Where there are horses and barns, there are cats. Feral cats migrate to the barn areas at racetracks, and friendly cats are sometimes abandoned at racetracks when their owners leave. As a result, there are colonies of feral and abandoned cats at racetracks across the country.
Every spring, when the Saratoga racetrack reopened, Susan Moore noticed dozens of cats running around searching for food. Cats were emaciated; they had respiratory illnesses, eye infections, skin diseases, parasites, etc. Some of the cats were feral, but others were very friendly and had obviously been abandoned at the racetrack.
Imagine how difficult life is for homeless cats at the racetrack during the winter, when the horses and horsemen are gone – it is freezing cold with snow on the ground for months, and there is hardly any food.
Today, you will notice feeding stations that model the historic barns at Saratoga. These are part of the program established by The Moore Foundation.
The Moore Foundation finances a local rescue organization to provide hands-on care for the cats at Saratoga racetrack, 365 days a year. The cats are fed daily, even during the months when the racetrack is closed. They are trapped, tested, vaccinated and neutered. If they are sick or injured, they are treated. If they are healthy and feral, they are returned to the colony to be cared for. If they have feline aids, leukemia or an illness or injury that requires long-term treatment, they are sent to the Moore Foundation. Kittens and friendly cats are offered for adoption and placed in good homes.
The program at Saratoga racetrack is very successful, and the cats are now healthy, happy and well-fed. Funding is necessary to continue the program, and the Moore Foundation would also like to support and develop similar programs at other racetracks.