Volunteer organization seeks adoptions for Waikoloa cats

Abaykitties has been working to get some of the cats from the Queens market adopted after the nonprofit was told to stop its trap, neuter and release efforts at the mall.

In April, the Department of Land and Natural Resources ordered the owner of the Waikoloa shopping center to remove all cat feeding stations from his property. The situation drew the attention of DLNR from concerned citizens who witnessed Nene eating from cat feeders.

The property’s owner, Alexander & Baldwin, has since removed the feeding stations.

Abaykitties and other cat activists have responded unfavorably on social media, claiming hundreds of cats will starve.

Abaykitties Director Dawn Garlinghouse met DLNR President Dawn Chang on April 25 during her visit to Waikoloa.

Chang reiterated that there would be absolutely no communal feeding of cats under any circumstances, Garlinghouse said.

“I was under the impression that (Governor) Josh Green was coming to discuss solutions, but that was not the case,” Garlinghouse said. “She wasn’t here to waive the subpoenas, she wasn’t trying to compromise and she wasn’t interested in humane ways to provide cats with food and water.”

According to Garlinghouse, Chang was only there to listen to the concerns and give his stance, which was contrary to Green’s previous public comments on the subject.

Garlinghouse has reached out to the governor’s office, but has received no productive responses.

“We were really disappointed and hopeful after Green’s comments that we could come to a compromise, but we learned that he is not going to respond to the cat issue. Anyone you reach out to will give you a canned response,” Garlinghouse said. “So now we are actively looking for places to put the cats and would love to talk to anyone with farms and ranches who might be interested in helping.”

Garlinghouse and volunteers have been working to find homes and rehoming cats that have been socialized with people, but Abaykitties has had to stop their trap, neuter and release program.

“It’s crazy to me that the solution to help the babies is to kill all the cats, and that’s it,” Garlinghouse said. “This is frustrating, because there have not been any injured babies in this mall. But they have been injured on golf courses where there are no strict rules or regulations regarding children.”

The DLNR has distributed flyers throughout Waikoloa and online to educate people about protecting native animals and warning about feeding feral cats and other non-native wildlife.

While there have been no solutions to help the massive cat population at Queens’ Marketplace, Garlinghouse and the volunteers will continue to help rehom and adopt as many cats as possible.

Abaykitties is working closely with Hawaii Aloha Animal Oasis, which is a non-profit dedicated to rescuing cats on the Big Island. The organization is raising money to open a sanctuary for socialized and non-socialized cats.

However, funds are still needed to make this goal a reality. Those interested in donating or learning more about Hawaii Aloha Animal Oasis can visit the website at hawaiiaao.org.

Email Kelsey Walling at [email protected].