Everybody wants to be a cat. Because a cat’s the only cat, who knows where it’s at.
For The Amazing Acro-Cats, this statement couldn’t be more accurate. As one of only four performing house-cat troupes in the U.S., these felines demonstrate amazing feats that will leave you purring for more.
Watch Buggles as she rides down a ramp on a skateboard or Oz as he jumps through hoops. Other amazing acts include ringing bells, turning on lights, walking tight ropes, pushing a shopping cart and riding on top of a mini disco ball (among other tasks). But that’s not all. Along with the 12 cats and six kittens that perform in in the show, a groundhog, three rats and a chicken (named Hen-Diana Jones) also make an appearance.
Out of the non-felines, Hen-Diana Jones steals the spotlight. Competing with the star of the show, Tuna, Hen-Diana challenges Tuna to a game of bowling and bell ringing.
Then stay tuned as The Rock Cats take the stage. See Tuna play the cowbell, Dakota bang on the drums, Pinkie rock out on the guitar and Nue play the piano. A few new additions have been added to the band including Sookie on the chimes and Hen-Diana Jones pecking away at the symbol and tambourine.
But how did these cats get their start in showbiz? Samantha Martin. As the ringleader for The Amazing Acro-Cats and an expert animal trainer, Martin rescued and trained the cats to perform. With the help of clicker training and plenty of fresh treats (chicken, tuna and salmon), she transformed these ordinary felines into extraordinary superstars.
While watching the cats (and other animals) perform was a treat in and of itself, the show also served as an educational tool. Before The Acro-Cats made their appearance Martin demonstrated the importance of clicker training. Using positive reinforcement only, Martin used a “target stick” (a stick with a red ball at the end) to guide a kitten in a task. Once the kitten completed the task, Martin clicked and then gave the kitten a treat. A whistle was also used to corral the cats back into their cages. Martin explained how these tools could be helpful in emergency situations (i.e. in a fire when you have limited time and need to find your pet and get out) and could help aid behavioral problems.
In addition to providing helpful tips on training cats, Martin brought the issue of adoption to the forefront of the show. As rescues, each of The Amazing Acro-Cats has had their fair share of hardships. One of the cats, Jax, was found inside a cooler at a truck stop. Another cat, Pudge, was found in a box on the side of the road. Hearing these heart-wrenching stories put the reality of abandonment into perspective. At the same time, the show offered hope, providing an opportunity for the community to help. Six foster cats and six foster kittens were available for adoption at the end of the performance.
Combining entertainment, education and public awareness, The Amazing Acro-Cats is the purrfect spectacle for kids and adults alike. Be sure to stay after the show to meet the furry stars themselves. The Amazing Acro-Cats are performing in Boulder at the Nomad Theatre from June 27- July 1 and in Denver at The Bug Theatre from July 6-8 and July 11-14. A portion of the proceeds from the Denver show will benefit Cat Care Society (www.catcaresociety.org). Cat Care Society is a cage-free shelter for homeless, injured and abused cats. The non-profit organization also provides educational programs to help you better understand your furry friend. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children. For tickets, show times and more information visit www.CircusCats.com.
Jessica Kleinman is an art and culture intern/writer for 303 Magazine. She is currently studying journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her posts on Twitter.