The Wildcat Sanctuary

Rating: 4.95 stars   93 reviews

Issues: Animals

Location: PO Box 314 Sandstone MN 55072 USA

Mission: The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) is a 501c3 non-profit, no-kill big cat rescue located in Sandstone, MN. TWS provides a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspires change to end the captive wildlife crisis. TWS is funded solely on private donations. The Sanctuary is a home for animals, not a zoo for people and is not open to the public. Combining natural and spacious habitats with a life free of exhibition and exploitation, TWS allows all residents to live wild at heart. As a true sanctuary, we do not buy, breed, sell or exhibit animals.
Results: TWS provides natural sanctuary to over 125 wild cats. We provide large, free-roaming habitats that offer our residents to live wild at heart. Each animal can escape extreme weather in a temperature controlled den or central animal building. Every individual has the opportunity, often for the first time in their lives, to choose a path to walk and a place to lie down. After living in a small concrete cage in the backyard of a Texas home, Sabrina the tiger, now has a free-roaming habitat with grass under her feet, a pool with a fountain and a safe environment for the rest of her life.
Target demographics: wild, exotic and big cats of the captive wildlife crisis
Geographic areas served: National
Programs: No More Wild Pets Campaign, Sponsor a wild one program, Volunteer, Feed A Feline, Help us build Wild Woodlands
2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 22-3857401
320-245-6871
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

My husband and I have been donors to The Wildcat Sanctuary for many years now. We volunteer for another Wild cat sanctuary in another State where we live, so the best we can do to help such a wonderful organization and woman that we admire as Tammy is to give our support through donations. My husband uses his company matching program (X3) every year. We know how close Tammy is to all the cats and how much she cares for them. We love her news letter and website which brings us even closer to her and all the animals. We specially appreciate her handwritten personal thank you notes for our contributions.
We wish The Wildcat Sanctuary all the best and hope one day we can make it to help them as well.
Marie S

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2014

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been a fan and a donor of The Wildcat Sanctuary for about 10 years now. This organization is the epitome of what a exotic cat sanctuary should be. The care and love the cats receive is next to none and I am particularly fond of their ever expanding enrichment program. They also help educate people that these animals belong in the wild and not in our homes. If we are to save wild cats, we need to save where they live and not breed for captivity.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I can't think of a thing.

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2014

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

My first introduction to The Wildcat Sanctuary was in Isanti. I sponsored a big cat and along with that sponsorship came an exclusive tour of the sanctuary. On my ride up for the tour, I remember thinking, “I hope this is a reputable sanctuary and I won’t be disturbed by what I see.” I know that all “sanctuaries” are not what they claim to be. Sure the photos on the TWS website looked great, but websites may not be a true reflection of a place.

Upon arriving at TWS, I was thrilled to find out that Tammy Thies was giving the tour! The Executive Director and Founder of the sanctuary had made time in her day to spend with me! After that first visit to TWS I was moved by the mission of the organization, impressed by all they were doing for the cats and completely “wowed” by Tammy’s commitment and dedication. From that point on, TWS became a top favorite cause of mine.

Over the years, I have been a financial supporter of TWS as well as introduced others to TWS. Tammy possesses the expertise to lead the sanctuary into the future. She is respected nationally for her knowledge and skills, for which she is called upon frequently. Minnesota is very fortunate to be home to this sanctuary that not only provides the best home for life possible for formerly unwanted and abused big cats, but serves as a resource for the entire country. This has all been built and accomplished under the leadership of Tammy Thies.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not make any changes.

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2014

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been both a donor and a volunteer for TWS for many years. I’ve seen them go from a small organization in Isanti County years ago to the large, nationally recognized and accredited sanctuary they are today in Pine County, MN. Having been a Senior Keeper at one of the top sanctuaries in the country, I have had a lot of personal experience knowing what helps rescued wild cats thrive. For TWS, that has always been their #1 goal. Their cats enjoy huge natural, free-roaming habitats – something few sanctuaries have the luxury of providing. They receive excellent preventative veterinary care and no expense is spared when a cat is sick or in need. Habitat improvement, expansion, and new construction to provide even more for the cats is never-ending. When TWS went through a rapid growth cycle, there were management issues that could have been handled better. As with so many sanctuaries, it’s difficult to be an expert at caring for wild cats and be an expert business manager, too. But, new much-needed policies have been put in place to assure donors that sound business practice management is a priority. Many have watched the organization grow, watched the rescued cats thrive, watched the education and lobbying efforts pay off, and watched the social media fanbase top one million. For those, it’s been extremely rewarding to support this wonderful charity. For those who have just found TWS, I truly believe the best is yet to come!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change anything. I feel TWS is blessed to have an Executive Director/Founder like Tammy Thies who dedicates her life to the success and well-being of the cats there. Her expertise and caring is what drew me to the organization. She's been called on by regulatory bodies, wildlife commissions, various state and animal welfare organizations, as well as other sanctuaries as a consultant, lobbyist and speaker.

