Message from our Founder – Counting our blessings and overcoming our challenges!

By | December 20, 2016 at 2:42 pm | No comments | Blog

This time of year, I’m guessing your email is full of holiday messages from good and compassionate organizations. I know it can be hard to tell one organization from the next.

The Wildcat Sanctuary’s a small, but mighty organization, making a big impact thanks to YOU! I’ll be honest, as a very rural sanctuary and operating on a much smaller budget than many other big cat sanctuaries, it does have its challenges. But it also has plenty of blessings – your support being the top blessing of all!

So what are the things that set The Wildcat Sanctuary apart from others?

  • You’ve chosen to stand behind the idea of providing an incredibly natural sanctuary for the cats, closed to public tours. It’s important for rescued cats to have time to heal and make their own choices. Being closed for public tours is rare and poses a fundraising challenge. We don’t profit from tour admissions, gift shops, overnight stays, etc. like many other sanctuaries. And yet our cats live wonderful lives. Thank you for making that possible!
  • You’ve helped us become a leading sanctuary in the industry, with accreditations both by The Global Callie snowman collageFederation of Animal Sanctuaries and the American Sanctuary Association. On our last inspection, we were told it was one of the best sanctuary sites they’d visited! High praise indeed for all the hard work you help support here!!
  • Of the top 10 leading big cat sanctuaries, we’re in the top 4 in terms of the number of wild cats we care for, 109 residents. And yet we manage to operate on a budget less than half of other sanctuaries our size – and even sanctuaries housing far fewer wild cats. That shows how far your donations go here!
  • Each resident receives individualized care – physically and emotionally. They’re treated as individuals by us and by you. We know you celebrate each one’s rescue as much as your heart breaks when each one passes to their forever wild life.  You’re as important to each cat as you are to each of us.
  • Even with a modest budget, every resident here is able to enjoy large, open space habitats all year long. Even the smaller cats, like bobcats, servals and lynx, live in free-roaming habitats.  Every large, natural area includes several climbing structures, trees, caves, hammocks, in-ground pools and access to temperature-controlled areas for their comfort. Aren’t you proud you’ve been able to help provide all of this for them? We are!
  • Being located in a very rural area of northern Minnesota is certainly challenging! It provides peace andquiet the cats deserve – our first priority. But, it’s a commuting challenge for volunteers and vendors. Caretaking staff have all relocated to the area, insuring the cats receive 24/7 care.  Though cell phone service and internet is pretty unreliable, our volunteers manage to bring the sanctuary to you through videos, social media and website postings. Having you with us every day this way is so important!
  • This is one of the few sanctuaries located in a cold climate. Though other facilities may provide dog houses or caves for their cats for protection, the cats here have indoor, heated buildings – a much more expensive option. Electricity runs to every habitat, making sure there’s power for heat lamps, heated water bowls and back-up generator systems.  Your support makes sure the cats have a warm place all winter long.
  • Since we don’t have any government contracts for rescues or transporting cats, the general operations budget you donate toward helps when a cat’s in need. By helping keep the rescue fund full all year long, you assure no animal has to wait for emergency appeals to be rescued.
  • When you respond so well to fundraisers, special programs and projects for the cats, it’s important you get to celebrate when milestones and goals are met. You’re the cats’ best cheerleader. That’s why you’ve made transparency and immediate feedback such an important goal for the sanctuary!
  • While other organizations may have grant writers, professional public relations and paid social media staff, the magazines and appeals you receive from us come from myself and a couple of generous volunteers who donate their time. When direct mail companies charge so much that only 15% of each $1 you donate goes to the animals, that’s just not something we know you want. Having an open dialogue with you this economical and efficient way sets us apart.
  • There’s greater strength in numbers and I know you want us to rescue as many as we can. Collaborating with other big cat sanctuaries, providing guidance and on the ground support during rescues is part of our DNA. Working alongside many reputable sanctuaries is the best way to accomplish so much. It’s the bigger picture that counts – how many are saved in the long run.
  • Education is truly the only way we’ll stop the captive wildlife crisis we face today. By sharing our posts, blogs Max in winterand videos, you’ve set us apart as a leader in educating the public about wild and exotic cat issues. There’s no shaming of people who’re just discovering the problem even exists. You help educate in a civil, informative and even entertaining way day after day, helping us have the largest social media following of any sanctuary in the country!

I hope you feel good about the extraordinary work you’ve helped us accomplish, with one of the smaller budgets in the industry. Nearly 20 years ago, I didn’t realize how much was possible when The Wildcat Sanctuary was just an idea. Now that it’s a reality, you and the help you offer continues to amaze me every day.

Thank you for all you do, making the holidays so bright for so many.  Your support allows us to accomplish so much.

You are our biggest blessing of the year,

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Tammy Thies

Founder & Executive Director

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