Your Invitation for August 18th:  Quaintance House, Race Track Kitties and Caring for Our Own

“All God’s critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low and some sing higher,
Some sing out loud on a telephone wire,
Some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they’ve got now…”

So begins a long, sweet song by the great American folk singer/guitarist/songwriter, Bill Staines. 

I love the visual image that the lyrics to this song gives:  while many people would say that Mr. Staines is anthropomorphizing animals, I would argue that it’s ridiculous to think that only humans have emotions.  I argue therefore, that:  there’s no such thing as anthropomorphism.Marion E. Altieri, New York Writer

I also would add a new chorus to the song, to read,

“All God’s kitties got a job in the barn:
Keeping their horses happy and calm.
They lie on the backs of their favorite horse
A natural relationship, yes, of course!”

(OK, that chorus may seem a tad cutesie, but you get the drift:  All animals need love, and love is a calming experience.  Cats provide that love for horses–and the reverse.)

Anyone who’s ever been to any farm or race track know that horses aren’t the only animals in residence therein.  Horses, being herd animals, feel most comfortable when they’re surrounded by creatures whom they can accept into their tribes.  It’s common to see goats, chickens, dogs and cats roaming around the barns at a race track.  Cats, in particular, have established themselves as resident BFFs (Best Friends Forever) to horses:  think about it, how many times have you “liked” or even shared a video of a cat and horse, loving on each other, or just sleeping, the horse wearing a Cat Blanket?

Cats, I’d argue, are essential to the emotional well-being of horses—especially race horses, whose lives can be extremelyHorseCat by Love Meow stressful. Especially when you have a 1200-pound animal whose ancestors and cousins roam(-ed) freely in the wild outdoors—but when at a track, are confined to a 14’ x 12’ stall for most of the hours of their days.  (When they’re back on a farm, yes, they have ample paddock time.)  But during the racing days, they’re pretty stallbound, and get bored or lonely.

Cats love horses.  Horse love cats.  It seems that the only beings who are willing to discard either animal is the human animal.

I’d read once that many people consider cats to be disposable, whereas the same people would not consider dogs to be so.  And that there may be a correlation between the fact that women still are considered to be not as important as human males—and that cats “are like women,” and dogs are seen as a more masculine pet.  (Think about it:  the word, “catty” never is applied to a man, is it?)

So, whether or not that theory is true, we’re still stuck with the sad, horrible fact that, like the circus blowing out of town and leaving only peanut shells and cotton candy wrappers in its wake—when a race track like Saratoga Race Course closes shop for the season—more-often than-not, barn cats are left at the track to fend for themselves.

The same people who’d never dream of leaving their Jack Russells to fight off the Saratoga winters or forage for food—often don’t think twice about saying, “Bye, bye, Kitty” to a cat or cats who’s helped eradicate vermin all summer—who’s loved and nurtured their nervous Thoroughbreds—who’s brought comfort and friendship on a long, hot summer night on watch at the barn.

Thank God for Quaintance House Animal Protective League!  QHAPL is an organization that’s based in upstate New York that is NOT a shelter—but which has a multi-faceted mission, that includes caring for/feeding/spaying/neutering – cats who have no one to love them, or care for them.  To the good people of QHAPL, there’s no such thing as an Unwanted Cat.

Here are two bulletpoints from their Mission Statement:

– We educate and assist with feral (wild) cat rescues. (Remember, MY very own beloved kitty, Homer, was a feral who was rescued, by Operation: Snip.  Ferals and strays CAN be rescued, and learn to love.)Homer on Foot 1 24 July
– In a partnership with NYRA and a benevolent horse owner, we maintain the feral cat colony at the Historic Saratoga Race Course.

Read that second point, carefully.  The volunteers of QHAPL actually feed, spay, neuter, love, pet, shelter—the feral cat colony at Saratoga Race Course.  Every one of those dear little lives matter to them—AND to the people who run NYRA, the New York Racing Association.

“In partnership with NYRA…”  NYRA recognizes the valuable roles that cats play in horse racing—the nurturing, the patrolling, the best-friending to horses—and NYRA cares.  They care enough to work with Quaintance House, to nurture the cats whom others have abandoned.

I invite you—and I’m sure that NYRA joins me in extending this invitation—I invite you to help raise money for Quaintance House and the kitties they serve with great love, every day of every year.

QHAPL Inn at SaratogaOn Thursday evening, August 18th, from 5PM – 10PM, you can meet Quaintance House people—get info about the organization—and feel good about yourselves.  There’s absolutely no admission charge for this event:  all you have to do to help the cats who benefit from the loving nurturing of Quaintance House people is—have dinner.  (That’s tomorrow, for those of you reading on Wednesday, August 17th.)

Yes, that’s right.  The Inn at Saratoga graciously has extended an offer to Quaintance House:  anyone who dines at the Inn at Saratoga (Broadway, across from the Holiday Inn) will, just by enjoying a luscious meal—give money toward the care and feeding of these precious little cats.

The Inn at Saratoga will donate a whopping 25% of all food and beverage income during those five hours on August 18th to Quaintance House—isn’t that wonderful of them??  The menu is vast, and far-more approachable than many of you might think.  From burgers through small plates and gourmet offerings—there’s something for everyone.  And beverages!  I’m sure that their barkeeper will create a special cocktail for the event—perhaps something like, a Cat-mopolitan?

In addition to the delicious dining and imbibing that awaits you, you’ll have opportunities to go home with some goodies:  a silent auction and 50/50 auction awaits your eager participation. 

So…you have to eat tomorrow night, anyway.
You’re going to go out in Saratoga, anyway.
You’ll lose money at the track—or you’ll win big at the track.

Either way, you’ll want either to drown your sorrows, or raise a glass in celebration.  You’ll want to eat yummy food—because, whether you won or lost, you deserve to eat well.

You may as well join the lovely souls from Quaintance House and The Inn at Saratoga, and eat, drink, bid and raffle.  At the same time that you’re either licking your betting wounds or patting yourselves on the back for being such a savvy bettor—you can almost-unwittingly help raise money to feed the sweet, beautiful cats who never did anything wrong to anyone.  All they’ve done, ever, is love horses and take care of them.

Now, help us help those who take care of those cats.
*  All you need do is sit your fanny in a chair–just remind your server of the Quaintance House fund-raiser–and order food and bev.
*  You’re gonna do it somewhere—do it at The Inn at Saratoga between 5PM and 10PM on Thursday, August 18th–and it actually will matter to someone other than your cardiologist.


Thank you!

Photo Credits:
HorseCat by