Chrissy ON Mar 10, 2014 AT 10:58 am

by Chrissy Iley

Acro Cats

Acro Cats

I have heard the expression so many times, ‘That was so difficult, it was like herding cats’. Meaning impossible. Dogs want to please, so they do tricks, even complicated ones, just because they want to be told, ‘Good boy/girl’.

Cats are more discerning, they have cattitude. They are not concerned with pleasing. But last night the amazing Acro-Cats gave a room packed with people pure pleasure, warmed hearts and a serious spirit lift.

The show was presented by their trainer Samantha Martin, who evidently speaks fluent cat. The cats jumped through hoops, literally. The cats jump through hoops of tissue paper, spin on balls, weave in and out on tightropes, and go bowling with a real chicken called Cluck Norris, quite a star in her own right.

Acro Cats

Acro Cats

Samantha starts the show asking us to lower our expectations. The cats, she warns, sometimes do things in their own time, not necessarily to order. A brilliant move. Nothing hurts like hope. Disappointment could kill a show like this, and fortunately there is none.

The cats all have their own stories and things that they like to do. They are all orphaned, rescued strays, who have found their place in Samantha’s heart and travelling cat bus. The cats are trained with whistles, clickers, treats and a pointer baton. Treats being the most important – the cats like to be paid for their hard work with fresh cooked tuna, salmon or chicken. And they also like applause.

Briefly I entertained the hope that I could train my cat Slut to jump through hoops, and maybe play the piano, as apparently it’s best to train them to do the things they already like doing, and Slut loves to walk across laptop keyboards. I bought the training kit. Sadly she has no interest.

Acro Cats

Acro Cats

The stars of the show include black cat Buggles, who jumps onto podiums like a lion and spins on her ball on a tightrope, and the diva cat Tuna, who is all white and apparently only pretty on the outside. She likes to ring her cowbell and is the manager and band leader for Tuna and the Rock Cats, a thrilling ensemble of percussive pussies.

The only male cat in the group, Oz, plays guitar, while others are on drums, keyboard, chimes and bells. It can’t be easy to get a cat to play a guitar, but somehow this happens. Tuna and the Rock Cats are the first feline rock stars, the best cat band in the world, and so far the only. Although I’m not giving up on Slut and the cat piano just yet.

The Acro-Cats are on tour in California just now. For instant happiness and purring on the inside go to see them. Every day if you can.

Watch clips from one of the shows below:

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