By Melissa Chandler

So a cat circus troupe has been performing nightly at Fort Mason. Felines of all stripes have been executing death defying feats and playing music practically under our noses, while some of us have been purrfectly unaware.

The Acro-Cats show runs now through June 1st at the Southside Theatre at Fort Mason. Founder Samantha Martin prefers “Cat Woman” over “Cat Lady" – but with a degree in animal husbandry and experience in animal training that began when she was a child, she’s more accurately described as a trainer and educator on the subject. All of the cats in the troupe are rescues or strays, and part of the proceeds from ticket sales go to rescue programs.

The show, which has toured the country and appeared on The Tonight Show, features Tuna & the Rock-Cats, a mostly-feline (one chicken!) band which has been described by one reviewer at Yahoo Music as “extremely experimental jazz.”

If you’re wondering about labor conditions, Laura Beck at Jezebel saw the show and had this to say: “All the cats appeared happy, healthy, and unwilling to do JACKSHIT. Circuses with animals are bullshit and horrible, but this isn't a circus in the traditional sense — it's more a circus in the sense of a kinda wacky dreamer with clicker, a bag full of Friskies, and about a million cats (15?) and four foster kittens.”

What else do the amazing Acro-Cats have in store? Your guess is as good as mine, but I have tickets for the show tonight, and all meowsteries will soon be revealed. From my extensive research I’ve gleaned that there are circue du soleil-esque tricks, and there’s talk of a groundhog appearance, a cat vs. chicken bowling tournament, and plenty of education on cat welfare and training from Martin – that last part, from all reports, seems to be the heart of the show. Silliness may take center stage, but it appears Martin’s advocacy for enriching the lives of animals shines throughout.

Tickets are selling out fast, so act meow!

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Photo courtesy of The Acro-Cats