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By Catherine Townsend
PUBLISHED: 10:44 EST, 9 April 2013 | UPDATED: 02:34 EST, 10 April 2013[header links]
For the past nine years, Animal Planet has
cornered the field in canine competition with Puppy Bowl, which
plays opposite the Super Bowl and has become a genuine cultural
Now, Hallmark Channel is starting its own tradition - Kitten Bowl.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the three-hour special will be shown on February 2,
2014 beginning at 12pm Eastern time. Kitten Bowl will feature
adoptable kittens in competition and is presented in
conjunction with the American Humane Association.
Scroll down for video
Going to the dogs? Hallmark Channel's Kitten Bowl will air on February 2, 2014 and directly compete with Animal Planet's annual Puppy Bowl (stock photo)
All animals featured in Puppy Bowl also come from shelters and rescue organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico.
Dogs score touchdowns on a 10-by-19-foot gridiron carpet when they cross the goal line with a toy. The Water Bowl Cam and
the hamster-steered blimp have become yearly traditions for many channel-surfing Americans.
According to Hallmark Channel's press release, Kitten Bowl will be an agility competition that consists of a 'basic obstacle course of hurdles of varying heights, A-frame Alpine Scratchers, tunnels, hoop jumps, and weave poles'.
Laser pointers and toys on a string will be used to get the kittens through the course, but food will not allowed.
Cat agility competitions, which are modeled after the equestrian sport of show jumping, normally include rules which state that cats must complete a course in under 270 seconds, but in Kitten Bowl 'any form of cuteness is key to the game'.
Playing the field: Dogs pictured during Puppy Bowl, an annual Animal Planet TV special that mimics a football game with canine players
The network's original movie talent will become the judges, referees and sideline trainers - and home viewers will vote for the 'MVK', or most valuable kitten.
Animal Planet isn't taking the new lying down. They already have a Kitty Halftime Show, and last year's Puppy Bowl XI really ramped up the cuteness with 'Puppy Cam' technology to get viewers close the action and hedgehog cheerleaders.
The network has since released its own statement. It reads 'You’ve GOT to be kitten me! With the record-breaking success of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl,
our famous Kitty Half-Time Show and the huge viewership for our new
live Kitten Cam, we’re not surprised by a "copy cat."
'After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We’re just happy that pet adoption is being promoted and more animals are finding their fur-ever homes.'