Belated New Year 2013 Greetings from Monica Thors Animal Rescue Inc. and Happy St. Patrick's Day from harness racing documentary film "I Am, A Harness Racing Horse."

Dear [Name]:

I am happy to let you know that the feral harness racing cat situation at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is doing well.

The following individuals and organizations have done an enormous amount of work during 2012 in support of the Meadowlands Racetrack harness racing feral cats:

  • Michael Marra has been a blessing for all of the Meadowlands feral cats. For the last 8 years since the previous caregiver retired, he has fed around 40 Meadowlands feral cats that were living in the Grandstand area and the maintenance common area of the backstretch. During that time, Mike also took responsibility for about 40 more feral harness racing and Thoroughbred cats that were left behind by the harness racing and Thoroughbred trainers when the stable closed at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

    Mike, a semi-retired firefighter at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, is the sole daily caregiver and now feeds and cares for around 80 feral harness racing cats every day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year and pays for this on his own.

    Not only does Mike feed and care for these feral cats, he started a TNR program in which he traps and transports the cats to veterinary facilities to be neutered, spayed, vaccinated and returned by Mike to the Meadowlands property. He makes sure that kittens are adopted out, takes ill cats into his own home and has personally adopted 12 or more of these feral cats when no other homes could be found for them.

    Mike has also saved many Meadowlands feral cats from being killed in connection with various construction projects at the Meadowlands. He has built indoor, straw-filled cubbies for the cats to rest in and stay warm in the winter and has also built covered feeding stations where the cats can safely eat when it is raining or snowing. These feeding stations and indoor straw-filled cubbies are placed in all 8 of the feeding locations at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ.

    At each one of these 8 feeding stations, there is a rubber tub for water, tin bowls for hard food and soft food, all secured to make sure that none of the water tubs or feeding bowls will be swept away by the wind and onto the Meadowlands harness racing track.

    Mike travels to these feeding stations each and every day, once per day, to make sure that the cats have an adequate supply of water, that the straw is dry and clean and that each feeding location has hard and soft food every day. He also checks every location to make sure there are no sick cats, any new kittens or any abandoned cats that need to be trapped and TNRed. Mike keeps a close eye on all of the Meadowlands feral cats every day to make sure the entire colony is in good health and in good spirits.

    Michael Marra is a hero and should be treated as such, inasmuch as his sole efforts merit sincere appreciation and acknowledgement.  He has not taken one day of vacation in eight years due to his compassion, love and care for these Meadowlands harness racing cats.
  • Independent trapper Bonnie Wilson assists Mike when trapping or veterinary services are needed. She has worked with Mike since 2011, when they spent many weekends successfully trapping at 2:00 in the morning before the first spring litter season. Bonnie volunteers with FOCAS, an animal rescue organization that has spayed or neutered 52 Meadowlands harness racing cats and provided medical care for 4 additional Meadowlands harness racing cats. They also took 7 cats and kittens into their adoption program. FOCAS traps over 1,000 cats in the Meadowlands area, and they neuter or spay, vaccinate, treat for illness, pay for all medications and return the cats to their original location if the location is safe and has a caregiver. FOCAS is located in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, and is dedicated to helping homeless animals in Bergen County, NJ.

    Bonnie is also active with the Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge,, a no-kill shelter located in Oakland, NJ. They have taken 7 Meadowlands harness racing cat kittens and 2 Meadowlands harness racing cat adults into their facility. One of the adults had an amputated leg and the other was an 8-year-old toothless grey female with yellow stained paws. Both of these adult cats where adopted quickly, thanks to the RBARI staff who showed them and told people of their unfortunate circumstance. The RBARI organization seeks permanent homes for abandoned, abused and unwanted cats and dogs and provides the animals with food, shelter and medical treatment.

    Bonnie Wilson has also been responsible for securing fostering and adoption for all kittens and as many of the cats from the Meadowlands as she possibly can in the Bergen County, NJ, area. This includes rescuing three kittens last summer that were named after famous female stake harness races held yearly at the Meadowlands Racetrack: Merrie Annabelle, who was named for the Merrie Annabelle stake for 2-year-old trotting fillies; Hambletonian Oaks, who was named for the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies; and Ima Lula, who was named for the Ima Lula stake for 4-year-old trotting mares.
  • Monica Thors Animal Rescue Inc. donates hard food, soft food, food bowls, water bowls, special-made straw-filled sleeping cubbies and special-made covered feeding stations and sends one or two of its employees to the Meadowlands Racetrack periodically to help Michael Marra care for and feed the Meadowlands harness racing cats.

