NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ten cats in search of owners will spend the next 10 days in a New York store window, their every move caught on camera for a reality TV show on which they will compete for best sleeper and mouse-catcher.
The show is the creation of a petfood company and will be shown on cable channel Animal Planet, as well as on the Web site www.MeowMixHouse.com where viewers will be asked to vote off one feline contestant each day.
The cats, chosen from shelters around the country, will compete for loudest purr, most prolific sleeper and who can catch the most toy mice. Kitties who get the boot will be adopted into permanent homes.
Meow Mix, owned by Del Monte Foods Company, hopes the show will promote cat adoption -- as well as their products, which will be the only thing on the menu.
Passerby taking a gander though a specially rented storefront on Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan can watch the cats lazing about a luxuriously outfitted cat-sized house that includes scaled-down sofas, beds, a fish tank (with fake fish), kitchen and a porch, all put together by an interior designer.
"It's a Disney World for cats," said Meow Mix's Ryan Reed, in charge of ensuring the cats are well-cared for and well-behaved. Volunteers from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are also on hand to attend to the needs of the kitty stars.
Enjoying their final day of obscurity on Monday, the cats seemed unfazed by attention from visiting media -- most of the cats were asleep on the set, which will be unveiled to the public on Tuesday.
A cat named Sam, from Dallas, Texas, stood guard on the home's welcome mat while Romeo, a Los Angeles native, lazily stretched out his six-toed paws before swatting a toy.
In the tradition of reality shows, the company will hire the top cat as "Feline Vice President of Research and Development," responsible for taste testing and product feedback.
Biographies of the cats play up their personalities, but in reality, they're all pretty mellow, if not a bit dazed from all the attention.
"In real life they're all very sweet," said Meow Mix's Keith Fernbach. "But we try to give them a personality for TV."