The Amazing Circus Cats

I live with 2 cats. They are not very trainable, unless I happen to be near food. In fact, if I am anywhere near the kitchen they will show me where the fridge is, just in case I forgot.

But last week I saw some very trainable cats. A woman named Samantha has trained stray cats to do wonderful tricks, like jumping through hoops, climbing up poles and riding in carts. Granted, they receive a treat each time they do something, so they have an incentive.  They ride skateboards, ring bells, walk the high wire and a group of them are known as the Acro-Cats.

But my favorite act was The Rock Cats: one on synthesizer, one on drums and another on guitar. After the show, the audience was invited up to have their photos taken with the Rock Cats, who couldn’t have been more laid-back about it. Ho-hum, a day in the life of a celebrity cat.

Samantha’s animals have appeared on The Tonight Show, Animal Planet and local Chicago TV shows. Her tame housecats have been in commercials, films, photo shoots and on stage. Clients include Petsmart, Walmart and Brookstone, among others.

All these cats (there were some other animals, too, like a weasel and a marmot and even a chicken!) looked well-fed and not one of them seemed the least fazed by the audience.  And if a cat was supposed to perform but felt like grooming herself instead, Samantha would throw up her arms, say “Ta-dah!” and we’d all applaud.  She encouraged them to perform but never forced. The animals all clearly adored her.

It reminded me of our family cat, Neiman Marcus. (We adopted 3 kittens, all brothers,  and our dad named one Neiman Marcus, the second Carson Pirie Scott and the third Julius Rosenthal). A local theater company put on a production of “Bell, Book and Candle”, and Neiman was chosen to play Piewacket. He wasn’t Siamese, he was a solid black long-haired-far-from-purebred with yellow eyes. But he was a natural for the stage. Our father told us that he was chosen for the role because of his excellent breeding but it was probably because he could keep quiet.

Check out Amazing Animals by Samantha. Go to if you’d like to learn more.

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