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 one of the best facilities in the U.S. for exotic animals in need! Their excellance in animal care, and providing safe haven for these abused, unwanted, other wise displaced exotic cats, exceeds over and above animal care standards. They have the animals best interest at heart, and show dedication, and loving care to all the exotic cat residents at their facility.
WildCat Haven is one of the best sanctuaries in the United States! They are completely dedicated to all the animals, and work very hard to ensure all of them have the life they so deserve! When Tiger Paw Rescue Center in Ohio need a forever home for two of the tigers in their care, WildCat Haven stepped up to help us! They have introduced us to a great group of people that have helped some of the big cats at Tiger Paw Rescue Center, with Vet & Dental Care, a very expensive service...I might add, and provided Nora & Katie with a forever home for the rest of their wild lives! We commend them for all their hard work and dedication, and this organization is well deserving of financial support, with your donations, you can make a difference in the life of a wildcat! Apply for a sponsorship and help, they truely deserve it!
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.
I've known Cheryl for years and she truly cares about the animals not about making a name for herself but about caring for the ones in need. She is there to be a voice for those who can not speak to give a safe home for those who have been uprooted and lost their homes. She does all she can to keep them safe and provide a stable enviorment for the uprooted and abused. She is an honest caring person and the needs of the animals are her main concerns, not just the ones she has taken in but any in need that she can help if possible.
WildCat Haven is a remarkable facility where the animals come first. No matter where the cats have come from – a neglected home or arrive as a last-chance stop – these animals thrive under the enriching care and of the Tullers. Darlene Alexander, Winston, Oregon
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.
As an accredited sanctuary Director and former American Sanctuary Association Board member I stand behind the work of Wildcat Haven. Their income is a fraction of that of rescues around the country and their 990 and other tax records confirm that donated funds go direclty to the care of the cats.
The Directors of Wildcat Haven live quite modestly and one Director has a full-time job to provide for the Sanctuary.
But please don't take my word for it, please do your own homework with any organiztion you give to. Please review their 990 here and contact Wildcat Haven directly to ask all and any questions you have. I know they will be happy to answer them. If you compare Wildcat Haven to other wild cat rescues, you will see their budget is much smaller and more of their money goes to program costs.
Review from Guidestar
I personally knew Cheryl Tuller before she started her non profit organization. To quote her directly she told me "she had to do this to support her habit". If one looks into USDA records you will clearly see she was a Breeder for a number of years prior to changing to exhibitor(at my suggestion). In fact she was a breeder while a non profit in the early years.In my opinion, due to lack of support and obvious contradiction she switched categories. At one point she even offered to sell me an ocelot which was born on her premises. To my surprise she actually ended up turning on the owner of the ocelots, similar to how she turned on our friendship. I also believe she also bred and sold Serval kittens while a Non profit to a breeder in Nevada. I believe in doing good for the benefit of the animals no matter what. Cheryl has showed me that she is judge and jury, and holds the animals welfare second. I am disappointed and sadden by my loss of her friendship but glad to have found out, better late than never.
Review from Guidestar