There are all types of animals that are known for their ability to perform amazing tricks. People from around the world flock to aquariums and marine parks to watch dolphins and seals perform clever maneuvers in front of a captivated audience. Similarly, circus-goers love watching the horses perform synchronized routines in the ring. In relation to domestic animals, many people train their dogs to perform some impressive tricks, and some even go so far as to teach their dog a dance routine to take part in talent contests.
One domestic animal that is not typically associated with their ability to learn tricks is the cat. Most cat owners would not even consider wasting their time trying to teach their cat a clever trick. However, cats are surprisingly adept at learning new skills, and a troupe of performing cats from the Ukraine called the Savitsky Cats have proved that it is possible. NPR describes how a Ukrainian mother and daughter team have trained their nine cats to perform an outstanding show that involves the cats climbing through ladders and jumping through hoops. The finale of the act involves the cats scampering up a pol and then launching themselves into a 20-foot drop to land on a large pillow.
This act became famous after they took part in the televised talent competition, ‘America’s Got Talent.’ Viewers were stunned and delighted when they watched this outstanding performance. The act is also part of The Big Apple Circus as part of the latest edition of the show. Svitlana, the mother of the team, does not speak any English. Therefore, it is up to her daughter, Maryna, to speak on both their behalves at interviews. She has explained that all the cats included in their act are former rescue cats, and that they intend to only ever adopt rescue cats if they expand their performing troop. Maryna has also described how her mother has a special talent for choosing cats that have the skills to perform. She says that as soon as her mother sees a cat, she can instantly tell whether they have potential or not.
Once they have the cat, they begin training them immediately. Maryna has described this as being quite a tricky process and says it all begins by observing the natural behavior of each individual cat. She gives the example of a cat that has a distinctive or peculiar way of walking. Maryna and her mother will begin by teaching the cat to walk slightly differently until the cat is accustomed to them teaching them skills, and then they begin to improve on this until they can get the cat to do anything they want.
Maryna has also listed some other important aspects of training the cats. She says that it is important that the cats can trust you, so you must become everything in the world to them. It is also important to learn more about what the cats enjoy doing, as this can help them to create a trick that revolves around their favorite activities. Teaching the skills is not the only stage in what has been dubbed the Savitsky method as they must also prepare the cat for performing in front of people. This means that the cats must become accustomed to bright lights, crowds of people, and music playing. This will help them to overcome their stage fright.
Another point that Maryna notes is that unless a cat wants to do something, they will not do it. Therefore, they can only train cats that have the desire to learn new skills. On the other hand, Maryna says she and her mother do have strategies to persuade reluctant cats to learn and perform. This involves giving the cats treats that come in the form of either food treats or petting. Although the story begins in the Ukraine where the feline troupe first began performing with Svitlana and Maryna, their international fame began after taking part in America’s Got Talent in 2018. The act progressed to the quarterfinals of the season, says the New York Post.
Following their success on the show, Svitlana, 46, decided to make the move to the United States with daughter Maryna. She also took along her 17-year-old son Misha. Now, the family is living in a trailer that is parked opposite the Lincoln Center in New York, along with the nine cats that are part of the act. Talking about their living arrangement, Maryna has said that it is a bit of a squeeze in their trailer, but that the family somehow manages. So far, they are all enjoying the experience of living in New York City.
The nine cats in the troupe range from two to 24 in age, and there is only one male cat. The youngest three cats, Mickey, Eddie, and Tosha, are still in training and have yet to perform in front of an audience. The older six cats have already gained lots of experience demonstrating their amazing skills for New York Audiences at the Big Apple Circus. These experienced performers are called Asia, Linda, Dasha, Ulia, Topa, and Chupa.
Svitlana has loved cats all her life, and she would often rescue kittens from the streets when she was a child. She first began training them when she was around 10 years old. Even though she has so much experience with cats, Svitlana still does not thoroughly understand how cats think. The Savitsky Cats have also become a big hit on social media. Their Twitter account (https://twitter.com/savitskycats?lang=en) already has almost three thousand followers, while their Instagram account has an amazing 13.3 thousand followers. Both these social media accounts are used to post photographs of the cats and their performances with Svitlana and Maryna. The social media pages are also used to promote their acrobatic act.