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Kitten Bowl IV is the purrrfect way to start Super Bowl Sunday

Kitten Bowl has lead to the adoption of thousands of cats and kittens.

Pro football players may be tough, but nobody is more feisty (or adorable) than these "catletes."

Before the big game starts on Sunday, 100 of America's most athletickittens will meet on the field for Kitten Bowl IV.

The annual event airs at12 p.m. ET/PT on the Hallmark Channel, with host andanimal advocate Beth Stern, who will bejoined byPeabody Award-winning reporterMary Carillo, the voice of the New York Yankees John Sterling, and four-time Pro Bowl quarterback and Feline Football League Commissioner Boomer Esiason.

Though Animal Planet will be holding its rival Puppy Bowl the same day, the Hallmark Channel (and any cat lover) knows that these felines come with a special combination of ferociousnessand sweetness.

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"Kittens have been known to tackle their own teammates as they claw their way up goal posts to victory. One thing is for certain: 'Kitten Bowl'is as entertaining as it is good," Hallmark said.

Kitten Bowl is more than just entertainment, leading tothe adoption of thousands of cats and kittens. The event is a key part ofCrown Media Family Networks PETS initiative to showcase the plight of homeless animals and pets available for adoption through local shelters.

"As proud as we are of the thousands of animals that have found forever homes because of 'Kitten Bowl,' and many of our other pet-centric programs, we dream of a day when shelters will be empty because every animal has a loving home,” saidBill Abbott, president and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks.

All of 2017's feline football playershave already been adopted.

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