Maui Humane Society & Lanai Cat Sanctuary Announce Exchange Partnership to Save 200 Lahaina Fire Cats

(Pu’unene 11/14/23) Having just passed the 3 month mark since the deadly Lahaina wildfires, Maui Humane Society and Lanai Cat Sanctuary have announced a new partnership to solve the unique challenge of finding homes for traditionally “unadoptable” cats that survived the fires. These are cats who lived outdoors in Lahaina and have been rescued from the toxic burn zone, and are now living in temporary housing at Maui Humane Society.

Maui Humane Society runs a robust Community Cat Program that promotes Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) as a humane method of controlling the outdoor cat population. In the case of the unsocialized Lahaina cats, there is no community for them to return to. Alternatively, Lanai Cat Sanctuary provides a 4-acre home to 750 social and unsocialized cats, which is the perfect environment for Maui’s fire cats.

The exchange program transfers 200 unsocialized cats from Lahaina to Lanai Cat Sanctuary and transfers 200 socialized cats to Maui Humane Society for adoption and transfer. MHS has a lifesaving transfer program with shelters throughout the continent who are willing to accept Maui’s animals for adoption. This transfer program, called Wings of Aloha, is sponsored by the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation.

“This life-saving partnership with Lanai Cat Sanctuary is an innovative solution to a complex challenge – to find live outcomes for the hundreds of outdoor-socialized cats who cannot be returned to the only home they have ever known. Not long ago, these cats and others like them would have been euthanized, and this partnership is a testament to our shared commitment to the most vulnerable survivors of the August wildfires.” says Dr. Lisa Labrecque, CEO of Maui Humane Society. 

“For more than a decade, I have advocated for systemic solutions to improving animal welfare in which each organization plays to its strength,” says Lanai Cat Sanctuary Executive Director Keoni Vaughn who has worked 20 years in animal welfare and animal law enforcement. “Rescues and sanctuaries should be designed to save unwanted, unsocialized animals that are not suitable for home placement. Shelters must specialize in high volume adoptions and spay and neuter. This is how lives are saved and we have the resources and experience in socializing feral cats and housing them for life in conditions better than where they originated from.”   

If you are interested in adopting a cat from the Lahaina fires, please contact Maui Humane Society at


About Maui Humane Society 

Maui Humane Society is the island’s only open admission shelter, accepting all animals in need. The  organization cares for over 4900 animals a year. The shelter has a robust foster and volunteer program,  transfers hundreds of animals through Wings of Aloha flights to adoption-guaranteed homes, practices  TNR as a humane method of reducing the community cat population and provides food and supplies at  no cost to disadvantaged pet owners through the 4EverPets community outreach program. The organization is currently operating rescue and relief efforts for animals and owners impacted by the devastating Lahaina wildfires. Visit for more information.

About Lanai Cat Sanctuary

Lanai Cat Sanctuary is the only animal rescue and resource on the island of Lanai established in 2009 that cares for over 750 cats daily. In addition to saving cats, LCS protects the island’s native bird population by removing cats from nesting grounds. With a staff of 15, LCS maintains 4 acres of land and buildings including housing for elderly and sick cats. A veterinarian is flown in almost weekly to perform sterilization surgeries and health checks using a state-of-the-art mobile veterinary clinic. LCS serves the Lanai community by rescuing and housing free-roaming cats on the island. Each year, more than 16,000 visitors from all over the world come to the Sanctuary. LCS is the number one attraction on Lanai.