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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Wildcat Sanctuary

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Zoos & Aquariums

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

Community Stories

32 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can't say enough good things about The Wildcat Sanctuary! Each time I go, I am so touched by the love the staff and volunteers show towards these beautiful cats. They are always working to better the lives of the cats and to make room for more so that other mistreated animals will get the chance to live out there lives with respect and love!

Review from Guidestar

1 Susan M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had opportunity to volunteer at TWS last summer and the experience really opened my eyes to the amazing work this organization does. From medical attention to nutrition to living structures - great attention has been given to ensuring these beautiful animals have a high quality of life for the remainder of their years. I am so glad this organization exists - both for the sake of the animals in their care and for the education they provide to the public on the issues and needs facing wildcats today.

Review from Guidestar

2 Sandra O.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for a 1-day work day at TWS a couple of years ago. After our workday we were given a tour of the sanctuary which was extremely interesting. The planning that goes into providing proper nutrition for each of the cats along with the designs of the habitats and their medical care is top notch. Also TWS goes to great lengths to educate the public at large about not trying to keep wild cats as pets. TWS is not open to the public so the only way people can see the big cats is to be a part of a work day crew and even then TWS is careful about who is allowed to be a part of those crew days. I am glad there are places like TWS for these big, beautiful creatures to live out their lives and not be exploited.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi! The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN has a great story to tell. It is an amazing place with all of the great work it has done since it has been open. I have volunteered on a couple of work days. The work has been good and you really feel good to give back to this important endeavor. I have also attended a few of the fundraising events. It is great to see and hear the positive ways that the Wildcat Sanctuary has given and gives to so many cats -big and small, a second chance at life. The cats have a chance to have a space that they can roam, play, and enjoy the life that they deserve. They get the medical care and appropriate nutritional food that helps them grow and survive with dignity. Tammy Thies, the staff, the volunteers and all of the support given from donations do make a great difference and saves lives of these special wildcats.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been a volunteer and donor of The Wildcat Sanctuary for over 13 years. I’ve seen them grow from their original location near Isanti with about 20 cats to their current location with over 100 cats. From their humble beginnings to their current facility with large free roaming habitats, they have always gone the extra mile to see that each animal has all their needs met in the most natural environment. I’ve had the great opportunity to work with the small bengal cats in cleaning habitats and providing enrichment for them. TWS does so much in educating the public about the captive wildlife crisis. Tammy Thies is an excellent spokesperson on this topic. And even though they are not open to the public, they are great in using social media to keep their supporters informed - if one has the time, one can get to know each cat personally through the TWS website.

I have first hand experience with the organization so I have no hesitancy donating to this organization since I know that every dollar will be so well spent.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a long time volunteer and donor it is very satisfying to see how and where my money and time is being utilized. Having a diverse Board of Directors, excellent Vet with on-site hospital and a partnership with the U of M and relationship with the Minnesota Zoo makes this a Top Notch Sanctuary. Every cats needs are met whether it be diet, enclosures or daily enrichment by the knowledgeable staff and interns. Proud to be a part of it. Thank you.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered at least 4 times for day-long work days at TWS and continue to be amazed at the quality of medical and nutritional care, attention to detail, personalized plans/habitat/enrichment that each and every cat receives. These folks have an unwavering focus on the cats and their care and are passionate. Further, they educate the public through social media channels to change attitudes around keeping wild animals as pets or props for profit. They live up to their reputation as global experts in collaboration with other sanctuaries, students who want to intern/learn how to care for these animals and partner rescue groups. I'm proud they call MN home and that I can donate, volunteer and support TWS.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at The Wildcat Santuary a number of times, and always look forward to my next trip. The animals are all referenced by name and a member of their family. Concern for them is evident by the way they are meticulously cared for with their surroundings and health assessments. The updates given in emails are heartwarming and sometimes tearful, but always heartfelt. Praying they keep funded to continue their important work.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a long-time volunteer at The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS), I have witnessed the natural, spacious and well-kept enclosures provided to each of the more than 100 residents. The TWS staff truly care about the physical and emotional well-being of its cats; it’s a delight to see the many cats enjoying challenging and fun enrichments, made by dedicated volunteers.

Even though offering public tours would provide a steady stream of revenue, TWS is not open to the public. This preserves the dignity of the cats and ensures the grounds remain a peaceful safe haven.

TWS has built much support and public awareness. TWS has nearly three million fans on Facebook and uses social media not only to build support for the sanctuary, but to raise awareness of the captive wildlife crisis through its No More Wild Pets campaign.

The staff at TWS learn the personalities of each cat, and with their broad knowledge of felines, this gives them the ability to recognize even the slightest change in their behaviors. When medical care is warranted, staff take immediate action with the TWS veterinarian and seeks further outside services as needed.

