Frequently Asked Questions


WHY WAS CEDARHILL ESTABLISHED?

Cedarhill was established as a home for animals with nowhere else to go. They have come from all over the country and all have their own special life story. Some are disabled or come to us with major health issues, while others come from a life of abuse, neglect, or other horrible cases of human negligence. The sanctuary officially started after the rescue of Zack, the cougar, and since then, hundreds of animals including lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, wolves, bobcats, horses, deer, goats, dogs, domestic cats, rabbits, pigs, parrots, and chickens have found safety at Cedarhill.

You can read more about how Cedarhill started here.

WHERE DO THE RESCUED BIG CATS COME FROM?

Around the world, there is a large and unregulated market for exotic felines. In the United States alone, an estimated 10,000 big cats are owned privately in places like backyards, basements, and roadside zoos. With no federal regulations governing the breeders and owners of these big cats, it is widely believed that there are more privately owned tigers in the U.S. alone than exist now in the wild. An exact number is completely unknown, as well as the condition, care, and location of these animals due to the lack of government regulation.

You can learn more about the big cat crisis as well as the work being done to fix this problem here.

While it may seem obvious to most people that these wild animals would not make good pets, there are those who buy these animals for novelty, vanity, for "watch cats", or because they couldn’t resist purchasing an adorable little cub. These unthinking people believe that they can keep their “pet” in their home, basement, garage, or backyard and that the big cat will grow to obey them out of love or, at the very least, out of fear. They don't. These are wild animals but cruelly some have been declawed and defanged and robbed of their natural ability to survive in the wild. They'll always need to be kept safe and secure. That's what we do at Cedarhill.

Learn more about the dangers of owning these big cats as “pets” here.

WHAT ARE THE LAWS REGARDING BIG CAT OWNERSHIP?

Currently, there are no federal laws governing big cat ownership in the United States and the laws vary drastically by state. Learn more about why that is a problem and the work being done to fix it here.

In the state of Mississippi, the law classifies lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cheetahs, and cougars as inherently dangerous to humans. Big cats among other inherently dangerous animals may not be imported, transferred, sold, purchased, or possessed without a permit. Some institutions are exempt from the permit requirement and may possess big cats without it, including public zoos, university research facilities, governmental agencies, transient circuses, rehabilitation facilities, and sanctuaries. Municipalities may enact local ordinances to more strictly regulate big cat private possession. These laws were put in to place largely by the work of our founder, Ms. Kay McElroy, and we are proud of our state’s work in regulating exotic pet ownership.

You can read the full list of regulations in Mississippi here.

Curious about the laws in your state? Click here to see how your state compares!

IS CEDARHILL AN ACCREDITED SANCTUARY?

Yes! We are accredited by the American Sanctuary Association. You can learn more about their accreditation criteria here.

CAN I ADOPT A CEDARHILL ANIMAL?

In short, no, you cannot. Once we take on an animal at Cedarhill, we are their forever home. We take our responsibility as their caregivers very seriously and work hard to give them the best quality of life possible. However, if you’ve fallen in love with a Cedarhill animal and would like to be a part of their life, click here to learn how you can become a sponsor today!

CAN I SURRENDER AN ANIMAL TO CEDARHILL?

We accept animals on a case-by-case basis depending on available space and resources. When we are able to take on a new rescue, animals must be properly vetted, spayed or neutered, as well as tested for contagious diseases before they come onto our property. Our current residents are our first priority, and we will not overcrowd our facilities or risk their wellbeing to take on another animal.

HOW CAN I HELP?

There are many ways to support the mission of Cedarhill and help us save more lives! Click here to learn more!

CAN I COME VISIT?

No, Cedarhill is closed to the public and we will always be. Every single animal that calls Cedarhill home is a rescue, some of which came from horrible and abusive situations, including our big cats. When they are brought here, we promise them that we will do our best to make up for the horror of their past lives by letting them live the happy and peaceful life that they deserve. We do our best every day to give them that without compromise. As our name states, we are an animal sanctuary, and we live up to that in the truest sense.

HOW IS CEDARHILL FUNDED?

We rely solely on tax-deductible donations from individuals and private institutions. We're a 501 (c)(3) organization and receive no government funding. You can donate today by clicking here!

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH MY DONATIONS?

Cedarhill is deeply committed to the rescue of animals in need. Your donations go towards veterinary care, medication, food, utilities, maintenance, and our talented staff. We operate entirely on these donations, both large and small, which are vital to the continued treatment, rehabilitation, and support of the rescued animals in our care. Our administrative expenses average a very low 14%. This allows for us to spend almost every cent on the many amazing animals that call Cedarhill home!

DO YOU ACCEPT DONATED MEAT FOR THE BIG CATS?

YES! We absolutely accept donated meat besides pork. It must be processed, unseasoned and fresh or frozen. We do not accept roadkill or an animal that died before slaughter. Additionally, arrangements must be made before meat is donated. Please call us at 662-356-6636 if you’re interested in making a donation.

CAN I VOLUNTEER?

Absolutely! Learn more about our volunteer program and get started on your application here!