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 few accredited sanctuaries in the US. , rescuing abused and neglected big cats. These cats are not on display to the public, but rather live their lives in a beautiful, natural setting with the best food, veterinary care, love and compassion so denied them in the previous lives. Cheryl and Mike Tuller do a wonderful job of caring for these magnificent felines.
I have had the privilege of being involved with WildCat Haven for several years in different capacities--onsite work, events, fundraising, working with the public. It continues to be an honor to promote the good work being performed by this sanctuary. And they are a TRUE sanctuary in that they do not buy, breed, sell or exhibit their rescues--and they are NOT open to the public. The well being of the cats is the first priority. The rescues receive the best care possible--veterinary care, shelter and food. Unlike so many sanctuaries and shelters, your donations go directly toward the care of the cats. WCH has only ONE paid staff--an animal care technician. I encourage everyone to support the good work of WildCat Haven!
John Ruskin, the famous English critic, essayist and reformer said "What we think, or what we know. or what we believe in is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do." What we do. Walking the talk...and that is what Mike and Cheryl Tuller of Wildcat haven have been doing since I met them 8 years ago. These two speak little and act a lot. Their passion has always been about the cats, and what they can do to help these animals, unable to be released due to their life in captivity, live a healthy, unecumbered and peaceful existence. Every decision I have seen them make, bar none, has had a question in front of it. The question is "what is truly best for the cats?" These people and this sanctuary sets a standard for kindness and unselfishness toward animals that we all can learn from. It's an honor to be affiliated with this sanctuary.