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All Images Courtesy of Victoria Schade

By Victoria Schade

Sure, Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl is all about the puppies, but cat fans can get their fix during the adorable Kitty Halftime Show. I’ve worked on the Puppy Bowl as the lead animal trainer for years and have been lucky enough to work with all the feline athletes as well. Watching them strut their stuff on the field is always a highlight of the event.

The day starts out in the holding area, where the kittens have ample opportunity to stretch out and limber up as well as take care of their–ahem–duties before hitting the field. 

Kittens Lounging Before the Puppy Bowl Halftime Show

Everyone loves to get their cuddle on and take photos, but some kittens are so focused on nailing their Puppy Bowl halftime routine that they can’t be bothered by the “puparazzi.” 

Kitten From Animal Planet's Halftime Show

That’s me—with two feline stars—working on the celebratory cake shot. After a test run with the twins in my arms, we decided that it was best to let a solo kitten have her spotlight moment. Of course she nailed it on her very first attempt! 

Victoria Schade On Set at Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl

Being on set during this shot was a tad stressful because there’s a line of precariously perched dominoes right in front of us. One wrong move—by human or feline—could send the whole thing toppling. 

Victoria Schade Helping a Kitten During the Puppy Bowl Halftime Show

The kittens take to the field as last-minute adjustments are made to the set and lighting. They don’t seem to care about the humans in the way—they’re ready to play

Filming Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl Halftime Show

The set is filled with a variety of cat toys, but there were definitely a few favorites. The motorized feather and butterfly toys were huge hits, as always. 

Kittens Playing During Puppy Bowl Halftime Show

Sometimes it only takes a second to go from bystander to participant. Ready … set … POUNCE! 

Kitten Leaping After Cat Toy During the Puppy Bowl Halftime Show

Not every kitten wants to strut the field. Some prefer to hit the catwalk and show off their floorwork—like these two lounging feline stars. 

Kittens Lounging on the Field During Puppy Bowl Halftime Show

The whole team loves it when the kittens get up close and purr-sonal with us. We’ve got volunteers and staff at the edge of the stage ready to lend a helping hand … 

Kitten in Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl Halftime Show

… or a cuddling shoulder if necessary!

Puppy Bowl Halftime Show Kitten

The kitten skybox looks huge on screen, but it’s actually a small elevated stage. It only fits two humans but can handle a dozen hard-partying kittens at a time.

Behind the Scenes at Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl Halftime Show

During the skybox scenes, I am sitting on the ground below the open window trying to encourage the kittens to come to the edge and “watch” the game. It’s a fine line between getting them to play with me and preventing them from leaping out! 

Kitten in the Skybox at Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl

It may have been the Puppy Bowl, but these purrfect kittens made the Kitty Halftime Show magical! 

Kitten in front of 2019 Puppy Bowl Logo

Want more of the Puppy Bowl? Check out 8 Things You Didn't Know About the Puppy Bowl

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