Cats on Parade
By Linda Lippner
I’m not sure if there are any expats in Moscow who haven’t gone past the weird little theater on Kutuzovsky Prospect with the big sign and wondered aloud – what is that place? If you slow down you might catch a sign that says something like Theater... Koshek??
Yes, Virginia, it’s true. We have a Cat Theater here in Moscow. But what is a Cat Theater? Do cats go to the theater to be entertained; perhaps by dogs or mice up on the stage? Is it a musical theater designed to perform – cat operas or perhaps simple cat capers? Well, cat capers is getting mighty close to what goes on at the Cat Theater. Because these are Cats on Parade.
But first, let’s talk about the average person who must first be convinced that going to the Cat Theater is even a good idea. Of course, all those who are allergic to felines are eliminated from the discussion immediately. They usually walk away with their noses wrinkled. (More about wrinkled noses later). And of course, those who are offended by any animal trained for entertainment purposes will also decline an invitation to attend. Because these cats do entertain. They run, they jump, and they leap, but they mostly run – very fast and with purpose from one stunt to another on the miniature stage. The family of trainers who own the Cat Theater have been interviewed here and abroad and they confirm what I already knew: cats like to perform. The head cat trainer says that his performing cats are intelligent, usually female as they are more easily persuaded to do silly cat tricks, and are gently raised and loved by his family. In New York City where his troupe of kitties performed in fashionable lower Manhattan, the family chose to stay in Brighton Beach where the cats could stay with the humans during their tour instead of in pet boarding clinics.
Of course, there are humans up on the little stage with the cats and a small group of dogs who also join in the act. The theater is all about entertaining small children and their parents that have come to see this unique entertainment. What better way to enjoy a weekend or even weekday afternoon with your tots than to crowd onto the small benches of the theater. Because, we all know that watching our children being entertained is the best way for parents to be entertained! Please don’t worry about the cats too much; they really do seem happy to “work” for their treats and care. They are doing their best to show that life on the stage can be one of energetic romping around; something that cats do naturally. Now, about the wrinkled nose syndrome I mentioned earlier. I am not allergic to cats, but my nose might be a little sensitive to what must be dozens of litter boxes backstage to support the cast on the stage. But what a small price my nose is paying for a chance to see Cats on Parade.