The Kittens of Puppy Bowl

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In my house, cats outnumber people and dogs. That means one thing when it comes to Puppy Bowl season – bring on the Kitten Half Time show!

Kitten Arrival

Kitten Half Time Stars Arrive

For the past several years, I’ve worked with the Petfinder outreach team to cast the adoptable puppies, kittens, hedgehogs, hamsters, birds, you name it, to participate in Animal Planet’s annual Puppy Bowl. While I love seeing my inbox flooded with adorable puppies looking to show their stuff on the field, I have to admit that my favorite part of Puppy Bowl is the Kitten Half Time Show.

Having only adoptable pets participate in Puppy Bowl is a huge logistical challenge as they come to the studio in NYC from all corners of the country. This year, that challenge was multiplied by Hurricane Sandy hitting just days before we were set to film. Thankfully, through countless phone calls from tireless producers, filming was delayed only about a week.

The stars of the Kitten Half Time show were NYC locals from Animal Care & Control of New York City and were able to make it to the new filming date. More than 20 adorable, adoptable little kittens arrived at the studio and each was checked over by the veterinarian on set. The production team had the waiting room ready for them. There were several large open pens set up, each lined in absorbent pads to catch any accidents. All of the pens had litter boxes, water, food and toys for the short wait until camera time.

Seeing the Kitten Half Time set in person was amazing! My own cats, all adults, would have loved a play day here, but it was time to bring in the kittens.

Kitten Half Time Set

It was impressive in person!

Tired Kitten

Half Time Show Time Out

The kittens were introduced slowly to the set, which was sure to be overwhelming to small kittens weighing in at only a couple of pounds. After a couple of minutes of sniffing and quiet exploring, kitten energy let loose! They were everywhere – playing with the toys, perching on the different levels, chasing each other and climbing all over the set (read about how enrichment helps Kitten Development). One little kitten got so excited about the prospect of climbing out of the set that he needed a short time-out back in the lobby, in my lap.

Each of the kittens had a great day out of the shelter and all were adopted shortly after arriving back at Animal Care & Control of New York City. I know they’ll be watching Puppy Bowl IX with their adoptive families, which is the best part of the show.