The CATalyst: Adopt-A-Cat Month is Here. Let’s Put Our Best Feline Faces Forward

Steve Dale, CAT FANCY writer and syndicated newspaper pet columnist, provides a weekly cat news roundup. This week, he asks how we can draw more attention to adoptable cats.

Dogs get all the limelight, like nice TV news segments.

One of my jobs is to periodically appear on television to talk about pets. So, when WLS-TV in Chicago called me to appear on their morning news, we agreed that I’d generally talk about pet behavior problems.

I asked the producer if I can come on the set with an adoptable pet. She wrote back, “Great idea,” and asked me to give her the info about where viewers might be able to adopt the dog.

Dog? Who said anything about a dog? But that is what she assumed.

I instantly decided to ask her if I can have a cat appear for the segment, she said “Great idea.”

I’ve participated in hundreds of TV segments with an adoptable pet, and I’m a guy who has no issue going on TV with a cat, yet, even for me, I’m guessing about two thirds of those segments have been with canines and not cats.  

Cats Better On TV?
Actually, for the TV crew cats are easier. From the director’s perspective, getting a medium sized dog or large dog in the shot with other people is never an easy task. Also dogs are more likely to wander and sniff to the end of the leash. Unless the dog is specifically trained, dogs don’t stay on their mark. A cat can be in a lap or on a table. A cat can be better on TV.

And the cat I brought, Uno, was no exception. This cat couldn’t have been more cooperative. I even talked on the air a bit about why I was so happy to have a cat on the set with me. Uno was easy to handle, and happy to be there … there was just a lot to him – as you’ll see if you watch footage of the segment we shot on cat adoption here.

Get Out the Word to Adopt Cats
Certainly, dog and cat shelters have no shortages of adoptable cats to offer for such segments. So why don’t we see more cats?

I don’t really know the answer. So, I spoke to a few colleagues also periodically appear on these sorts of TV segments.  

Some of these folks are dog trainers, so it stands to reason that may feel more comfortable with dogs.

Others told me cats are more “unpredictable,” as if dogs stick to the script.
Anyone who’s on TV long enough with animals has stories to tell. I came on set once with the most perfect little sweet Beagle mix, who hardly vocalized in the shelter. Well, with one look at the giant moving robots in studio, which we call TV cameras, he found his Beagle howl and more. I’m sure viewers thought it was funny, but I couldn’t wait for the segment to end because I knew how scared and uncomfortable poor Snoopy was.    

Some producers – for whatever the reason – have it set in their minds that they want dogs and not cats on set. I’m glad producer Darah at WLS-TV had no concern with having an adoptable cat in the studio. June is, after all, Adopt A Cat Month, so my hope is to see more kitties on TV than ever before.

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