feral and abandoned cats.
Lynea said: “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.
“Back then I was single, had no kids and bought this 4,200 square foot home and thought what am I thinking.
“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.
“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.”
Lynea started her sanctuary herself without any outside financial help at the time.
She said: “When I first started this endeavor, it was out of my own pocket for seven years.
“I sold my car, I sold my wedding ring.”
Today, Lynea and her team of volunteers care for about 800 adult cats and 300 kittens.
The team starts feedings at the shelter at 4am and they also give medical attention to critically ill cats.
“We have an ICU and a vet that comes once a week to check our animals.”
And as much as Lynea loves the cats her aim is to find them new homes, not to keep them for herself.
“I love cats because they’re independent, they’re beautiful and graceful.
“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.”
To learn more about adoptions at Cat House On The Kings visit http://www.cathouseonthekings.com