As a photographer focused on animals and wildlife, my introduction to WildCat Haven was several years ago, for a story I was doing for a national magazine. Due to the nature of my work, I've photographed at many places that call themselves sanctuaries, and I've seen it all--the good, and the horribly, abusively bad. WildCat Haven is one of the very few, TRUE sanctuaries: sanctuary defined as a place of refuge and protection. But, WildCat Haven exceeds just 'refuge and protection.' I've had the unique opportunity to be able to spend time getting to know WCH--the place, the cats, and the people--and there is no question that this place exists for no other reason than to give these cats a comfortable place to live out the rest of their lives. Wildcat Haven residents do not have to put up with hoardes of general public gawking and jeering at them. WCH residents are not overcrowded, or crammed into 10x20 stalls of stone and fencing. The cats do not pace back and forth in their enclosures. The residents at WildCat Haven live on grass (not concrete slabs), surrounded by natural forest. Their bellies are full, and they have the best daily care that any captive cat could ask for. Cheryl and Mike Tuller, and Renee (the head keeper) dedicate their lives to these animals. The place is immaculately clean (feces and dirty bedding is nonexistent and water buckets are always full), and enclosures cleaned out daily. The enclosures are larger than required by law. These cats are as happy as a captive cats can get. Owning and running a sanctuary is a selfless job--a job that is a result of the selfish human act of desiring to own and control a wild animal. There are no 'thank you's' in the life of an exotic animal sanctuary, and It takes hundreds and thousands of dollars to keep these places functional. The money raised by WCH, goes straight back into the well being of the cats--larger enclosures, vet care, food. Cheryl Tuller's dream is for each of her cats to have more space. Space takes dollars. Dollars don't grow on trees. So, if you are looking for a place to support, WildCat Haven is one of the very few true havens for captive wildcats-and if you get the unique chance to visit, it will impress you as a sanctuary, and it's residents will steal your heart. Thank you Mike, Cheryl and Renee; for doing the job you do.
Wildcat Haven is a vacant and run down property for sale per Zillow.com (31369 SW Heater Rd 97140). There is nothing left there except some empty cages and run down structures.
WildCat Haven is a sanctuary for wildcats that were sold by breeders as pets. Many of the cats come from homes where they suffered neglect, abuse, or abandonment. As a volunteer I have seen many cats come in underweight, rough coats, broken bones, and fearful. After good nutrition, vet care, and enrichment its often difficult to recognize that they are the same cat. I have personally witnessed the miracles that happen at WCH all made possible by dedicated volunteers, donors, and staff. Founders - Cheryl Tuller and her husband Mike - are two of the hardest working people I have ever met. They have poured their hearts into making a good home for cats that people just want to throw away. Of all the places I have volunteered for WildCat Haven is hands down the best!!!!!!
WildCat Haven provides a lifetime home for wildcats who have been abused, neglected, or nowhere else to go. I love the fact that it is a private sanctuary that does not display the cats in a zoo atmosphere. The director, Cheryl Tuller, is an amazing woman who I admire very much. The volunteers I work with are also top notch - everyone involved with the sanctuary puts the health and welfare of the residents first at all times.
2 of the best people I know are Mike and Cheryl. I have always wanted to start a sanctuary for wildlife (especially cats) but have been afraid to fail, not raise enough money, not take care of the animals in the best way and on and on and on. So I have high expectations of any non-profit I get involved with, thus why I choose WCH. The most passionate people with unsurpassed dedication. I have know them for over 10 years and can recall them taking a night off for themselves a couple of times in all of those years. They live modestly and do not have "frills" like most people must have to survive these days. That is why I never laughed so hard when I read the "review" saying they keep the money for themselves....hilarious if it wasn't written out of anger, bitterness, resentment or whatever other problem this person has. If people want to volunteer that is awesome and they can use the help, especially with fundraising. It is a great organization and well deserves praise, appreciation and help. Its a fun group and Mike and Cheryl are kind, fun but mostly dedicated to giving abused, mistreated and unwanted animals a good, well deserved retirement.
I have been involved with Wildcat Haven for several years now and am very proud to be associated with their organization. As a true sanctuary Wildcat Haven always does what is in the best interest of the cats in their care, which includes not being open to the public which would be stressful for the cats. The cats live in large, comfortable enclosures and are given the best in care. Wildcat Haven is a model for how to do a sanctuary right and always puts the cats first and I am honored to be involved in their organization.
Wild Cat Haven is a wonderful sanctuary for captive born wildcats. I had the immense pleasure of volunteering at Wild Cat Haven for three years and gladly tip my hat off to the wonderful facility they operate for the cats. Mike and Cheryl dedicate their lives to the cats and at much sacrifice for their own wants and needs.
I am very proud to be associated with Mike and Cheryl and call them friends and they are my heroes for sacrificing so much of themselves for the benefit of the cats.
as a volunteer at Wildcat Haven I have had such an experience that it would be hard to put into words, not only have Mike and Cheryl spent their life savings into making a warm and safe place for these incredible Animals, but they have....are....spending their lives for them! they work 24 hours a day to ensure that the Animals in their care are provided for, not just shelter or food, but that they live in an environment that would be as close as possible to what they would have in the wild....that's why they ask that their sanctuary not be open to the public..it's not a zoo, but a SANCTUARY for these big Cats that have lived in deplorable conditions and in some cases not knowing what snow feels like under their feet. Wildcat haven is a wonderful place i wish everybody could experience.
