When a lawyer says a cat can’t be adopted by a professional sports team, we’re seriously overthinking the situation.
Animal rights are great, but to claim exploitation on behalf of a stray cat that was facing nothing worse than the most pampering its ever known in its life is completely absurd. Surely the St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach, a nonprofit organization, had more appropriate matters for which to devote its time and money than to fight a legal battle to prevent the Cardinals from adopting the feline affectionately known as “Rally Cat.”
For an example of how pampered sports mascots are, I present Uga, the bulldog mascot for the University of Georgia. The live animal mascot at Georgia is a tradition that goes back more than 60 years.
Uga has his own car to ride to and from games in, and not just any car. The car is specially engineered for the air conditioning to be able to run at 60 degrees at all times.
Once he gets to the university, Uga has his own suite at the campus hotel. Before each game he receives an oatmeal aloe shampoo bath and baby shampoo for his face. He then gets a golf cart ride to the field, where he gets to meet throngs of his adoring public.
Afterward, down on the field he has his own air-conditioned dog house to rest in while the game is played.
To top it all off, when Uga passes on, he will be interred next to the stadium where he can be memorialized and regularly visited by his admirers.
Sounds pretty good right? I happen to have a very close, personal relationship with a bulldog and know he would love every bit of that, except for perhaps the bath.
Now, some claim that live animal mascots are mistreated and that being placed in a situation around large crowds can cause undue stress. However, that doesn’t seem to bother Uga, or any of the dozens of other canine, avian, bovine, hircine or equine mascots across college sports.
Cats are certainly different and an environment suitable for a canine may not be as suitable for a feline. However, who says that the way one mascot is treated and presented has to be the way they all are presented? There is no rule that says “Rally Cat,” or any other mascot would have to be in front of the crowd. He could have his own private room at the stadium for visitors to wait in line and come by one or two at a time, or perhaps not at all if that doesn’t work for him.
He could then appear before his adoring public via the stadium video screen. If that still isn’t working for him, he wouldn’t even have to travel to the stadium on game days. He could remain at whatever home team officials could offer him and appear on the stadium big screen through remote video from within the lap of luxury.
There are no house cat mascots in sports upon which to draw a comparison. Thus, there is no basis to say that “Rally Cat” or any other house cat involved with a sports franchise would receive anything but the very best of care and attention. To suggest otherwise is simply unwarranted.
Look, nobody wants to sentence “Rally Cat” to a life shoved in some dark corner of Busch Stadium in order to occasionally parade him out in front of the big scary crowd of adoring fans for a cheap pop.
Some people have it out for teams with a live animal mascot, perhaps because of the way things were done years ago. However, this is 2017. Despite what you see in most of the national news, the majority of us have evolved in how we treat other people and our four-legged friends.
I have every faith that the Cardinals would have done right by “Rally Cat” if they’d only been given the chance.