It’s probably not unusual for “Kitten Bowl” handlers to get a few scratches. I also took a few licks from someone who was supposed to be representing the “Home & Family” show on the Hallmark Channel, the network that airs the “Kitten Bowl.”
The constant line of fans queuing up to see kittens playing ball on a miniature football field showed how very popular this Super Bowl Live pastime was. It’s a clever, entertaining cat adoption program.
The celebrity on the scene was “Home & Family” animal expert Larissa Wohl. Wohl gave a shout-out to the North Shore Animal League America based in Port Washington, N.Y., which brought in 50 rescue kittens. “They have their own sanctuary. They do so much work. A lot of the cats that you see or saw here were from Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey, so they really have amazing back stories.” Those stories are told in elaborate video packages. Some of the cats are even featured on sports-type trading cards.
I interviewed Wohl last week after getting a last-minute invitation. Sounded different, so I took my cat allergies over to the bowl on the lower level of the former Dayton’s space on Nicollet Mall. There, a rep from “Home & Family” or the Hallmark Channel gushed about how excited she was to meet me and said she was a longtime fan.
But all her pleasantness evaporated by my third question to Wohl: “Does United Airlines’ rejection of the therapy peacock mean we’re never going to hear about a therapy boa constrictor on a plane?” That was inspired by the hysterical story about the emotional support peacock, Dexter, sent packing recently from a New Jersey airport. I think she might have preferred questions such as: Do any of the kittens have a touchdown dance worthy of the NFL?
Wohl was great and played pretty well with me, but my former fan needed some catnip. On my video you’ll hear the unhappy TV rep saying, “no, no, no.” At one point you can hear the crinkle as she kinda grabbed the paper with my questions. Bad, TV rep!
“I’m here to help,” said the TV rep. No, you’re not, I laughed.
My goal was to ask Wohl some amusing questions because this should’ve been a fluffy little story. After all, it’s THE KITTY BOWL!
Thank the kitten gods for Kathleen Lynn, communications director for North Shore Animal League. Lynn swooped in to rescue me, suggesting camera shots and taking me behind the scenes.
Q: Why are you a media person instead of a veterinarian who also is a media personality?
A: Great question. Medical stuff gives me the heebie-jeebies: the blood, the cutting. Love veterinarians, use them a lot for my own fosters and rescue animals, adore them, respect them, couldn’t do it myself. Wish I could. If I can help animals through another avenue, I’ll do that.
Q: Have you completely forgiven Michael Vick?
A: I should probably stay away from that. [Laughter]
Q: Does United Airlines’ rejection of the therapy peacock mean we’re never going to hear about a therapy boa constrictor?
A: Good question.
Interrupting TV rep: Do you have “Kitten Bowl” questions?
Me: Since this column will run after the show, I’m doing a timeless interview.
TV rep: I just want to see some of the other … [she grabs paper]. Oh, no, no.
Me: Yes. Now, back to Wohl.
Q: Do you find any dogs ugly?
A: No. They’re all adorable.
Q: Do you watch “The Vet Life”?
A: Yes. I watch “Vet Life,” I watch “Lucky Dog,’’ all those animal shows. [Animal trainer] Brandon McMillan taught me things I hadn’t heard about and I thought I had heard them all.
Q: Do people resemble animals to you?
A: People do resemble animals. I should say my dog looks like me. That’s what everybody says.
Q: What animals with social media accounts do you follow? [Think the Bronx Zoo’s cobra on Twitter.]
A: So many. Super Scooty. A lot of them are animal rescue organizations that I follow that just keep updating the animals. [You think], “Oh, I hope they find a home,” and you find out later that they do. Really awesome.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject.