Cat-letes take the field in Port for Kitten Bowl V

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A paws-itively entertaining performance from a previous Kitten Bowl. (Photo courtesy of the North Shore Animal League America)

Before the teams take the field in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LI in February, the Hallmark Channel will air another annual tradition: the Kitten Bowl, which was filmed last week in Port Washington.

“It’s the most fun thing ever,” said Kathleen Lynn of the North Shore Animal League America in Port Washington, which hosted the event. “The videos of the kittens, it’s so cute.”

While the sight of kittens playing with a piece of string is enough to justify the existence of the Kitten Bowl for millions of Americans, Lynn said the purpose of the event was to encourage adoption.

“What’s important to us and important to [Hallmark] is saving lives and finding homes for these animals,” she said.

After the Kitten Bowl was filmed midweek, people were encouraged to come in and adopt both cats and dogs this past weekend. Among the animals up for adoption were the kittens that participated in the bowl.

According to the North Shore Animal League America, 50 cats were adopted last weekend, with 36 of those being kittens.

But that is only a smaller part of a much larger push for adoption. When the Kitten Bowl airs at noon on Feb. 4, 2018, events will go on at adoption centers around the country to help find homes for animals. When the first Kitten Bowl aired in 2014, five rescue and adoption organizations held adoption events. That number grew to 25 the next year, 50 in 2016 and 100 this year. Lynn expects even more to join for 2018.

“This year there are going to be 200 organizations taking part,” she said. “There have been thousands of adoptions that have occurred because of the Kitten Bowl.”

According to a news release, an estimated 10,000 animals have found homes as a result of the Kitten Bowl.

But despite the name, not only felines will be up for adoption. Dogs and puppies will also be available for adoption and will participate in the Kitten Bowl.

“We have a referee that is a puppy and there will be a puppy halftime show,” Lynn said. There will also be commentary from Feline Football League Commissioner and four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Boomer Esiason.

Among the animals up for adoption will be cats rescued from Texas and Florida after those states were struck by hurricanes this year.

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