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The Amazing Acro-Cats — a circus made up of a dozen cats, a pack of rats, a groundhog and a chicken — will perform in Charter Hall at the City Market on April 18, 20 and 21.
Courtesy of Samantha Martin
Part of the proceeds from the three shows will benefit Angels of Assisi animal shelter in Roanoke, which will have an adoption event at each performance.
Courtesy of Samantha Martin
Samantha Martin, who has been training animals for 25 years, directs The Amazing Acro-Cats (above) and the Rock Cats band. The show is coming to Roanoke next week.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
The drummer, Dakota, and the guitarist, Annie, have a heated relationship, so Dakota could storm off stage at any moment.
The percussionist is known to get aggressive with the rest of the band members. Tuna, the band’s manager, will randomly bang the cow bell throughout the show.
Typical rock stars. Unprofessional. Behaving like animals.
But what else can you ask of The Rock Cats — a band made up of five felines and a hen named Gregory Peck.
The band, under the direction of Chicago-based animal trainer Samantha Martin, will close the show for the Amazing Acro-Cats , a troupe that includes a dozen kitty performers, a pack of rats, a groundhog and a tambourine-playing chicken.
The feline-and-other-assorted-species circus is coming to town, performing in Charter Hall at the City Market on April 18, 20 and 21 .
Martin’s four-legged stars perform daredevil stunts such as tightrope walking, hoop jumping, ball rolling and cart pushing. At least, that’s what she plans for them to do.
“Sometimes they just wander off and do their own thing,” she said.
Martin, 49, who has been training animals for 25 years, put the kitty company together 10 years ago, starting with the band. Eight years ago, the circus acts were ready for the stage and the troupe has toured the country for the past four years.
Along the way, her show-biz critters have been featured on Animal Planet and in commercials for Purina and Tidy Cat. While on tour, Martin said, they sell out venues that seat anywhere from 75 to 500 people.
“We attract an audience from all walks of life,” Martin said. “Hipsters, elderly people, families with kids, people who love cats.”
The hour long show will include an opportunity to meet the stars, although Martin said troupe member Pudge is the only one who reliably likes to greet adoring fans.
Besides entertaining an audience, Martin said she hopes that seeing her cats (mostly) cooperate and (usually) follow commands will encourage folks to bond more closely with their own cats.
“Most people have a latch-key relationship with their cats; they leave them food and let them fend for themselves,” she said. “That would be like leaving dinner in the microwave for your husband every night.”
She said she has never found a cat that couldn’t be trained to do something using a clicker and positive reinforcement. She said she spots individual talents in each kitty by observing what they like to do and encouraging that behavior.
Martin is an advocate of fostering kittens (three are traveling with the troupe on this tour) and adopting shelter cats. Part of the proceeds from the three shows will benefit Angels of Assisi animal shelter, which will have an adoption event at each performance.
“We are super excited,” Chelsea Ellis , Angels’ foster coordinator, said of the event. “We hope that this will dispel the myth that all cats are aloof. Cats have personalities, too.”
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