ST. LOUIS, Mo. (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals are looking for their rally cat.
The feisty feline became an internet sensation Wednesday night, sprinting onto the field at Busch Stadium with the bases loaded for the Cardinals with two outs in the sixth inning. The cat emerged from near the visitors’ dugout on the third-base side and raced into the outfield, the fur on its tail standing on end. Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain stood, smiling, with a hand on his hip as the cat sprinted past him.
Kansas City was leading 5-4 at the time and play was delayed for a couple minutes while the grounds crew collected the cat. On the first pitch after play resumed, Yadier Molina hit a grand slam off Peter Moylan to give the Cardinals an 8-5 lead. The cat was instantly dubbed #RallyCat on Twitter, and St. Louis went on to win — its fifth victory in a row.
The Cardinals said Thursday that a fan grabbed the cat after its grounds crew employee put the animal down to receive treatment for scratches and bites. The Cardinals said the fan claimed the cat was hers and abruptly left with the animal after answering some questions from security.
The Cardinals said the team hopes to find the cat to make sure it is properly cared for, and they are developing a stray animal protocol to ensure the safety of grounds crew members in the future.
The St. Louis Cardinals released a statement Thursday.
“As everyone observed during last night’s game, Lucas Hackmann, a member of our grounds crew, secured the stray cat in the outfield and exited the playing surface at the left field gate and walked up towards the main concourse at Gate 3. He then let the cat down outside of Gate 3 near the Stan Musial statue and went immediately to first aid to attend to his scratch and bite injuries. At that point, as our ushers tried to contain the cat, a fan grabbed it and claimed it was hers. As she left the ballpark, out security team caught up with her and asked her some questions. She then abruptly left with the cat. We understand from media accounts that the woman intended to take it home and care for it, but lost track of it in City Garden. We are hopeful someone will find the cat and contact us so we can properly care for it. Our grounds crew is working on developing a stray animal protocol to ensure the safety of both crew and animal should this happen again. In the meantime, the Cardinals are looking to scratch and claw their way back to the top of the division standings.”