  • Monica Thors Feline Division also adopted a very seriously ill older cat from the Meadowlands Racetrack who could not find a home in the Bergen County area. This cat, whose name is now Frida, would not have survived another winter at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Frida now lives happily with her other cat friends at Monica Thors Feline Division in Mullica Hill, New Jersey.

  • Marty Phelps, who is an employee of the Monica Thors Feline Division, has made countless trips to the Meadowlands to help Michael Marra feed and maintain the feral harness racing cats' locations, clean their water and feeding bowls and help Mike set up feeding stations and sleeping bins.
  • Donna Hazar, an employee of the Monica Thors Harness Racing Stable, assists Marty in his work with Michael in feeding the Meadowlands harness racing cats and cleaning their water and feeding bowls. Donna also works with Monica Thors at the Meadowlands site when necessary.

  • Umut Hazar, a part-time employee of the Monica Thors Harness Racing Stable, in his spare time has helped build the sleeping cubbies and covered feeding stations. Umut has also assisted Marty Phelps and Michael Marra with the placement of these feeding stations and sleeping cubbies at the Meadowlands and has assisted with cleaning the water bowls and feeding bowls numerous times.

  • Andrea Moore has been rescuing cats for over 20 years and operates Evolve Animals,, a no-kill shelter that specializes in cats and does not discriminate cats because of age, behavior or sickness. Andrea is a great supporter of the Meadowlands cats, including adopting a feral cat, Xanadu and her kittens. The kittens were adopted out and the mother, Xanadu, now lives with Andrea and her husband. Andrea continues to provide extensive vet care and adoption out for a range of both injured and healthy feral cats through a network of foster families in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.

  • Meadowlands Racetrack owner Jeff Gural decided last summer to allow the Meadowlands feral harness racing cats to continue to live in peace at their respective areas which have been their home for so long.

Due to these heroic efforts of Michael Marra, who richly deserves profound thanks for keeping these 80 feral harness racing cats healthy and fed daily, and the wonderful support provided by others, we can now announce that all of the feral harness racing cats at the Meadowlands Racetrack have adequate food, water and weather protection and that the TNR program is fully operational.

Your caring responses to us last summer about the Meadowlands Racetrack feral cats were very helpful, and we will continue to assist Michael Marra in his work with these feral harness racing cats.

Beyond the Meadowlands Racetrack feral harness racing cat success story, there are several other stories that all of us who truly care for felines will enjoy and appreciate.

  • First is Nancy Lisi's amazing work to save the Rosecroft Raceway harness racing cats. In the fall of 2010 she helped locate homes for the more than 100 cats living at the shuttered Rosecroft Raceway harness racing track in a month's time.

    In the summer of 2010, Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland closed, and the horsemen and horsewomen were told they had to leave the harness racing racetrack. The cats, it seemed, would also have to find a new place to call home. There was no way that the departing harness racing horsemen and harness racing horsewomen could take all of the cats with them. The cats were at major risk of euthanization.

    When she heard the news, Nancy acted swiftly. She posted the news on Facebook,, to spread the word that 100 felines needed a caretaker. The response was immediate. Offers from strangers to adopt the harness racing cats then began to pour in.

    Lisa, along with many other cat lovers, Cat Tails,, Alley Cat Rescue,, and, and other horse people, helped place the cats in homes throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia—and even Delaware—in a month's time.
  • At Rockingham Park Racetrack in Salem, New Hampshire, Sheila Ernst, Jean Watson and Inge Blythe feed 8 feral cats that live in the deserted barn area at the harness racing racetrack. The cats have been fed on a regular basis since the mid-90s when the harness racing track was closed. At that time the count was probably around 30 cats, according to Sheila.

    Shelia, Jean and Inge are not affiliated with any group. Due to the assistance of a woman who had won a substantial amount of money in the lottery and donated it for TNR and food, it was possible to have the Rockingham feral cats trapped, spayed and neutered.

