Friday, August 24, 2012


If the idea of seeing a cat walk while balanced on a ball makes you giddy, I highly recommend the Acro-cats show now playing at Stone Soup Theatre. What about a cat standing on its hind legs, holding up one paw next to a sign that says "Who's Number One?" Yep, these are the kind of insanely cute tricks performed by owner Samantha Martin's troupe of cats, ranging from adoptable kittens to old hands.

Samantha is a cat-lover turned trainer, and if you're all up in arms about cats being forced to perform, you should know that she rescues and fosters cats, and finds "forever" homes for them. She uses the clicker/treat reward system of training, and the "tricks" are based on normal cat behaviors. The Stone Soup Theater is quite small, so it really does feel like you're watching the show in Samantha's living room. (In fact, she told the audience that all the props and gear in the show are actually her living room furnishings.) Anyway, it's pretty hard to get a cat to do anything it doesn't want to do, so I didn't feel bad at all for them--and I hate zoos and circuses that keep animals in captivity. These domestic cats seem happy.

Back to the show: Along with the cats, there are a few rats, a couple of chickens, and a groundhog(?!) who rides in a wagon pulled by an RC car. There's also a cacophonous music segment, with cats playing guitar, keyboard, drums, chimes, cowbell, and a chicken playing tambourine and cymbals. The show's in Seattle until September 1, so go see it! A couple of insider tips: You can buy tickets at at the door no problem (at least last night), but I recommend getting there early so you can get a front-row, center seat AND so you can listen to the cat-themed music before the show ("Stray Cat Strut" by The Stray Cats, "Year of the Cat" by Al Stewart, and so on). Also, this is one place you won't be out of place wearing that cat sweatshirt your grandma gave you, or your Halloween cat ears (but if you forget them, you can buy some at the show!)

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