Column: The STLFCO scratches back

Pot, meet kettle.

That’s my basic opinion of the now public spat between the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach in the days following the #RallyCat adventures. Or rather, misadventures as they may now be.

In an article today at the RiverFront Times, the STLFCO’s lawyer Albert Watkins spoke about their problems with the Cardinals who have tried to adopt the Rally Cat as an organization. In between speaking of the cat, who they’ve named Rally, in the third person as if he’d talked to the Rally Cat personally about his future and taking shots the Cardinals, Watkins suggested that the Cardinals’ desire to commercially capitalize on the cat had to be balanced with the cat’s best interests.

I think we can all agree that the Cardinals’ interests and the cat’s interests have to be balanced because what happens next year when #RallyCat fever breaks and all is forgotten? There needs to be a plan to care for Rally in place. The ultimately irony of it all is that the STLFCO has done nothing but attempt to commercially capitalize on him.

They pursued capture of the Rally Cat after it was determined lost in the Citygarden area. After catching it, they sought to publicly identify him as the Rally Cat. They did a media blitz after catching him. They promoted that they’d caught him. They promoted a “Rally Cat” t-shirt by 108stitches and numerous additional merchandise from others that they benefit monetarily from.

But now that the Cardinals have an interest in bringing in the cat, caring for it as an organization, and, yes, profiting off the popularity of Rally and now that the STLFCO has done their profiting off the situation wants to draw the line on commercialization.

Let’s be clear here, if the STLFCO cared about preventing the commercialization of Rally, they could have very easily done what they always do and told no one. They are a “TNR” organization, which stands for trap, neuter, and release. And in a few weeks when Rally was ready to be released the fever would have died down, nobody would be looking for him, and nobody would be any of the wiser.

After the Cardinals said that they expected to have the cat given to them, the STLFCO replied with a Facebook post that heavily criticized the Cardinals and their Vice President of Public Relations Ron Watermon’s “old school PR tactics,” calling him a liar and accused the Cardinals of using “bullying tactics.”And then Watkins in the RiverFront Times referred to these comments as a “perceived slight” as if the Cardinals misconstrued what they meant by calling Watermon a liar and a bully.

In that same statement, they told us that they don’t have the resources to fight this out in the media, but instead of “rally”ing (you liked that, didn’t you) around a good cause that could benefit all involved in some fashion, the STLFCO elected to pick that public fight with the biggest brand in the St. Louis area that they just told us they didn’t have the resources to fight.

The STLFCO claims this isn’t about getting a big check from the Cardinals, and to an extent I buy that because I have real concerns about what an organization adopting a pet looks like too and I’m sure people who donate their time to that organization would as well. But they should have led with that and kept the focus on that.

Instead, they elected to paint the Cardinals as the big bad corporation who is trying to do nothing except commercialize the kitten when they’ve been doing the same exact thing from the moment they thought they’d caught him.

2 Replies to “Column: The STLFCO scratches back”

  1. Jon, this went south when Watermon lied, again. the STLFCO had no problems with RallyCat being adopted, but when STLFCO read Watermon claim they were in talks and they agreed to return THEIR cat. The same cat the Cardinals threw out on the street and zero talks had occurred to date… Really? Don’t let facts get in the way of your editorial.

    1. The STLFCO rep said in their first interviews that the Cardinals had expressed interest in getting Rally back and seemed excited about that and never indicated that that happening in some capacity was in question. So I think the idea that the Cardinals expected to get the cat back is perfectly justified.

      And the Cardinals did not throw the cat out on the street. The cat was being watched by another employee while the grounds crew guy went to get medical attention, a lady came up and lied to take possession of the cat. Took it away and the cat escaped from her and then was later caught by the STLFCO.

      In response to Watermon’s expecting to get the cat back, they could have answered, “We have concerns about an organization adopting Rally when we think he would be best placed with a family. Never in the course of our discussions with the Cardinals have we committed to giving Rally to the Cardinals.” Instead of, “Watermon and the Cardinals are liars and bullies and just want to make money off of him. BTW, buy some Rally Cat shirts!”

Comments are closed.