Cat lovers of Maine, rejoice. Come this weekend, you won’t have to limit yourself to YouTube, memes or even your own pet to appreciate how hilarious, adorable and talented these animals can be.
Amazing Acro-Cats — a Chicago-based troupe of 14 cats, three foster kittens and a chicken named Cluck Norris — is coming to Portland’s St. Lawrence Arts Center this week and wants to show you just how well their cast of cats can skateboard, walk on tightropes, play piano and jump through hoops.
Not to worry though: True to the popular and charming conception of cat’s laid-back attitude, there are moments during the show where the stars themselves will wander into the audience, rub their heads on chairs or lounge on the stage.
“My cats are slackers,” Samantha Martin, the show master and cat trainer told Maine Today. “They lay down on stage, they go into the audience when they feel like it. They are cats, after all.”
The show, which lasts for about an hour, will open its doors this Thursday starting at 8 p.m. and run until Sunday. You can also catch the show the following weekend.
For Martin, it’s the realization of a lifelong dream.
“Ten years ago I realized I hadn’t fulfilled my dream of being an animal trainer for film and television, so I decided to revisit the idea of training cats,” Martin told Buzzfeed.
Since last November, she’s been traveling with the Acro-Cats, living out of a 1963 General Motors bus that’s ordained with pictures of the show’s stars and the likeness of a white cat’s face on its hood.
Martin told MaineToday she began training cats when she rescued Tuna, the inspiration of the show who plays a cowbell in the Rock Cats band and jumps through hurdles. Using fresh ahi tuna and a clicker, Martin has trained other cats like Buggles, a black female, to balance on a basketball and Asti, a striped female, to “play” the drums.
“Any animal that has a food drive and a brain can be trained,” Martin said.