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Lynea Lattanzo would first like to clarify something.
"You can't really call me a crazy cat lady," she says.
Lattanzo is the founder of the Cat House on the Kings, a no-cage, no-kill, rescue and adoption sanctuary for cats in Parlier, California. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit has rescued over 28,000 cats in its 25 years of existence.
Today, the Cat House on the Kings houses nearly 800 adult cats and 300 kittens. Over a thousand cats saved.
Needless to say, a sanctuary of this scale calls for several hands on deck.
"We have a staff now of about 45. You have to be very on top of the job because you have a lot of cats to care for," Lattanzo, who takes her calling as a professional cat lady very seriously, says.
"No point in rescuing them if you can't take care of them."
In 1981, Lattanzo went through a "difficult divorce" from her husband.
Over 10 years later, she sold her two-karat diamond wedding ring and 1973 Mercedes 250 SL to provide a better life and home for her cats, whose population had grown to a daunting 150.
The "Our History" section on the sanctuary's website seems to say it all: "There would no longer be a need for those [the car and the ring] with the life she had chosen."
And she didn't stop there.
"It wasn't like I planned, 'Hey, I'll have a thousand cats. What a novel idea.' I [just] thought there’s always room for more," Lattanzo says.
Her heart, she claims, went out to cats with nowhere to go.
And she seems truly satisfied with the choices she's made in life, while acknowledging they stray from convention.
"This is not normal. [Some people might] say after a while: You know, I think I've done this enough. I think I'll go have a life now. I think I’ll go travel."
But beams Lattanzo:
"I'd rather have 800 cats than another man. I don't need a man in my life," she adds.
"Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt."
Watch Lynea Lattanzo on Great Big Story below.