A Circus With Cattitude

See felines perform miraculous feats, from skateboarding to playing in a live band

The Rock Cats (with Martin, left) are the show’s crowning act.
The Rock Cats (with Martin, left) are the show’s crowning act.

In “The Amazing Acro-Cats,” trained kitties roll barrels, skateboard, jump through hoops and do other distinctly un-feline things.

They also take their time doing tricks and occasionally meander offstage mid-show, says Samantha Martin, trainer and “chief human.” In other words, they’re still normal cats.

Martin and her 12 stars are performing in La Plata, Md., (their first appearance in the state) this weekend. We collected questions from curious, cat-owning staffers.

There are OTHER cat shows in the U.S.?! Was yours the first?
Not the first. Others came before me, others before that came and went. Having a cat act is not an easy task.

Unlike dogs, cats don’t seem to care about humans. Do they just want food?
Cats are definitely more food-motivated. Dogs work more for love or praise or a tennis ball; cats are more like, “What’s in it for me?”

What foods do they like?
I treat with boiled chicken and also some salmon, sometimes ahi tuna, depending on difficulty of the trick. Some cats are picky. Dakota really likes steak medium-rare but that makes the other cats sick. Tuna only likes tuna from the can; she doesn’t like fresh tuna.

How do you identify potential Acro-Cats?
I do fostering and, every once in a while, there’s a super-outgoing, fearless kitten that fits in with the rest of the troupe.

Do the cats work as a team?
It’s pretty much every cat for himself. The band is like a free-form jazz band, each playing their own little riff.

Do they enjoy sitting in boxes?
They prefer paper bags.

Do they like viral cat videos?
We try to show them cat videos. They groom themselves, look away.

What’s your cat litter bill like?
I don’t really care to add it up.

Can those who are allergic to cats enjoy the show?
If they sit in the back. The cats will leave the stage from time to time and wander around. Reach out to pet the cat and it will go away.

Port Tobacco Players Theatre, 508 Charles St., La Plata, Md.; Fri.-Sun., $15-$20; Circuscats.com.
Holly J. Morris is Express' managing editor for features.
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