Go behind the scenes with the Kitten Bowl catletes

A fierce group of catletes that could easily take on the Jets and Giants have been training on the football field for the fourth annual Hallmark Channel Kitten Bowl.

If you've ever seen the big game, it's probably left you wondering a few things: What's the scoring process like? Who's in the audience at that packed stadium? And how do the coaches get those kitties to actually play football?

Well, kitten fanatics, it takes lots of behind-the-scenes tricks from the film crew and North Shore Animal League America staff and volunteers.

Take a look backstage at the road to the biggest game in feline football, which airs on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5.

The stadium is kitten-sized, naturally. More than 100 adoptable cats from North Shore Animal League America will show off their cathletic ability during the game. All of the kittens typically find homes within five days of taping, said Beth Ostrosky Stern, spokeswoman for the Long Island-based shelter. (Credit: Meghan Giannotta)

Have a cat at home? You may want to try this.

To help pick up the action, two fishermen (or members of the filming staff) stand on each end of the stadium. Toys are attached to thin fishing line, which is virtually invisible to viewers at home. They'll help move the plush toys and rubber footballs across the field, sparking the kittens' interest.

(Credit: Meghan Giannotta)

Cats who are extra energized on the field help score big points for their teams. Yes, the cats are on teams -- what did you think they were doing out there?

John Sterling, known for his gig as the New York Yankees announcer, spills the catnip on the scoring system: "I can't really explain it, because kittens do what kittens do, but when they come down the field and jump on or over the goal posts they get an extra point or two," he said, admitting the system is more about cuteness than purrfection.

(Credit: Meghan Giannotta)



The Most Valuable Kitten hasn't been revealed yet by commentators Mary Carillo, a sports analyst, and Boomer Esiason, a former Jets quarterback. But Stern has some ideas as to what that key player will have to do on the field.

"You have to be aggressive and well, you have to be cute. I mean we have about 100 cute ones, but you have to be extra cute," she said. "There's always that MVP player that just knows what to do. I wish I knew their secret. They're all so cute."

(Credit: Meghan Giannotta)

Be prepared for a lot of meowing, jumping, field goal post-scratching and more cuteness when the cats take the field this Super Bowl Sunday. No matter which team scores the highest, all of the rescue cats will be winners when they go home with their new families. (Credit: Meghan Giannotta)


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