The Nationals’ Catitude T-shirt requires the purchase of a special ticket. (Courtesy of the Nationals)

The Nationals are finally giving cats and cat owners their due. After years of inviting fans to bring their dogs to Nationals Park on designated “Pups in the Park” days, the team will celebrate Cat-urday on Saturday against the Marlins. The most important thing to know about Cat-urday is that fans are not purr-mitted to actually bring their cats to the ballpark.

Here’s more from the Nationals:

Here, Kitty, Kitty! Saturday, July 7 is Cat-urday — the purr-fect day for Nats fans and cats fans! For one day only, NatsTown will turn into CatsTown, complete with cat-related scoreboard features, information tables for cat owners, a seventh-inning cat nap, and other events for cat lovers. It may be the dog days of summer, but on July 7 we invite you to join us on our One Purr-suit and Ignite Your Catitude! Fans are not permitted to bring cats or other animals to Nationals Park for Cat-urday.

Fans who purchase a special ticket to Cat-urday will receive a Catitude T-shirt, available for pickup outside the right field gate from 5 p.m. until the end of the first inning. Three dollars from every ticket sold will benefit the Humane Rescue Alliance, and information about adopting cats will be available on N Street outside of the center field gate. (There’s no word on whether American University’s Wonk Cat will be invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch, but it’s a real missed opportunity if not.)

Cat-loving Nationals fans can thank original season-ticket holder Marlene Koenig for Cat-urday.

“For the record, I love dogs,” said Koenig, the owner of two cats, including a three-year-old orange tabby named Harper. “But I felt like ‘Pups in the Park’ was ignoring part of the Nats’ fan base. There’s a lot of us on Twitter that love cats. We thought it would be nice if there was something that honored cats in a similar way.”

During a Q&A with Nationals chief revenue and marketing officer Valerie Camillo at the team’s annual “Hot Stove” event for season-ticket holders in February, Koenig asked about the possibility of the team introducing a cat-themed promotion. Koenig mentioned the idea again at a subsequent team event and was delighted when the details of Cat-urday were announced.

Now, maybe I’m a little more laissez-fur than others when it comes to cats — and my own cat would sooner clean out her own litter box than spend time with other beings — but part of me wishes fans had the option to bring their felines to Saturday’s game. D.C.’s humidity gives me paws, but the Class AA Frisco RoughRiders welcomed cats to the ballpark for their “Take Meow to the Ballgame” promotion last year, requiring owners to show up-to-date vaccination records for their pets. There were cats in the ballpark in 2016 when players for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws wore cat-themed jerseys that were later auctioned off for charity. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

Koenig, though, fully supports the Nats’ no-cats policy.

“No one in their right mind would want to bring a cat to a baseball game,” she said. “What, would you have to set up litter boxes in the area? If it’s a hot day, that would be horrible. … Whether they ever do it again, I’m just happy that they took the time to listen and realized that there are fans who will be taking part in this.”


Harper. (Courtesy of Marlene Koenig)

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