Show Biz and Your Cat

Does your pet have what it takes to make it big on television? A trainer shares his advice.

Posted: Fri Mar 21 00:00:00 PST 2003

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Morris and his kin make it look easy, but the sad truth is that most cats don't have what it takes to make it big in commercials, say the nation's top trainers.

Even if your pet has the right look, it may not have the demeanor or training to perform complicated tricks on cue in front of a large, bustling crew. Cats that do are rare and in great demand.

"It's very difficult for the average pet to break into commercials," confirms John Baldwin, a trainer with Critters of the Cinema, a Los Angeles-based animal talent company. "Just as actors have agents, so do animals in the form of established trainers. That's who casting directors turn to when they need an animal for a commercial or motion picture.

"In most cases, a production company or advertising agency will call us or another established trainer and ask for a selection of pictures, from which they'll choose the animals they want to use. This way they know the animals will be able to do what's needed of them."

Location is also very important. Most big-name trainers are located in New York or Los Angeles, where most commercials are filmed. If you live outside these areas, the chances of commercial success for you and your pet lessen.

"The only time we use private cats is if a production wants a specific breed that we don't have," notes Karen Thomas, who works with Baldwin at Critters of the Cinema. "We then go to our files of private cat owners we know or have been referred to, and call them."

But all is not lost. National television commercials are probably an unrealistic goal, but that doesn't mean you can't have some fun doing local TV ads.

"I would suggest making a short video of your cat especially if it does tricks and sending it, along with still photos and related information, to area advertising agencies," says nationally renowned animal trainer Scott Hart.

"Local companies, such as car dealers and furniture stores, are more likely to use local talent, including animals. It's one way to break into the business."

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Reader Comments

John    Lakeville, MN

2/28/2014 6:32:46 PM

Puck is a nice big black cat. Perfect for an acting role

Ben    International

1/22/2014 5:53:17 AM

My cat Name is Jess. After out gold Medel winner Jessica Ennis-Hill
She is a beautiful grey black and white cat. She had a lot of confidence
And is a real charecter

Kelly    Davie, FL

9/26/2013 8:26:57 PM

I have an all pure white cat named Mr.kitty. He is full of energy and has a human like personality.

Jake    San Antonio, TX

7/27/2013 9:29:24 PM

I have a cat named jj and she has a lot of talents example: jumping on my roof that is high playing fetch playing dead and


opening doors to get inside the house. An is a kind cat I had a pet fish rocket that lived for 5years an I have had my cat for like 3 years when I brought that cat into my room she saw the fish it is very akward that a cat would like a fish but it is true every day she would check on him it was the most cutest thing I have ever seen but than a year later my fish died and we buried the fish outside are house and ever since then my cat jj will go outside and sitt right next to the burial ground and lay down right next to the fish. That's y I think my cat has the biggest heart in the world.

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