An unusual form of entertainment played last week at the Shadowbox Theater: The Amazing Acro-cats. This traveling, performing cat, rat, hen and groundhog troupe and rock band is led by Samantha Martin.
“I realized that there aren’t a lot of cat acts out there. Now I know why,” Martin said as the show opened.
Her sense of humor, the lighthearted mood of the audience, and the campy set were the perfect complement for cat tricks, because, as any cat owner knows, felines are often distracted and unconcerned with pleasing their masters. Thus Oz and Buggles had to be queued several times to do their tricks.
Lead guitarist and manager of the Rock Cats, Tuna, would participate only when treats were visible, and Suki became distracted at several points by shiny objects on the merchandise table, although she eventually redirected her attention and pushed a tiny shopping cart of bones across the stage. This feat was followed by a few other Halloween tricks involving pumpkins, skulls and spooky lights.
The show closed with music by the Rock Cats, with Tuna and Pinky on guitar, Dakota, Waldo, and Fiji on percussion, and Nue on keyboard.
The most unusual member of the Rock Cats was Henrietta, the hen, who provided surprisingly consistent cymbal accompaniment.
Martin’s training method is a system of positive reinforcement and clicker training, which teaches the cats to associate desired behavior with a clicking noise and a treat. Martin says that teaching your cat through clicker training is a great way to bond and provide your pet with exercise and mental stimulation.
In addition to celebrating human-cat friendship and the downright cuteness of these adorable fur balls, Samantha and her troupe consistently foster cats from shelters, take them on the road to perform, and find homes for them along the way.
As of last week, 75 cats had found their forever homes through the Acro-Cats.
Emily Yonker writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.