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Central California Life Magazine

Fresno-Area's The Cat House on the Kings: "The Lady with 700 Cats"

Mar 06, 2017 05:07PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Tammy Barker, The Cat House's Assistant Shelter Director, and her sweet pets.

The Cat House on the Kings is a Fresno-area nonprofit animal shelter that takes in cats and finds them forever homes. Not only is it a shelter, however. It's a 12-acre no-cage,no-kill sanctuary where dogs and cats alike can enjoy the scenery. 

Karen's cat, Alex: 
"Adoption Day - Alex sat in 
my hat while we filled out all 
the paperwork - they take 
adoption VERY seriously."

So many people have come to The Cat House to find their pets. In fact, Central California Life Magazine's publisher, Karen Smith-Maroot, found her sweet cat Alex there. "I had a cat years ago but always considered myself a dog person. Alex has changed all of that. He has each member of our family around his little paws! He fetches his mouse when he wants attention and gives us all love - we are nuts about him." 

It started 25 years ago. Director and founder, Lynea Lattanzio, was looking for a kitten for her father at the local pound. She ended up bottle feeding a litter of kittens. She also helped these kittens find homes, afterwards realizing that there was more that she wanted to do. 

The Cat House began out of Lynea's home (see the video below with the whole story) and since then, over 24,000 cats and 7,000 dogs (not counting the 40,000 animals they have spayed and neutered!) and currently care for more than 700 cats and kittens, a dozen or so dogs and a handful of peacocks. 

Lynea's mission to help animals has inspired many to follow in her path. Tammy Barker, their Assistant Shelter Director, started by fostering and volunteering in 2002 and found herself inspired by the organization, "I quit my job to work for The Cat House on the Kings and help Lynea, the founder." She also manages Fresno Petco Adoption Center and is on the Board of Directors. 

Despite its business name, The Cat House also accepts dogs and other animals. "We have rescued over 6,000 dogs and truly love them, also," Tammy told us. She also noted that most people have a misperception of their facilities. "The grounds are beautifully kept, the cats are healthy, happy and clean. We have 40 employees who work hard to keep it that way."

Founder Lynea still lives on the property and answers the shelter phone every day. Her tireless work never seems to end, she is always willing to help people who call with their cat problems. Tammy says of Lynea, "She actually cares about what happens to the cats and wants the best life for them." 

The Cat House also spends hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own funds to help the public with spay/neuter, as well as help treat injured animals. They are a staple in the area and have provided so many with happy pets.

One of Tammy's favorite moments working at The Cat House so far was filming the Lady with 700 Cats. "It was so much fun and we were very hopeful that we might get a series about us. It really helped people to understand what we really do and how hard we work to make a difference in the lives of so many cats and dogs every day."


For The Cat House, their long term goal is to facilitate for free spay/neuter for all pets. This is to help reduce the over population and needless killing of unwanted cats and dogs. They do their best to try and focus on spay/neuter grants to help the public, as well as to educate the community on why its important. 

They have 2 open house fundraising events a year where they essentially throw a huge party and invite the public to come visit, listen to music, and tour the facility. At these events is also an outstanding silent auction and raffle. This year the Spring event is May 6th 10-2, 2017 Spring Open House ~ Cat House on the Kings. They are looking for donations for the auction and volunteers to help with the event. Volunteer and foster opportunities are also available. 

2017 Spring Open House  Cat House on the Kings - start May 06 2017 1000AM

2017 Spring Open House ~ Cat House on the Kings: May 6, 2017 10:00AM

CELEBRATE SPRING AT THE CAT HOUSE ON THE KINGS! Twice a year, we open our doors for a wonderful fundraising event ... guided tours of our 12-acre cat rescue and sanctuary along the Kings ... Read More » 

Visit their website and Facebook page to learn more about becoming part of the auction and/or volunteering.