Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kitty Corner More and More Hard-Working Cats Are Finding Jobs in TV

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kitty Corner More and More Hard-Working Cats Are Finding Jobs in TV

Article excerpt

MOST cat fanciers would agree that television has basically given short shrift to this near purr-fect pet.

Sure, Morris the Cat became a TV commercial icon as the spokes-feline for 9 Lives cat food, but television quite literally has gone to the dogs. Such pooches as Lassie, Eddie on "Frasier" and Murray from "Mad About You" have gotten all the press and the glory.

But things are changing. Cats are now the No. 1 pet in America, with approximately 60 million kitties, as compared to 55 million dogs. And three popular prime-time series prominently feature felines. ABC's "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," stars Salem, a wisecracking warlock turned into a black cat for 100 years. CBS' "Early Edition" features a mysterious, sweet orange tabby who delivers the next day's newspaper every morning to Gary (Kyle Chandler). And cartoonist Caroline Duffy (Lea Thompson) shares her apartment with Salty on NBC's sitcom, "Caroline in the City." Fred Barron, an executive producer of "Caroline," decided to include a cat in the series after catching an episode of the 1992-93 Bob Newhart sitcom "Bob," in which his cat bounded down the stairs and jumped on the sofa to watch TV with Newhart. "We had done a dog in `Dave's World,' " he says. "I have two cats, as well as two dogs, and they're great." The cat was just a pet in the original concept of "Early Edition," but when executive producer Bob Brush developed the pilot, the nameless kitty arrived with the newspaper. "It was a great sound for the delivery of the paper," says executive producer Lillah McCarthy. "We knew the paper arrived because there was the sound of the thud of the paper and a cat's meow." In the case of "Caroline," Barron says, the producers were looking for a cat with experience and an expressive face to play Salty. They found those qualities in Tiki, a 9-year-old Himalayan. "It is that centeredness we love about her," says Barron, who adds that the animal is being pursued to be the spokescat for a cat food company. Trainer Tammy Maples has owned Tiki for seven years. "She was a rescue cat," Maples says. "She was actually from a kitty mill. …

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