The Oakland Coliseum has had its fair share of problems that have it ranked as the second-worst MLB stadium in the league by both Forbes and Athlon Sports. It’s had problems for years with flooding and even raw sewage in some of the areas for players and coaches. But now, there’s a new problem that is adding to the run-down nature of the ballpark built back in 1966. There are now feral cats that have invaded the stadium and have even made it out onto the field itself ahead of the A’s home opener on April 18th. And it’s not just the stadium, the cats are also occupying the Oakland Arena just across the parking lot.
The problem was officially made public in a memo to the Oakland Board of Commissioners from the Coliseum Authority which takes care of the grounds. The memo, reported by Athletics Nation, reads: “Feral cats have multiplied since the coronavirus and the kittens are running wild. The good news is the rat population has decreased substantially. The bad news is the cats are now gaining access to the inside of the Arena and are having a field day on the A’s turf, causing a nuisance.”
Executive director of the Coliseum Authority Henry Gardner wrote in the memo that his agency has “requested assistance from the City’s Animal Control department and are trying to devise a plan to humanely relocate them and maybe trying an adoption strategy with some of our patrons.” It’s unclear what was meant by the words ‘adoption strategy but Twitter user @NewBallPark took those words and ran with them, jokingly writing “July 24 vs. TEX: Feral cat giveaway day, first 1,000 fans. No returns.”
July 24 vs. TEX: Feral cat giveaway day, first 1,000 fans. No returns.— newballpark (@newballpark) April 11, 2022
Critters are no stranger to MLB ballparks, especially in Oakland. A possum made its way onto the field in 2014 in the tenth inning while the A’s were tied 2-2. After the possum’s brief appearance the A’s ended up winning the game. It earned the name “Rally Possum” and it still has an active Twitter page. A possum also scurried onto the field the season after although it didn’t spur a game-winning rally.
Feral cats are nothing new either. Athletics Nation writes “during a 1990 game at the Coliseum, then-Oakland manager Tony La Russa rescued a cat that had run across the field and into the A’s dugout. He and his wife Elaine La Russa were inspired by their experience with ‘Evie the Cat’ and launched the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), which is now a highly rated national non-profit charity.”
We can’t help but hope the feral cats give the A’s some good luck. For now though, the Coliseum Authority says will be using a simple strategy to try to drive them out. “We need to make sure we reduce their steady food supply by keeping our dumpsters well secured,” the memo reads. Keep your eyes peeled for possible on-the-field cat appearances during the A’s home opener which starts at 6:40 p.m on the 18th.