My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Wildcat Haven, Inc., Sherwood, OR, USA
I met Mike and Cheryl Tuller almost 15 years ago, when Cheryl contacted me asking for advice on how to handle living in a house with a teenaged bobcat. Instead of dumping him at my sanctuary, she volunteered, and while she was helping me, she learned what she needed to know to adapt to life with a bobcat. They fenced in their entire back yard and a huge covered porch to create a wonderful living area for him. Most sanctuaries start out as private owners who eventually see the need to rescue unwanted cats, and Wildcat Haven is only different in that they openly admit it as a caution to ther ‘would-be’ private owners.
Before WCH, the Tullers had a large, very nice, home in a new, upscale neighborhood in Tigard. When they sold it to purchase the land to build Wildcat Haven, their living conditions were downgraded considerably in every way, and from that point on, their lives and all the income from both of them working full-time jobs was channeled directly to building the sanctuary and caring for the cats. They are still living in the same house that was on the property, except now it also serves as a quarantine area for new cats, a hospital room for those needing close medical observation and attention, and until recently a food prep area.
Wildcat Haven operated as a USDA licensed facility for a number of years before receiving ASA accreditation, which does not allow buying selling, or breeding. Over the life of a sanctuary, changes must be made to accommodate growth, financing to be able to accept the continuous stream of rescues, and added veterinary costs of an ageing population of animals. While it is sad that this one part of the ASA accreditation requirement limits the ability to rescue some animals, Wildcat Haven has adhered to the policy. Occasionally when a sanctuary accepts a cat, it is discovered that a female is pregnant. This was the case many years ago with one of the servals donated along with several other cats, by a private owner who had to move out of state. Now when new cats are accepted they are taken to the vet for an examination, any treatment necessary, and they are spayed or neutered.
From the beginning, the decision was made to not display the cats to the public. It would have been a much easier and more financially lucrative decision for fundraising to open the facility to the public, if that is what their goal had been, but it was in the cats’ best interest to limit public contact. In fact, every decision along the way has been for the benefit and welfare of the cats. I know there are times when the Tullers couldn’t pay their own personal bills, but their focus was always on the cats, and the cats never went without anything they needed. The cages are all more than adequate in size, exceeding USDA requirements, built securely, kept incredibly clean, and filled with all types of enrichment for the cats. Tree houses, platforms, raised walkways, ramps, hammocks, pools, trees, logs, rocks, and toys are provided. The tiger’s area is huge and the caging, which exceeds both federal and state requirements for construction, is in the planning stages for even more expansion.
Wildcat Haven is a ‘work in progress’. It is ever changing with the needs of the residents. Wildcat Haven has surpassed anything I ever imagined at its humble beginning. It has been built on love, compassion, hard work, self-sacrifice, and a relentless drive to give these cats a safe, secure, comfortable lifetime home. I am so very proud of Mike and Cheryl for what they have done, and for what Wildcat Haven has become to so many cats in need.