When the first-ever Kitten Bowl is broadcast on the Hallmark Channel this Super Bowl Sunday, one of the furry teams—the Last Hope Lions—will be from Last Hope Animal Rescue, supported by St. Bede’s Church and Petco in Syosset.
The Last Hope Lions are the “underdogs” pitted against North Shore Animal League, the world’s largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization.
Hallmark Channel narrowed down the competition to four teams primarily by color. Last Hope Lions are tabbies; North Shore Bengals are orange and white; Home and Family Felines are black and tuxedos while Cedar Cove Cougars (some are also Last Hope kittens) are gray and white. The last two teams are named for popular shows on the Hallmark Channel.
Super stars of each team have “stage” football names. Hallmark christened the Last Hope Lions: Mr. Whiskers, Brett Furve, Marbles, Maverick, Socks and Tabby Romo.
They will all be wearing purple collars during the TV scrimmages. Hallmark has also created a trading card for each star player. A MVK (Most Valuable Kitten) will be chosen at the end of the game.
“Last Hope is so grateful to the Hallmark Channel for including our ordinary tabbies in such a terrific TV event and for showcasing the plight of homeless shelter animals throughout the US,” says Joanne Anderson, Last Hope Animal Rescue outreach coordinator. “The ‘Kitten Bowl’ will help to find many cats homes, and that in itself scores a touchdown plus the extra point.”
Filming took place in November at a NYC studio during a three-day meow marathon of about 70 kitty draft picks.
The tiny fur ball fullbacks punted, passed and tackled each other on a miniature gridiron for hours on end, but right now you can watch live streaming of kitten adoption hopefuls at the Training Camp via “Kitten Cam” on the Hallmark Channel website.
TV personality Beth Stern hosts, while NY Yankees radio announcer John Sterling offers the play by play. Commentary from celebrities like Regis Philbin, Rachael Ray, Hoda Kotb, and Carrie Ann Inaba will promote adoptions and responsible pet care.
Striving to “repair” and re-home abandoned and stray animals, Last Hope takes dogs in need from municipal shelters on Long Island as well as from impoverished rural shelters in Southern states, whereas cats come many local sources of distress.
In 2012, Last Hope placed 700 cats and 300 dogs in loving, responsible homes.
Determined to reduce pet overpopulation, Last Hope assists owners undergoing hard times with free spay/neuter for their pets. Last Hope also hosts free rabies vaccine clinics. A Fix-A-Feral program and free Trap/ Neuter /Return clinics make it financially feasible for caretakers to spay/neuter feral cats they are feeding.
The organization assists the public in trapping feral cats while making the community aware of humane alternatives to the ubiquitous feral cat problem. Since 2003, more than 12,000 cats have been altered via Last Hope’s Fix-A-Feral vouchers.