NEW YORK (CNN) — The Meow Mix cat food company announced that it is launching a new TV program for “cats and the humans they tolerate,” littered with scenes of squirrels, cat poetry, and lots and lots of cats. “We’re out to change America,” purred Richard Thompson, the chief executive of Secaucus, New Jersey-based Meow Mix. “Cats are hiding in homes and dogs are out on the street causing trouble. We’re going to bring cats to the forefront.”
Titled “Meow TV,” the half-hour program will premiere May 30 on the Oxygen cable channel, and will run several more times throughout June, Thompson said. Another 30-minute program is scheduled to air in the fall.
Oxygen, a channel geared to women, was the purr-fect venue for the show because women are the primary buyers of pet food and, in particular, cat food, Thompson said. But the show will be one the whole family can curl up and watch, he said.
Annabelle Gurwitch, former host of the TBS program “Dinner & A Movie,”
hosts the program with her cat, Stinky. Broadcasting from their fictional living room, they narrate segments like “Squirrel Alert,” where squirrels run up and down trees to fast-paced music. The “Cat Critics” segment shows housecats watching a film about large cats, like lions and cheetahs, in the wild. The housecats in the forefront “comment” on what they see, Thompson said.
Actress Sandra Bernhard — who Thompson said is a cat fan — reads aloud “Cat Haikus,” and viewers can send in birthday “shout-outs” to their cats, along with footage of their cats doing “something cool.” The first episode features a cat that eats his meals with chopsticks and another cat that surfs in the ocean.
The idea was to try a different kind of marketing, Thompson said. Meow Mix toyed with a number of “fun gimmicks” before deciding this one had legs, he said. There are 85 million cats living in 35 million homes in the United States, he said.
“We got a lot of input from all of our cat friends,” Thompson joked.
“We wanted to be sure that tabby cats and Persians got all of their demographics in.”