Caboodle Ranch: A Kitty City in Florida

August 23, 2010
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In Italy, there’s a cat sanctuary located among the ruins in Rome. Torre Argentina is the name of the place and it is housed right in the ancient temples, among broken columns, old stone pedestals, and abandoned temples. These cats walk the same streets Julius Ceasar walked and have been there for probably over 100 years.

In the early 20th century, women began feeding the cats and were called “gattare” or cat ladies. In the mid 1990s the area became a dedicated sanctuary and has been spaying and neutering, caring, and feeding the 200+ cats that live there. There are postcards sold of the cats among the ruins and the sanctuary has a website where you can donate money, purchase a few items, and even “virtually” adopt a cat.

Can’t make it to Italy? Well, how about heading to Florida? St. John’s County to be exact where the Caboodle Ranch is located and run by Craig Grant. Caboodle Ranch is a cat sanctuary located among 100 acres of woods and occupies about 30 acres of land.

There are about 500 cats currently living there who all have, for one reason or another, been given up or were in bad situations. Grant, who works 14+ hours a day at the ranch, never intended to open a safe haven for animals. It was all accidental and happened organically.

He says it all started with his son’s cat who had kittens. While he was caring for the kittens and mother cat, he started to become attached to them and their silly personalities. It also helped him as he was experiencing empty nest syndrome.

Before he knew it, he was the owner of 6 cats and found that some people in his neighborhood were not keen to the new residents. He felt he needed to move to protect them since he found one had a BB wound and another had been bitten by a dog.

As time went on, Grant found himself taking in stray cats that he met on construction sites and other places. What had started as 1 cat with 5 kittens grew to be 150 cats. He had purchased 5 acres of land but found that wasn’t big enough to house the cats and little by little he’s been able to expand to 30 acres.

Mr. Grant’s sanctuary isn’t just trees and trails. He has a whole feline city built for the cats (which to date number about 500) to play, sleep, and relax in. The houses are like dog houses but fancier. There’s a city hall, a school, a chapel, and even a Wal-Mart complete with mini shopping carts out front.

All the cats are spayed and neutered, are able to wander the woods, and all have a place to sleep; they also have regular vet checkups, are taken care of if they are sick, and get to live their lives at the ranch in complete bliss. Mr. Grant pays for most of the ranch’s needs out of his own pocket but this non-profit sanctuary also asks for donations of food, items, and money. From the videos on youtube and photo gallery, this sanctuary looks like a great place for a cat to have a second chance at life and never worry again about going hungry or being alone.

If you’re curious about Caboodle Ranch, they have a website, twitter account, and blog. If you’re ever in that area and want to spend a day or two helping out, give them a call. They’d love it!

Images courtesy of Torre Argentina and Caboodle Ranch


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