The St. Louis Cardinals are staking a claim to the now-famous cat that darted across the field during the Aug. 9 game against Kansas City, just moments before Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina hit a grand slam. (Via @stlfco)

The Rally Cat saga has taken another turn, and this time the claws are out. The St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach are fighting over a new home for the Rally Cat.

The rescue group is claiming the Cardinals are using “perceived bullying tactics” to get the cat back in the hands of the team. In a strongly worded Facebook post on Thursday, the rescue group critiques the “totally false statement” from the Cardinals’ vice president of communications, Ron Watermon, who told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach organization has assured us they will be returning our cat to us after a mandatory 10-day quarantine period.”

Watermon also told the Post-Dispatch that team owner Bill DeWitt asked him “to plan a formal ‘welcome home’ ceremony next week when the Cardinals return from their road trip.” He also said the Rally Cat would “be cared for by our team, making the Cardinals Clubhouse his home” and “players are looking forward to loving and caring for him.”

But the rescue group is firing back, announcing no such deal has been made to return the cat to the organization and wants to do what is best for the cat. In a Facebook post on Aug. 16, the feral cat outreach stated that the cat was doing “just fine,” but that he would be quarantined until he gained weight and was neutered, the group’s standard policy, and that it hoped the cat could “be ready for his first public appearance, hopefully at the Rally Cat Appreciation Night at Busch Stadium on September 10th.”

Watermon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The shelter said it had tried to reach out to Watermon earlier in the week, but received a voice mail from him on Thursday. Explaining how their board member team consists of nonpaid volunteers who have full-time jobs outside of the shelter, they told the Cardinals they would be willing to meet the team later in the month to discuss options for Rally.

Part of the shelter’s Facebook post is below:

“It was a disappointment to STLFCO and many of our friends and fans to read the Cardinal’s PR Head Ron Watermon’s comments to the media concerning Rally. It was a totally false statement that STLFCO has committed anything to the Cardinals. We have made no decisions about Rally’s long-term placement. It seems inconsistent with ‘The Cardinals Way’ to make such false statements.”

It was a disappointment to STLFCO and many of our friends and fans to read the Cardinal's PR Head Ron Watermon's…

Posted by St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach on Thursday, August 17, 2017

With the Cardinals and Royals tied in the Aug. 9 game at Busch Stadium, Rally Cat ran onto the field and was caught and removed by a member of the grounds crew. On the next pitch, Yadier Molina hit a grand slam, giving the Cardinals an 8-5 win. The feline became a social media darling and the team’s unofficial mascot, and the shelter said it has had “thousands of inquires” from throughout the region about him.

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