LOS ANGELES — Football tampering is inevitable when felines take the field Sunday in Hallmark Channel's Kitten Bowl.
But the kitties simply can't help the fact that claws and balls don't go together, the channel said, so don't expect an NFL-style deflation investigation.
"Our issues tend to be more related to the size of the 'yarnage' markers on the 'kitiron' and, of course, the length of their milk breaks," said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Hallmark parent Crown Media Family Networks.
In other words, cute trumps controversy when fluffy, big-eyed kitties are involved — as it should.
"Kitten Bowl II" kicks off at noon EST, starting with semifinal matches between the Northpole Panthers and Hallmark Channel Hearties and the Good Witch Wildcats versus the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Mountain Lions. The winners then play for ultimate purring rights.
It's all for a good cause: The Kitten Bowl is part of Crown Media's ongoing effort to promote the adoption of shelter animals.
Hallmark goes for giggles as well, with "quartercats" dubbed Tawny Unitas, Ryan Fitzcatrick and Joe Montuna. John Sterling and Mary Carillo host the big game, with Boomer Esiason serving as Feline Football League commissioner,
The kitty contest isn't the only alternative to Sunday's Super Bowl match between the Seattle Seahawks and New England. The Patriots faced questions about allegedly underinflated balls after the team's win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Fish Bowl II is on the National Geographic Channel, and there's Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl (3 p.m. EST) that kicked off the trend and is in its 11th year. The latter also promotes pet adoption.
Viewers lap it all up. Last year's Puppy Bowl drew 13.5 million viewers, with the inaugural Kitten Bowl watched by 1 million. That's not the 2014 Super Bowl's 112.2 million viewers, but it beats a bowl of kibble.