03/04/2009 at 02:54 PM EST
Craig Grant never liked cats. But when his son asked him to look after his cat Pepper when he could no longer care for her, Grant couldn't refuse. Shortly after, Pepper gave birth to kittens, and it was then that Grant's love for cats was born. Soon, the father of three grown children was taking in strays and picking up wandering cats from construction sites, and found himself moving to five-acre plot of land – 50 miles outside of Tallahassee, Fla., on a tree farm named Caboodle Ranch – with 150 felines in tow. "[They] gave me a reason to come home at night, because I was suffering from empty nest syndrome," Grant tells ZooToo.com
Today, Caboodle Ranch is a 30-acre property and home to nearly 500 unwanted felines. Grant has financed care for his cats completely out of pocket, from buying the land they use to spaying and neutering all of the Ranch's residents. The land features its own little network of buildings, including a city hall, police department, chapel, elementary school and Wal-Mart (complete with shopping carts!). There's even a "Cat Nap Inn," where kittens can rest in lakeside cottages. Though expenses can run high – sometimes $6,000 per month for care – Grant is confident in his abilities to keep his sanctuary going. And to the naysayers, he says, "I think I'm supposed to be doing this and it comes at a time in my life when I can give it 100 percent."
To donate to Caboodle Ranch – which is currently in need of a new fence! – visit the official Web site