A modest proposal: Since the Athletics don’t want to play in the Coliseum anymore, and the Raiders already peaced, we should give the stadium over to a group that actually appreciates it and wants to stay. That’s right, I’m talking about the enormous cat colony that has moved in and gotten comfortable and had tons of sex and cannot, apparently, be evicted in time for Monday’s A’s home opener. Sorry, it belongs to the cats now.
“Feral cats have multiplied since the coronavirus and the kittens are running wild,” wrote Henry Gardner, executive director of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, in a memo earlier this week. Gardner explained that with the stadium complex sitting empty since the fall, after hosting many fewer events and much smaller crowds since the start of the pandemic, the cats have made themselves at home and gotten down to business, leading to a population of “30 to 40,” he estimated, though Oakland Animal Services suggested there could be as many as 100 of them. “We have been invaded by these cats,” Gardner said. “The population keeps increasing.”
The kitties have not been idle. “The good news is the rat population has decreased substantially,” Gardner noted.
That’s useful. But it’s still not ideal to have dozens and dozens of feral cats running around when you’re trying to host a Major League Baseball season. The Coliseum Authority held its monthly meeting on Friday, and one of the items on the agenda was labeled “Cats Invasion.” Please enjoy this clip of Gardner declaring to the board, “I want to make it clear for the record that we need to celebrate and honor these cats.”
Oakland’s vice mayor Rebecca Kaplan jokingly(?) warned against bringing in “dogs to chase the cats and lions to chase the dogs and then we have an entire chain perhaps ending with a goat,” and The Coliseum Authority decided that for the time being, most of the cats can stay—the older ones can’t be socialized. (Kittens, when found, will be removed and made available for adoption.) Instead, they’re deploying a trap-neuter-release program, fixing the cats before returning them to the Coliseum. Two different groups are at work on that, and say they’ve caught and spayed about 20 cats so far before releasing them back to their rat-catching jobs. Still plenty left to go, though.”We can live with the cats,” Gardner said. “They do good work. But we need to deactivate some of them. We don’t need quite as many as we’ve got on duty right now.”
If the A’s ever do relocate or get a new ballpark, there will be calls to tear down and redevelop the land. I would like to plant my flag now and say the Coliseum should be left alone and abandoned to the cats. They are making more and better use of it than the A’s have in a while, and after a few years perhaps the cats can apply to MLB for an expansion team.