Herding Cats

Cowboys Tell Us How Hard it Actually Is to Herd Cats


Cat herders are a special breed.

Because it takes stamina, hard work, and determination. Luckily these cowboys are not strangers to challenges, even one as impossible as herding cats.

Meet this family of cat herders that travel over the Montana prairie and try not to laugh.


Cat herding has been in this family for generations and while anybody can herd cattle, herding "10,000 half-wild shorthairs...now that's another thing all together."

Taming cats is no easy feat and these gristly cowboys have the scratch marks to prove it. Yet, at the end of the day, after forging rivers and thundering through wild country there's nothing more satisfying than holding a purring cat and bringing in a herd without leaving any behind.



If you haven't guessed it by now, the video is a spoof, but it's a great one. If you didn't laugh at the cowboy using the lint roller, rolling a ball of yarn, or sneezing from cat allergies, then you are part of a tough crowd.

The commercial was made by the ad agency Fallon for the Texas company Electronic Data Systems (EDS). As the commercial proves, the IT company brings together information, ideas, and technologies and make them go where you want, kinda like herding cats. 

And in case you were wondering, the cowboys in the commercial are authentic. The agency sent out a casting call across Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and California looking for real-life cow herders. While some of the actors are stunt performers in Hollywood, a few of the men operate ranches in their regular lives and compete in rodeos 

The cats are real too. 50 to 60 trained cats were used to create the illusion of a herd, and the shot of them forging a river is also real. Although, the cats were really swimming a warm pool since it was really cold during the real shoot at Tejon Ranch in California. Art Director Dean Hanson and Creative Director David Lubars wanted the spoof to be as real as possible. Hanson told Adweek:


"Trainers taught the cats to swim by starting them out in one-quarter inch of water, then gradually building the pool to swimming depth. . . . Since we were shooting in nippy weather, our 'river' was actually a small pool warmed by a portable heater, like a little cat Jacuzzi."

The Cat Herders commercial won the First Boards Award (2000), a Cannes Silver Lion (2000), a bronze Clio (2001), Advertising Age's Best Visual Effects Award (2001), and a silver EFFIE Award (2001), according to Wikipedia. It was also nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Commercial in 2000.

The copywriter, executive producer, agency producer should all receive shout out's for this ad, it is brilliant! Cat herding with an American western as the backdrop for the concept is hilarious! We hope this ad goes viral again on social media so everyone can get a good laugh. "Herding cats, don't let anyone tell you it's easy" is the best line in any commercial!

Agency: Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis CD: David Lubars AD: Dean Hanson CW: Greg Hahn Exec. prod.: Judy Brink Agency prod.: Marty Wetherall Prod. co.: Hungry Man Dir.: John O'Hagan Editor: Gordon Carey, FilmCore Music: Asche & Spencer.

What do you think of these cowboys herding cats? Tell us in the comments below.


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