Now I’ve Seen Everything…

4 comments September 18th, 2005at 01:24am Posted by Eli

I wouldn’t have believed it possible…

The show, which opens tonight at the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center and runs weekends through Oct. 30, features 26 cats; Mr. Kuklachev’s wife, Yelena, as the Queen of the Cats; and two small, outnumbered dogs. The theater has a total of nine different routines, including “Cats From Outer Space” and “Nutcracker.” No one show is ever exactly like another.

“Cats are like actors,” Mr. Kuklachev said. “They do what they want. Sometimes a cat doesn’t want one trick, so he does another.”


The story of “Queen of the Cats” is a kind of allegory, Mr. Kuklachev explained. He plays a painter who goes to sleep and dreams that aliens arrive from outer space in a U.F.O. and try to steal his cats.

At one point, one of the cats stands on a mirrored ball that looks as if it has been borrowed from “Saturday Night Fever.” She is emitting “rays of goodness,” he said, spreading kindness throughout the world.

The idea of performing cats came to Mr. Kuklachev in 1971, he said, when he found a stray begging for food by performing on its hind legs and doing somersaults for onlookers. Mr. Kuklachev, the son of a truck driver and a factory worker, had attended clown school. He realized he and the cat might be able to do something together. He named her Strelka, and soon she was performing with him at the Moscow State Circus.


The younger Mr. Kuklachev said his father trains the cats not by rewarding them with treats, as one might train a dog, but “by long, good words, touching them.”

The elder Mr. Kuklachev bridled at the idea of rewarding cats with food. “A cat is not a dog,” he said. “If a cat doesn’t want to do something, he will not do it.”

This guy has got to have some kind of supernatural powers.

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Weirdness


  • 1. cottonsaddiemango  |  September 18th, 2005 at 2:21 am

    Aw! kitty tricks! That is a cute story.

  • 2. four legs good  |  September 19th, 2005 at 12:36 am

    I have a cat trick for you.

    I needed to take a “ghost” picture for my photoJ class and couldn’t find a willing victim to pose for me.

    So friday night I set up the shot in my apartment and plopped lion kitty down on the couch to see if I could get him to do it. (Involves a 6 second exposure where the subject jumps out of the frame after 3, so trying to get a cat to do it was probably going to be an exercise in futility).

    The first time Maxx just looked at me like I was crazy when I called him to try to get him to move.

    So I tried again, and this time he sat looking intently at the camera for 3 whole seconds, then I threw his psycho alien carrot toy off to the side and he IMMEDIATELY jumped out of the shot.

    I was so delighted I did the snoopy dance.

  • 3. Eli  |  September 19th, 2005 at 1:30 am

    You *will* provide a link, right?

  • 4. four legs good  |  September 19th, 2005 at 9:15 pm

    Alas. The slide did not turn out.

    It’s too bad too, because it’s a fucking perfect ghost shot.

    Unfortunately the only lamp I had on in the room had a red silk shade and the color is all funny. (live and learn I guess).

    When I get to the lab I’ll scan it anyway for you. I don’t own a slide scanner of my own.

    It’s a damn shame too, cause he looks properly ghostly…. and there’s no FUCKING way I’ll ever get him to do it again.

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