Of course, just like a segment of Oprah’s, each of these pusses has its own cat-alog of woes. They are all strays, from shelters throughout the country, each representing a different animal charity, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York, Touched by an Animal in Chicago, and Kitten Rescue in Los Angeles. They will be adopted by families after their 15-minutes of fame. Meow Mix maintains that segments featuring the cats are not merely clever marketing for their pet food, but a way to bring attention to adopting stray animals from shelters. (Even a moggie would yawn at that one.)
Are the claws out? Will there be catfights? No doubt Meow Mix is hoping for as much “Cats Gone Wild” excitement as possible. At the party celebrating the beginning of the competition, a bright young man from the company told me that so far they were very pleased with the publicity they were getting. Just like on American Idol, viewers will be able to vote for their favorites. And there is one cat named Ellis, gray-haired and hefty, with a kind-of Taylor Hicks style, who seems an early favorite. There are already 20,000 votes in. As we spoke, I noticed some poor guy walking around in a thick, furry cat suit that was fitted, I was told, with an internal fan and ice packs to keep him for fainting. Yes, it’s a dog’s life being an out-of-work actor up for any gig.
So, in a world full of tragedies, is the Meow Mix cat competition painfully dumb or just some silly summertime fun? I don’t know, but I do know that more people voted for American Idol than for any president in history. If even half that number have nothing better to do than vote for Zen or Ellis, I’d consider it a catastrophe.
—Myrna Blyth, former long-time editor of Ladies’ Home Journal and founding editor of More, is author of Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness—and Liberalism—to the Women of America. Blyth is also an NRO contributor.