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.
I'm sick to my stomach reading some of the slander that's being said here. I know how much Mike and Cheryl have sacrificed since making the common error of purchasing one of these animals from a breeder way back when. I've witnessed their dedication first-hand and have personally contributed my sweat and hours to helping construct a new enclosure for some of their residents. Don't try and tell me lies because I'm there; I see what goes on and I see how much effort, time and energy goes into providing the best possible situation for these cats. Nothing is built until the funds for the project are available. Mike alone puts in a full 40+ hours of employment at a "day" job, then spends all his waking hours working on the sanctuary. The guy barely ever sleeps. We're out working 8 hours in the pouring rain if that's what needs to be done because the cats can't go without any of their necessities. The allegations of donations going to line their pockets is not only absurd, it's factually inaccurate and borders on a legal repercussion to the person making such statements. The facility is closed to the public because that's what is best for the cats. They could pimp them out to rake in the dough but that's NOT WHY THEY DO WHAT THEY DO. Whoever is behind these attacks on these people who have given their very existence up to care for these animals is both misinformed and frankly, pathetic.
WildCat Haven has grown from humble beginning to a wonderful place for the rescues that they have. All of the folks involved love what they do and put their heart & soul into the mission. Wish sanctuaries weren't necessary but until breeding and selling wildcats is stopped true sanctuaries are needed for abused wildcats.
WildCat Haven is to be commended for their amazing work. They are the only sanctuary in the Pacific Northwest that focuses their rescue work on smaller breed wildcats. They have over 50 rescues on site, representing 5 different species: cougar, bobcat, lynx, serval, caracal, and hybrids as well. It's heartbreaking work. The rescues--who were either purchased as pets or lived at fur farms--arrive at the sanctuary frightened, malnourished, some have broken bones, and by the look in their eyes--most have lost hope. The founders and volunteers work very hard to restore their health, trust, and mental and emotional wellbeing. They are fed high quality food, loved and nurtured, and provided natural surroundings in which to live. Food alone--for one month--costs $3,000. Materials for a single enclosure can cost up to $16,000. Funds are always desperately needed to ensure these precious cats can continue to receive the best care possible. Through no fault of their own, these cats have endured neglect, abuse and abandonment. At WildCat Haven these cats have been given a second chance. Please help us help them and donate today--you can make a difference for the wild at heart! Thank you!