Reformed Cat Hater Builds Safe Haven for Stray Cats

 |  Sep 14th 2010  |   11 Contributions


Cats at Caboodle Ranch visit City Hall.

Craig Grant, a Florida resident, has built a cat-sized village for homeless cats. And he doesn't even like cats all that much.

What prompted him to take this step? It all started when Grant's son moved out and left his cat, Pepper, behind. But just when he was getting used to having one cat, Grant discovered that Pepper was pregnant.

Grant was getting ready to adopt the five kittens out, but his son said they had to stay with their mother for 8 weeks. "It wasn't long before the kittens were swinging from my curtains," he notes on his website.

By that point, the cats were becoming a problem. The neighbors were complaining, and the cats were being harassed -- sometimes even being shot with BB guns.

Grant then saw a newspaper ad for a 30-acre tree farm for sale. The property was 100 miles away from his Jacksonville condo, which he wasn't quite ready to give up at that time.

When he saw the tree farm, he loved it instantly and bought it. He built an office trailer as a cat shelter, and Caboodle Ranch was born. The building had pet doors and padded shelves, and was located in the middle of 100 acres of forest.

Grant finally moved there himself in 2003. By that time he had 11 cats, he had been adopted strays and abandoned cats. By 2004, he had 22 cats, and now he has quite a few more. As time went on, Grant began building small houses for the felines, and now an ever-growing cat-size town is taking shape.

Craig Grant with some of the 600-plus cats currently living at Caboodle Ranch.

"We [currently] have 660 cats, we have barely touched on the first 5 acres of the 30 acres of land," says Grant.

All of the expenses for the sanctuary have come out of Grant's pocket, and he makes a 250-mile round trip to work many times a day to keep the cats safe and cared for. Each cat costs about $550 a year to care for, and that is as long as there are no extraneous vet bills. All cats are spayed or neutered, and their vaccinations are kept up to date.

Grant puts in 14 or more hours a day to keep the operation going. The ranch's biggest challenge is finding dedicated volunteers. Although the novelty of the sanctuary attracts visitors, they don't always stay on as long-term caretakers.

But don't go to Caboodle Ranch looking for a pet. The cats are not up for adoption. "The reason the cats are there in the first place is that there were not enough homes [for them]. The cats at the ranch have their forever home now," Grant says.

"We prefer people adopt cats from humane societies, animal control etc, where those cats are on death row and are in desperate need to be saved."

Check out Caboodle Ranch's Facebook page here.

[Source: Planet Green]

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