Russian Celebrity Cat Trainer Opens Cat Theatre

Moscow reopens the Cat Theatre, delighting crowds with felines performing ferocious stunts. 2013-04-15 04:03 PM EST Last Updated: 2013-04-15 04:03 PM EST
Yuri Kuklachev's Moscow Cat Theatre reopened on Friday (April 12) to the delight of hundreds of Muscovites who came to see the feline and human performers.


The studio, run by Kuklachev, a legendary animal trainer, clown and Soviet-era child star, had been under renovation more than a year.


Excitement was in the air for Kuklachev's son and theatre artistic director Dmitry, as he posed for photographs and talked to journalists.


[Dimitry Kuklachev, Artistic Director of Cat Theatre]:

"Today is the first day we've come here. Animals feel good and each of them has found its place. That's great because it shows that the atmosphere here is favourable for them."


In addition to the cats' performances on stage, the theatre that bills itself as the only cat theatre in the world is also putting cats on display to the audiences before and after shows in the theatre's all glass "Cat Temple".


[Dimitry Kuklachev, Artistic Director of Cat Theatre]:

"We have more than 120 cats in total. We haven't brought all of them here, only part of them. Step by step we will be bringing them in. Soon we'll have a whole cats' world here."


On stage, the elder Kuklachev danced with the cats and guided them through stunts choreographed to booming music, sometimes calling on audience members to assist in the tricks. Following his performance, Kuklachev gushed about the offerings of the newly-renovated theatre.


Not everyone is a fan of the Moscow Cat Theatre, however. Yuri Kuklachev has drawn criticism from animal welfare advocates, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


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