by Ramon LP4
Let me ask you one question, what’s the coolest show in town this week?
Listen up and I’ll tell you the answer!
What if I told you there was a band called The Rock-Cats in town? What if I told you that the band members were cats?! Oh hell yes! You heard me right – a kitty band! Now I don’t know about you but in my world cats are pretty awesome. Put them behind some instruments and you have one irresistible show! Bonus it’s a cat circus with the Acro-Cats too and it’s at Super Happy Fun Land Tonight through Saturday!!!
Intrigued by this whole thing, we contacted trainer and all around cool cat woman, Samantha Martin and asked her to answer a few questions about Circus Cats for us via e-mail in anticipation of the show.
FPH: Where did the idea for a cat circus come from?
Samantha: I began by training rats and became known as the “Rat Lady of Chicago”. I soon realized that not everyone enjoys these animals as I do so I started training domestic cats and putting together the Amazing Acro-Cats and then Rock-Cats band was born. These have proven to be a bit more palatable as there are infinitely more cat lovers than rat lovers
FPH: Can you tell us something about your cats? Who they are, their personalities, talents and their kitty super powers?
Samantha: Oh my gosh! They are all so unique and have fabulous personalities. I have attached our cat bio’s page which I’m still working on, and you can use what you want!
FPH: Tell us about how the band got together?
Samantha: Like the Partridge Family, The Rock-Cats are a “family affair”. All the members are related. Tuna is the matriarch and mother of Pinky (guitarist) and Nue (keyboards). Tuna runs a very tight ship and is a very demanding band manager and stage mother. Pinky walks in her mother’s footsteps which is why she feels her daughter, Dakota (drums) is much too concerned with how cute she looks instead of concentrating on the beat. This is the only part of the team that is all related. The other Acro-Cats are mostly orphans and shelter kitties we have adopted and trained for this life of performance and adoration.
FPH: Is there any of the usual VH1 drama in the band?
Samantha: Well, Hendiana Jones who is a chicken and the tambourine player has some drama around her in that some of the band members want to eat her…beyond that it’s the usual petty jealousies.
FPH: What did your friends and family say when you said, “You know what? I really want to start a cat circus!”
Samantha: “Yep, that’s about right, Samantha”
FPH: Cats aren’t usually known for being trainable. How do you do it?
Samantha: I use clicker training and positive reinforcement. Cats love to learn, just like dogs. It is a bonding experience between the cat and her human. It stimulates their minds, encourages positive interactions and they are extremely open to their training schedule. Now with cats you do have to understand nothing gets in the way of their grooming…so if you can accept this small
cat-iosyncrasy you too can train your cat-pal. We have clicker-training kits for sale at the show
FPH: A friend of mine works at a coffee shop and said she saw you guys come in with your cat headbands yesterday. Do these give you some kind of cat mind control that you plan to use for world conquest?
Samantha: Yes…well the cats plan to use them for world conquest and truly believe we are in complete telepathic communication while we wear them.
FPH: What should people expect out of the performance?
Samantha: To get to wear cat headbands in public…Sometimes there’s an always suspenseful and exciting battle of wills between the Acro-Cats and the Humans so come cheer for whoever,. Lots of fun and witty cat/human exchanges. ALSO! This is an adoption and benefit event for SNAP (Spay-Neuter Assistance Program)! Come support them and maybe find a cat friend of your own!
FPH: A lot of these performances are 10pm shows which kind of surprises me as I’d figure kids would dig this. Is there something about the circus that appeals mainly to adults?
Samantha: Yes, getting to wear cat headbands in public, holding a drink in one hand while cheering on the cats with the other…very appealing to most adults
We do have a lot of kids come to our shows and still we have noticed that over 70% of our audiences are adults and couples…we don’t fight it.
FPH: What is the most fun about this endeavor? What gives you the most joy?
Samantha: Looking out into the audience and seeing a theatre full of people wearing cat headbands and cheering on the Acro-Cats…really pretty fun! The joy really mostly comes from the relationships I have with my cats. I spend alot of time training each cat so we get to know each other pretty well If you read their bios you can see how different they all are and their individual personalities always impress me.
See The Acro-Cats and The Rock-Cats perform
@ Super Happy Fun Land, 3801 Polk St.,
Wednesday-Thursday, February 23-24 at 7 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, February 25-26 at 10 p.m.
Tickets are $12 for Adults and $10 for children age 12 and under
A portion of ticket sales to benefit SNAP (Spay-Neuter Assistance Program).