    Now Sheila, Jean and Inge are paying for food out of their own pockets and have not received any help from anyone and have never asked for any. Sheila says, "We are all just simply animal lovers."
  • Feral cats were also a problem in the Monticello, NY, area and community. They were trying to deal with feral cats and a large number of cats abandoned by vacationers at the end of the vacation season. Vita Yakin, an enthusiastic and dedicated harness racing trainer and feline caregiver, organized a successful program to address the problem.

    Through the Alley Cat Allies Feral Cat Network �she located Ilsa Sunshine, an independent feral cat TNR trapper, who provided guidance and was instrumental in setting up the system that worked. Ilsa showed Vita and other volunteers the ins and outs of trapping so they could do their own trapping. She showed Vita and other volunteers how to care for the cats during recovery after neutering or spaying. Ilsa was also willing to take all of the kittens for adoption. In addition to monitoring and teaching Vita and other volunteers, she was able to have the cats neutered, vaccinated for rabies and ear-clipped.

    Different groups worked together to manage this problem. Anne Mabee, co-founder of The Country Cats, played a major role in TNR. Her organization helped make neutering, spaying and vaccines possible. The Country Cats also fostered and placed kittens.  They were very instrumental in making the project a success, as were the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association and individual harness racing horsemen and horsewomen who contributed funds.

    All of these organizations and people have been a part of the major TNR plan. So far, they have TNRed over 50 cats and fostered and/or placed 18 kittens. Several adults have also been placed.

As the year 2013 develops, Monica Thors Animal Rescue plans to continue providing food and funds to Michael Marra for the protection and well-being of the Meadowlands harness racing cats.

Monica Thors Animal Rescue Inc. is able to operate thanks to the income generated by harness racing horses and harness racing. Therefore, please take time to view the following preview trailers, which will give you a better understanding of harness racing horses and the sport of harness racing. Everything that Monica Thors Animal Rescue Inc. is able to do is connected to the production of the harness racing documentary film "I Am, A Harness Racing Horse."

A cheerful Happy St Patrick's Day video
from Monica Thors and the "I Am, A Harness Racing Horse" team...
fun and serious and the same time.

2423 viewers from 30 countries around the world.

Please click here ONCE to see the film.

Valentine trailer to promote the harness racing documentary film
"I Am, A Harness Racing Horse"

2162 viewers from 35 different countries around the world

Please click here ONCE to see the 3 minute-56 second film.

Preview trailer of the harness racing documentary film
"I Am, A Harness Racing Horse"

5089 viewers from 55 different countries around the world

Please click here ONCE to view the 2 minute-12 second film.

Happy Holidays from "I Am, A Harness Racing Horse"
2745 viewers from 48 different countries around the world

A short film "I Am, A Harness Racing Horse" Christmas gram.
Let the echo of Harness Racing Horses' spirit flow through your harness racing websites.

Please click here ONCE to view the 3 minute-36 second film.

Merry Christmas from Harness Racing Horse "Carribean Paradise"
342 viewers from 16 different countries around the world

A Merry Christmas greeting from the harness racing horse Carribean Paradise, who really likes Christmas a lot!

Please click here ONCE to view the 12-second film.

A Very, Very Merry Christmas from Monica Thors Feline Division
257 viewers from 9 different countries around the world

Dedicated to all cats that live on Harness Racing farms and Harness Racing tracks.

Please click here ONCE to view the 48-second film.

So on behalf of all the Harness Racing cats at the Meadowlands, the Monica Thors Harness Racing Stable, the 1 Thoroughbred and the harness racing goat Billy, the 49 cats in my personal care, my Cocker Spaniel dog Moon, the Monica Thors Feline Division and Monica Thors Animal Rescue Inc., we extend heartfelt thanks, deep appreciation and best wishes for a happy and fulfilling 2013.

Monica Thors

P.S. Any funds you wish to donate to Michael Marra to help with his work at the Meadowlands Racetrack, please contact us, and we will get you in contact with him. For all other donations to organizations mentioned, there are links to their websites, where you will find how to donate.

We thank you in advance.


Monica Thors
78 Ferrell Road
Mullica Hill, NJ 08062



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