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Welcome to The Wildcat Sanctuary

They will never know freedom.

Can they at least know compassion?

 The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) is a 501(c)3 non-profit rescue sanctuary located in Sandstone, MN. Funded solely by private donations, the sanctuary provides a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspires change to end the wildlife crisis. 

Our Mission

Provide a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspire change to end the captive wildlife crisis.

Our Vision

Help create a world where animal sanctuaries are no longer needed.

Combining natural and spacious habitats with a life free of exhibition, TWS allows all residents to live wild at heart. Each cat has the opportunity, often for the first time in their lives, to choose a path to walk and a place to lie down.

As a true sanctuary, TWS does not breed, buy, sell or exhibit animals. Committed to public education about the captive wildlife crisis, TWS seeks to create a world where animal sanctuaries are no longer needed. The sanctuary is not open to the public in order to assure true peace and tranquility for the cats.

Established in 1999, TWS is accredited by the American Sanctuary Association and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.  We are also licensed by the USDA and a member of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance. TWS is also rated as a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator.


Strategic Anchors

Human safety is always first
Treat all staff, donors and supporters as special as our cats
Go above and beyond to make our cats happy – always
–   Customize care for each resident
–   Keep our cats at “sanctuary weight”
–   Be proactive with medical care, husbandry, habitats and enrichment
–   Compassionate end of life decisions are a gift
Inspire advocates at every touch point


Why a Sanctuary is Needed 

Estimates are there are as many as 10,000 big cats in private ownership today in the United States. Sadly, exotic animals can easily be obtained through internet purchase, local breeders, game farms, or those just trying to dump them. There are more tigers in backyards across the country than in all zoos combined!

The exotic pet trade is second only to the billion-dollar trade in drugs. This trade causes more suffering for big cats than poaching and loss of habitat combined.


What We Do

Where do all these wild cats go when they’re surrendered, confiscated, rescued, or much more restrictive ownership legislation is passed?

As an internationally accredited sanctuary, TWS has earned a reputation for excellence in rescuing and providing life-long care for these wild cats in need, providing assistance to animal control officers, local sheriff departments, humane societies, the Dept of Natural Resources, and USFWS.

TWS works closely with an alliance of sanctuaries throughout the country to assure captive wild cats in need are also placed with other reputable facilities, when necessary.

TWS generates statewide public education and awareness through presentations to civic group events, issuing press releases, on-line newsletters and animal sponsorship programs.  We work to educate the general public on the safety issues surrounding the captive wildlife crisis and why wild cats do not make appropriate pets.

The vision and need for The Wildcat Sanctuary has garnered endorsements from the Minnesota Zoo and the University of Minnesota’s Veterinary Care Program.

How You Can Help 

Top ways you can help end the captive wildlife crisis:

·        Become a sanctuary volunteer or intern

·        Support TWS’ rescue efforts with your donations

·        Sponsor a wild cat at TWS

·        Educate and raise awareness about the captive wildlife crisis in your daily interactions

·        Do not patronize exhibitors, breeders or pseudo-sanctuaries

·        Research any sanctuary or self-proclaimed rescue organization before visiting or donating

·        Do not buy wild animals or take animals out of the wild to keep as ‘pets’

·        Adopt appropriate pets from your local humane societies and shelters

·        Lobby your local, state and federal official to ban the wild animal trade, private ownership of dangerous exotics, and captive breeding of wild animals