I have had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer for WCH's annual Sherwood Art in the Park event the past two years. There isn't enough room to share the wonderful work that Cheryl does with these animals. The thing I admire most is these beautiful cats are given a forever home once the come to WCH. And, they couldn't have a better forever home. It takes special people to run a sanctuary like this.
I met Cheryl Tuller who co-founded WildCat Haven when I attended a volunteer meeting in 2005. Cheryl and her husband Mike are the hardest working people I have ever met and have poured their time, money, and hearts into providing a good home for wildcats that are unwanted by the people who bought them thinking they would make a "great pet".
After I found out that WildCat Haven was not open to the public because many of the cats living there had been abused just increased my admiration for the Tullers. It would have been VERY easy for them to buy an accessible piece of property and make lots of money by charging admission to view the cats. Instead they kept it private which makes fundraising much more difficult because you are asking people to donate to something they can't see. However when people understand why WildCat Haven is private they always say that it should be this way.
As a 501C3 nonprofit organization all donation and grant money spending is overseen and approved by a board of directors. I think the world of Mike and Cheryl and all the volunteers at WildCat Haven. They are selfless, work hard, and are dedicated to providing these "thow away" cats the home they always should have had but didn't get the first time around.
Review from Guidestar
If a sanctuary's worth was measured by compassion & selflessness, Wildcat Haven would be the wealthiest sanctuary in the country.
Everyone associated with WCH constantly strive to make the residents lives better every day. Whether it's enrichment, nutrition, upgrading of enclosures, or veterinarian care, everything provided is above and beyond "standard"
In a perfect world, places such as WCH wouldnt be necessary. Until that happens, it's reassuring to know that legitimate sanctuaries such as WCH exist.
I don't know is making the negative comments, but clearly you have never been to the facility! First and foremost, tours are not given just because a check is written. I am an animal rights activist and would never support an organization that I didn't truly believe is helping animals. The Tuller's have dedicated their lives to these animals. They feed, care, clean and love these animals more than others I have known. The facility is large and the enclosures are very large....the cats have plenty of room to run, play, hide, etc. I know, I've cleaned out the enclosures and it's a full day job to do just a couple. The Tuller's home is tiny and minimalistic which is a clear indication that funds go directly to the animals. This couple does not vacation and seldom leaves the sanctuary which is what impressed me the most, their sacrifice to be with these rescues day in and day out. This couple and their facility are a blessing to these abused and neglected animals and I truly believe they are angels of mercy.
Seeing some of the negative comments on here makes me sick to my stomach. I have known the Tullers for five years now, and there is nothing more important to them than the well-being of the cats at their facility. I have been to a number of other facilities, and nobody else comes close to offering the love and devotion that they do towards their rescues.
These negative comments are from people who obviously hold a personal grudge against Mike and Cheryl. It's no secret that they had purchased BoBo in 2001. They readily admit it on their website. Like thousands of other people, they were duped into believing that he would be just like any other house cat. The difference between them and the thousands of other people is that they actually decided to do something about it. Over the past ten years they have devoted their lives to these cats. Yes, they made a mistake in purchasing BoBo ten years ago. But they have taken that one mistake and turned it into saving the lives of dozens upon dozens of cats who desperately needed them.
I volunteer a few times a year at the sanctuary, and I go home every night absolutely exhausted. They do that same work 365 days a year. And, to top it off, Mike holds a full time job just to help make ends meet at home. More than 50 cats who would otherwise be living horrible lives (if they would still be alive at all) are now thriving at WildCat Haven. Please read some of the stories of their rescues on their website. The stories will touch your heart.
You'll never find anyone as devoted as Mike and Cheryl at WildCat Haven. Their lives are the cats, and the cats are their lives. When Cheryl found out about my artwork over the internet, she approached me about possibly putting together a logo for one of their fundraisers. Being a lover of big cats, I was more than happy to help out in whatever way I could. We quickly struck up a friendship, which eventually led to me making a visit to the sanctuary, even though I live more than 1300 miles away. I still do my best to make it up there a couple of times every year to do anything I can to help out in person. And I'm always happy to fulfill any artwork needs they may have. What WildCat Haven does for these rescues is beyond incredible. Each and every volunteer at the sanctuary is devoted to providing a better life for the cats. The energy and enthusiasm that Mike and Cheryl provide is contagious, and the amount of work that gets done both on a daily basis and from year to year is simply amazing. It's hard to believe that I've only known them for a little over three years, because the improvements to the sanctuary over that time have been nothing short of incredible. The background stories of the residents at WildCat Haven may very well break your heart, but the stories of those same cats since their arrival at the sanctuary will warm your heart even more. The fact that WildCat Haven has been able to so completely transform the lives of their residents is only magnified when you consider the tight budget with which they have to work. Unfortunately, the cost of providing the care these cats deserve does not come cheap, and, for every heartwarming story at WildCat Haven, there are many other heartbreaking stories out there. Every single donation, large or small, will help to transform the lives of these cats and help those heartbreaking stories become heartwarming ones.