The Amazing Acro-Cats, a group consisting of traveling cats that can ride skateboards, play instruments and leave audiences from all over the country in awe, was formed by Samantha Martin in 2005.
The idea came to her after she was exposed to the ill fate of most cats put away in shelters – instead of letting them rot in cages and be severely mistreated, she thought of a creative way to take them in without going completely broke.
“The team [of cats] themselves are all former rescues and strays,” said Samantha Martin to the HuffPost.
But Samantha did not stop there. Four years after Samantha founded the group, she wanted to take yet another step in helping felines.
That is when she heard of a high-kill shelter in Chicago that put many of their kittens on that night’s euthanasia list, and if an adoptive or foster home was not found, their fate was sealed. Hearing of this, Samantha called the shelter told them she was willing to take in all cats on the spot.
“I took all 12,” Samantha said, referring to that night as a “life-changing moment.”
The kittens taken in that night did not make the final cut to stay on board as part of her permanent cast, but she did find them warm, loving homes and made sure they were fully taken care of.
Nowadays, Samantha has a total of 17 cats, which she proudly looks after with the help of her assistants.
One of these cats is named “Captain Patch,” yet he does not perform with the rest of them. As a matter of fact, he is the only one who is a non-performer, since he has one-eye and belongs to one of the assistants. The reason he is in this group is because he simply loves to travel with his owner.
As for the rest of them, life on the road has not proved to be a struggle just yet:
“The foster kittens never have problems adapting to life on the tour bus,” Samantha said. “Since they are kittens, they’re much more adaptable to new places and experiences.”