Acro Cats

This is about cats trained to do tricks. It is simply about training cats.

People will see this as amusing and fun. It certainly is for many people. Certainly the trainer finds the task stimulating. She has wanted to be an animal trainer all her life it seems and does a excellent job. Of course she does it for herself. The reason why she trains cats to perform circus-like tricks is to occupy herself and make some money.

I don’t want to be critical but it is nice to ask what the cats might get out of this. Do we think that the cats enjoy it or don’t they mind one way or the other?

Although, personally, I don’t like to see cats being trained like this for entertainment, that does not mean it is necessarily a bad thing. We all have personal views on these things.

As long as the cats are well cared for and as long as the stunts they are trained to do don’t result in the odd injury, it would seem to be OK. The trouble I have is that we can’t find out if a cat likes doing it or not. We have to assume the cat is OK with this. He may not be. Then there is the travelling. I am sure Martin travels a lot to get to venues. Cats aren’t normally very fond of travelling.

Although, if I am honest, I don’t find much particularly entertaining in it. This is probably because I am thinking about the cats and their welfare.

One thing for sure; Acro-Cats tells us is that cats are very trainable. Some people think they aren’t. Samantha Martin has trained 14 cats to do stunts including playing in a rock band. It took her many months. She employed clicker training, which is a reward based training. The clicker is a tool which helps to link reward with doing the task well. It is more precise and fast compared to simply handing a food treat to the cat after completing the task. All clicker training is food reward based. It is what motivates cats and dogs.

Through observing her cats Martin selected certain cats to do certain tricks as cats have tastes and preferences just like people. For example she says:

“Some cats like to be high up. Others like to be on the ground…..”

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Acro Cats — 21 Comments

  1. That was horrible, I could only watch about half as I was so annoyed at the humiliating tricks the cats were doing. Maybe they enjoy it but I’m surprised at them doing it for any length of time even for treats. I didn’t like the jumping and balancing tricks. In fact…I just didn’t like it, or her in her tight clothes and silly ears exploiting cats. Plus I hate clicker training like poison.

  2. Just watched it and scrolled down to comment but I think Babz has already said it all as I feel exactly the same, I hate to see cats degraded in this way and I despise clicker training too.

  3. I think people’s opinions about this sort of thing are more about THEM than the “exploitation” of the cat…. the cats seem to be enjoying their treats. People are ‘trained’ to perform “tricks” for entertainment of society all the time – Dog’s doing tricks? Horses being “trained” to accept a rider and cues?

    My experience with housecats is that you cannot force them to do something they are not willing or unable to do. I think “forcing” is the line here, not training to do simple tricks. Anybody out there ever have a cat willing to jump in your arms? Ever find a cue to encourage it?

    We think nothing of anthropomorphizing our dear darlings into having human traits of personality, but they can’t enjoy doing things that pay off (treat)? A kid will show off their new trick for the joy of attention. I had a Siamese that LOVED to do a perfect somersault roll on the floor for the attention it brought him, but introduce the treat and he basically said, “forget the trick, just give me the treat”. He didn’t feel degraded at all by doing his trick. He certainly wasn’t whipped into doing the trick like the poor tigers in the circus.

    Judge not lest ye be judged. No cat was harmed in the filming of this show.

    • Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, my opinion is that cats are entitled to live their lives as cats, not as money making show pieces.
      Of course we don’t ‘anthropomorphize our dear darlings into having human traits’ we know they are cats, they like to be cats, they don’t want to be humans and why should they perform ‘tricks’ for the entertainment of humans!
      This is England where we let cats be cats, we let them eat and sleep and play and enjoy the sunshine on their backs, grass to nibble, go a’hunting, do what cats do!

      • I am of the same opinion as you. I wonder if people who accept and like cats being trained would approve of a person training a mentally disabled person or vulnerable young person to do tricks. Ultimately it is about seeing cats as lesser creatures.

    • Good points Cass. Thanks for your input. I think the difficulty that some people have with training pets compared to training people is that animals are vulnerable and essentially they have little in the way of rights. This lends itself to exploitation. I am sure cats don’t mind doing the tricks but it would be nice if we able to get consent.

  4. Well, it wasn’t horrible but not my kind of entertainment.
    No training was required here, and there are plenty of tricks and acrobatics going on.

    I agree that a lot of cats are trainable, but I would rather see that skill going toward training the almost untrainable, ie. MEN.

    • I thought it was horrible, it was, to me, like one of those grotesque Victorian circuses that featured freaks. I just don’t like, or agree with, cats being used in this way (or any animal but this discussion is about cats)as for men, the one I had was quite domesticated and only needed a bit of fine tuning when I took him on 😉

        • He was Dee he was lovely, then of course after he died he became a saint, as usually happens all the minor everyday irritations are forgotten 😉

          • By comparison in my world, John was a saint.
            I love seeing pics of him with the cats.
            You were so lucky.
            Someday, I would love to read a story about your lives together and cats.

  5. There’s a vast difference between a much loved cat doing endearing and amusing things in the home surrounded by family (much as kids and digs do) and cats being filmed doing circus tricks as a means of someone showing off their “skills” at training cats. But this article wasn’t about kids or dogs or circus animals (curse the thought of any animal trained to entertain)it was about cats, and I hate to see such beautiful souls used for cheap laughs. I am not judging anyone I am stating my opinion as is my right to do.

  6. Interesting… cats get to be cats….its pretty much the same here in the States, at least at my house and those of my friends… but there is always going to be someone in every country that exploits an animal. Go to Thailand and see how they react to someone bringing a baby elephant to a party – outrage!! violence!!…. yet they think nothing of letting their cats starve or fend for themselves.

    At least these “entertainment” cats are being taken care of.

    Ever been to a professional cat show?? Those babies are fairly catered to but there’s always a few show cats that violently hate the indignity of being manhandled and put on human money-making and glory seeking display.

    We’re all entitled to our opinions, thankfully.

    • Yes I’ve been to Cat Shows as accompanying vet nurse to the vet on duty and I HATED it! Poor cats stuck in cages in a strange place, handled by a strange vet, titivated by grooming to within an inch of their life, gawped at by queues of people. All for the glory of the owner!
      I would never go to a circus or a zoo even when I was a child, because I knew even then that it’s wrong to exploit animals for money. All animals deserve to live the life they were born to live, wild ones in the wild, domesticated ones in happy caring homes. But as always, humans have the power to do what they want to with animals and do it just because they can. Too many are abused and too many are exploited and it makes me sad.

  7. Excellent unbelievable video where the cats perform tricks akin to normal dogs.The Russians were the first to start a commercial circus of performing cats which is still a huge success in the country.This breaks the myth that cats are untrainable for performing tricks on human commands.

  8. She is an amateur in my opinion. Think of great acts like:

    Yurri Kuklachev


    Greg Popovich

    She was on our local news two months ago and her act is exactly the same. Her cats seemed bored and if she refused their treats too long they just walked off. She was alone unlike the 2009 video above. Worst of all? Her act is just blame lame. Sorry, but even if the cats are not being injured and they do get treats, she is small time. She should train cats for film of something. She is not an entertainer.

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