Minnesota is very fortunate to be home to this sanctuary that provides the best home-for-life possible for formerly unwanted and abused big cats.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for the Wildcat Sanctuary and have had an opportunity to tour the property and meet the director and staff on several occasions. The mission of the Wildcat Sanctuary is critical. The staff and volunteers are simply the best. I know that the animals are well cared for and all of their needs are met.

It is a privilege to have The Wildcat Sanctuary here in Minnesota.

Review from Guidestar

2 Tracy K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization truly deserves recognition for all that they do and for that which they have accomplished. Their philosophy and goals are mirrored in all that they do, not merely words. I am honored to help in whatever manner I can at this sanctuary, as the dedication of staff, interns & other volunteers is a reflection of true compassion for these animals, not as ownership, but genuine care for their needs and best interest. In addition to the hard work & endless demand of caring for these cats & others in need, the Director & staff make very effort to make opportunity to help educate the public on the problems caused by the exotic pet trade and their repercussions. This is an organization that I hope to be involved with as long as I am capable!

1 Laurie27

Volunteer

Rating: 5

TWS is an amazing place with such dedicated staff and volunteers. Although each cat has a sad tale, they are the lucky ones to end up at TWS. Love their commitment to give all their cats wonderful enclosures and enrichment. Love the effort they put into promoting the sanctuary through social media with their FB posts, videos, PSA's, etc. Also, they are a leading and credible voice in the effort to ban exotic pets.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

An awesome place for exotic cats. Simply the best of the best. Donate Donate Donate and help those animals in need Please.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just learned of the Wildcat Sanctuary through a friend. What they are doing for the wildcats is awesome. The no-kill cat rescue in Sandstone sounds like a safe haven for these cats. I especially am impressed with the free roaming habitats they supply so the cats can live the wild at heart. I know these cats are safe there. AMAZING!

Sousaphonish

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned at The Wildcat Sanctuary in 2011 and have kept up with the sanctuary ever since. The work they do for the cats is fantastic, as well as their efforts in raising awareness about the captive wildlife crisis and related current events. The Wildcat Sanctuary is a place where the best interest of the animals is the final determining factor in every decision. Despite the sanctuary being closed to the public, they keep their supporters engaged in the cats' lives with frequent updates to their website and various social media pages. They inspire people to care about cats they can never meet, which is a truly impressive feat. Interning at the sanctuary changed my career goals and increased my participation in animal advocacy. I plan to continue to support this sanctuary as long as it exists. Hopefully someday their mission will be accomplished and we'll run out of captive wild animals needing to be saved!

Terri U.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I fell in love with the Wildcat Sanctuary from the moment I heard about it. Within a week, I had attended a volunteer orientation and was volunteering at my first event. The TWS mission is to, "Provide a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspire change to end the captive wildlife crisis." Everyone associated with TWS believes that wild/exotic animals belong in the wild, and dedicates their time to living that mission. No More Wild Pets. Keep the wild in your heart, not in your home.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an incredible group of like-minded people I have been around in a long time. The dedication everyone has for the cats and exotic animal trade problem is inspiring.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering since I was a small child and The Wildcat Sanctuary is by far one of the best groups I have ever worked with. The volunteer "staff" is like family to each other and we are all so proud to be associated with this organization. TWS is run with an incredibly high degree of professionalism and humanity; the staff is truly in tune with the animals we care for and it is a joy to be a part of something that makes a difference for the lives of these animals. Not only does TWS assist in rescuing and caring for wildcats of all shapes, sizes and colors, we also educate the public on the captive wildlife crisis and play a role in current and future legislation on this matter. We don't like that there is a need for places such as ours but until the day comes when all wildcats are left to be wild, The Wildcat Sanctuary is truly a slice of kitty heaven here on earth.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer on-site at The Wildcat Sanctuary once a month and also occasionally work at a booth during an event off-site. Every dollar and volunteer hour that I have seen offered to TWS has been taken gratefully and used to its fullest advantage to help the cats. I can honestly say that this organization is 100% about putting all of their effort towards providing the best life possible for their residents as well as spreading knowledge to end the captive wildlife crisis.

Michelle52

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with the sanctuary for about a year and a half. I always look forward to heading out there. My only regret is that I don't live closer so I could go more often. They do wonderful work providing forever homes for wildcats in need and educating the public about the captive wildlife crisis.

Stephanie M84

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned at The Wildcat Sanctuary and they are a wonderful organization who is focused on taking amazing care of their resuced cats as well as public education about the captive wildlife crisis. The staff will do anything for their cats and are constantly raising funds to improve cat enclosures. As an intern I was able to make many unique enrichment items that I had never seen given to big cats before but was clearly enjoyed by them. The creative and forward-thinking staff take this charity to the next level.