December 6, 1995
Web posted at: 7:25 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Gloria Hillard
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The next time you see your cat draped over the living room sofa, taking her 16th nap of the day, and your dog eating the other end of the couch, think about it this way. They could just be temperamental stars waiting for their debut career as singers.
Mike Spalla's cat "Cheesepuff" is resting up for an afternoon of belting out yet another tune for the holidays, but he's had his day in the sun. He was one of the stars of last holiday season's "Jingle Cats." (153K AIFF sound or 153K WAV sound)
This year "Cheesepuff" is singing back-up. "Rocket" the dog has paid his dues, so he's getting to paw his way to the top of the charts with "Jingle Dogs." (85K AIFF sound or 85K WAV sound)
The auditions were tough. (825K QuickTime movie Coutesy of Jingle Cats Music) Even though Spalla was taking singers right off the street, most of them are strays, there were some rules. "The dogs had to get along with the cats. The second requirement was that they bark," Spalla says. (51K AIFF sound or 51K WAV sound)
As "Rocket," the star singer, was being interviewed, he learned a few new showbiz tricks, such as the adage about working with kids. A puppy was getting all of the closeups. But "Rocket" is no slouch when it comes to showbiz savvy. He quickly countered by schmoozing with the cameraman and the reporter. Well, if you call sitting really close and being petted schmoozing.
Last year's stars, a herd of multi-striped and colored cats, loomed in the background, giving off a slight air of resentment. Maybe the once-famous felines were upset about being relegated to backup meows.
As "Rocket" took a break from his interview and sauntered off in search of a chew toy, one jealous persian hooked a claw in his flank. But "Rocket," like a true professional, pretended not to notice.
After two successful albums, the cats have developed star attitudes. "Cheesepuff" is a good example. "He sees a microphone (and) just goes the other way so I have to catch him off guard," Spalla says.
But the positive thing about Spalla's project is that all of these reigning stars used to be strays. He and his wife, Jennifer, started rounding them several years ago and now, well, they're not only safe from the pound, they've truly arrived. "They've made it to superstardom. It's kind of like a lot of Hollywood stories," Jennifer Spalla says.
The cats at this point in their careers do seem somewhat cavalier about all of the media attention. During the interview, a silver tabby bolted at the first hint of a personal question.
But the dogs were lapping up the attention. One of"Rockets" duet partners, a sweet-faced blonde pooch, even sat still for a make-over.
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