Think you can’t really train a cat? Well, think again! The Acro-Cats, billed as Chicago’s only trained domestic cat show, will change your mind. These thirteen cats and one kitten will blow you away as they ride skateboards, walk the high wire, ring bells, roll barrels, jump through hoops, climb ropes, push a shopping cart, and even run an agility course.
One of only four “cat shows” in the United States, the marvelous Acro-Cats are trained by Samantha Martin, a pioneering feline behavioral expert. Samantha uses clicker training, which is usually associated with training dogs, to train her kitties.
Samantha Martin has had a lifetime fascination and truly unique bond with animals inspiring her extensive background including an associate degree in animal husbandry and services, internships at the Brookfield Zoo, studies in animal behavioral sciences and leading advocate of healthy, effective clicker training techniques building better relationships and solving behavioral problems.
A sub-set of the Acro-Cats is the Rock Cats, a rock group of “musical” kitties that play the guitar, the drums, the piano, and a variety of musical instruments. There’s even a chicken, named Gregory Peck, playing the tambourine.
See the Rock Cats in action:
On Samantha’s cue, the cats perform tricks with various hoops, tumblers, hoisting flags, reading signs, even rolling balls over parallel ropes! This amazing show also includes performing mice, rats and even a cat vs chicken bowling show-down!
The entourage travels around the US, doing performances to help raise money for animal shelters, and to help get their cats and kittens adopted. Samantha and the Acro-Cats have been responsible for the adoption of 142 cats and kittens, so far.
During her shows, Samantha demonstrates ways of creating closer bonds with your cats. She hopes to inspire people to train their cats, because as she says “they enjoy the training. They want you to work with them”.
We think she’s on to something!
In this video, the Acrocats performed on the Stephen Colbert show, although they weren’t really cooperating very well. But hey, after all, you know how cats are, they do what they want to do, not what you want them to do.