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2014

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I learned about The Wildcat Sanctuary almost 10 years ago. I've watched this sanctuary grow from having less than 20 rescued wildcats to now well over 100. What has impressed me the most is that they have stepped up to take in rescues when no one else would. They did so without fanfare, expecting nothing in return except the peaceful recovery of these abused, injured souls. Since they're not open to the public, since they are a true sanctuary of solitude, it's not as easy to raise the funds they need like other organizations and zoos. But they won't compromise the animals' need for peace, not to be disturbed by visitors. It means they work doubly hard to provide the wonderful habitats, the nourishing food and healthcare that their rescues need. The staff are all the most compassionate people I've ever met. They work through some of the harshest weather conditions, drive across the country and back, non-stop, to pick up rescues, come up with the most innovative and exciting forms of enrichment for their cats, take in some of the worst cases when no one else will, and do it all on a small, tight budget. Their dedication and drive to educate the public about the danger of having wild cats as pets is also impressive. I have been a donor to this organization for many years because I've personally seen a tiger that has been starved, nearly to death, now swimming, chuffing, running with reckless abandon, happy to be alive, all because of the keepers' love. The animals come first, no matter what, and that is what convinced me that this place is so special. I'm proud to be a supporter of such an amazing organization!

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Why did you make your donation at this time?

Winter is a tough time of year with the added expense of heating dens for all the wildcats. I know that the donations that help cover this mean the world to this organization.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

A great group whose priority continues to be what's best for the "critters".

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

At time of first contact with TWS they still offered sponsor tours, and that was all it took to convince me the cats were "in good (great) hands". Since that time, the facility upgrades, enthusiasm of the staff, cat updates, and the many events/fundraisers continue to indicate to me that providing the best possible environment for the cats is their #1 priority. A REALLY GREAT group/organization that i am happy/proud to support!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

The Wildcat Sanctuary does so much for so many animals with the most effective use of resources I've seen in my decades of philanthropy. I will never forget hearing the lead keeper describe how Sabrina the tiger, who was found unconcious after her (private) owner passed away and arrived at the Sanctuary terrified of people, turned to her one day and "chuffed" a greeting. Just one of many miraculous rescues they have accomplished. Truly a privilege to be connected to them.

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2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I first learned about TWS from the Best Friends magazine, after which I looked into the organization myself. Around the same time, I watched the documentary, "The Elephant in the Living Room," and I was so moved by plight of those captive wild animals and TWS' mission to not only find a better "home" for animals in similar conditions but to end the practice altogether that I immediately became a fan. I particularly like the fact that TWS is not open to the public, endeavoring instead to give those animals as close to a wild existence as they can get. They are no long gawked at or used as some sideshow exhibit to make money, but actually get the chance to be wild cats. I also checked TWS on Guidestar before donating, and it is a very transparent organization that puts donations to good use.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a longtime friend of Tammy Theis who started the Wildcat Sanctuary and have seen it continue to grow. It is amazing what Tammy and her staff do for these cats when the take them in and help give them as much as a fulfilling life they can. I have seen cats when they first arrive at the sanctuary and then months and years down the road. These cats have changed from being very scared, afraid and untrusting to very happy cats. I know this may seem weird to say but you can tell by their face how happy they are. You can tell they know they are safe! It's sad that there has to be Wildcat Santuaries out there, but they are amazing for the care they give these cats to help them through the rest of their lives. I can't say enough about this because The Wildcat Santuary is an amazing place for these cats!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I recently sponsored a serval named Mesa with the sanctuary. I have been getting emails sent to me that specifically give me updates on how she's doing with her enclosure mates and what she did with her recent enrichment. It's a lot of fun being involved in something you care about. Also, any non profit group that is able to with just one picture, convince me to give them $250 for a feline sponsorship is also going to get a five star review. Can't wait until I get to go there, and it is definitely in my book of potential careers

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Wildcat Sanctuary Is Doing Such Important Work With These Animals And Does NOT Allow The Cats To Be Exploited Like Animals In The Zoo. I Love The Enrichment Activity The Provide For Them And The Always Improving Habitat Space. I Love This NON PROFIT It Is My Favorite In Minnesota!

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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