It’s a tale as old as time in showbiz. Everything can be planned out and a script perfected, but all it takes is one diva or a few supporting actors with stage fright or a single soul to get the giggles to completely derail a performance. The talent can always be moody. As it turns out, this can be as much the case for cats as it is with people. The Amazing Acro-Cats team of performing felines and their handlers stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to show off some of their tricks. Sadly, not everything went according to plan. Check it out!



The cats may have failed at performing their tricks, but they did succeed at the most important thing of all: being adorable. It is hard not to feel a bit bad for the handlers, however. The show was clearly planned out ahead of time, but those darn kitties just didn’t want to cooperate when the spotlight was on them. Sure, a few of them could be coaxed into showing off a trick or two, but the late night debut of the cat circus could have gone much more smoothly. I mean, some of them wouldn't even come out of their cages:

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Fortunately, the Acro-Cat handlers were pretty good sports about their routine falling apart, and very little of the frustration that they must have been feeling actually showed. The ladies rolled with the non-trickiness of their feline friends and did what they could to persuade a few stunts out of them. The show might not have gone according to the plan, but the women should be commended for their showmanship.

Of course, the entire sequence might have been cringeworthy if not for the gallant efforts of Stephen Colbert. Sliding in whenever the laughter threatened to die down or the cats were being particularly stubborn about staying in their boxes, Stephen Colbert was a delight-- it helped he was wearing a pair of sparkly purple cat ears, smiling hugely and playing with the props. The clip is worth a rewind just to see him keeping the crowd laughing without poking fun at the Amazing Acro-Cats.

All in all, the cat circus performance that saw a shortage of cats doing any actual performing could have been a total flop. Instead, it was endearing in its own way, and it’s really a stroke of luck that there was a kitty feeling friendly enough to unfurl the “Applause!” sign.

It’s hard to say what might have made the cats so reluctant to play their parts. Were they intimidated by the size of the audience? Were they taking a stand against performing without union representation? Did some poor production assistant feed a diva kitty the wrong variety of Meow Mix? We’ll never know.

What we do know is that the Amazing Acro-Cats stand for more than just feline circus performance. The women behind the troupe are trying to raise money via Kickstarter to fund a new bus to travel the country and spread awareness about cat adoption.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on CBS.

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