Cat lovers are clawing back in an effort to get equal time with dog lovers on Super Bowl Sunday.

The Hallmark Channel cable TV network announced that it is launching the Kitten Bowl as counterprogramming to the Puppy Bowl, which has run on Animal Planet since 2005. Both of the shows are counterprogramming to the Super Bowl, which will be played on Feb. 2 this season.

The Puppy Bowl traditionally has included the Kitty Halftime Show, but that no longer is enough to appease cat fanciers who have felt slighted by their pets’ benchwarmer status.

There’s been no word yet from Puppy Bowl organizers if they plan to keep the feline intermission.

As for the human bowl game, that halftime show will feature singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, who tipped his hand in the perennial cat-lover-vs.-dog-lover controversy when he tweeted pictures of his puppy last year.

The Kitten Bowl organizers have released few details about their event except to say that it will be “the greatest feline showdown in cable television history.” Plans call for 60 to 70 kittens to take part in two semifinal competitions that will be followed by a championship round.

The Super Bowl typically is the country’s most-watched TV show of the year, but the pets don’t seem intimidated by the notion of squaring off against the football players. In fact, the last Puppy Bowl got a ratings boost when the Super Bowl was delayed by a 30-minute blackout at the start of the second half.

Not only are the puppies and kittens a lot cuter than the players, they also seem to have karma on their side. □