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    Apr 2, 2016

    These Performing Street Cats Are The Cutest Thing You Will See Today

    BuzzFeed News went behind-the-scenes to meet the pampered performers.

    by ,

    Meet the AcroCats — 27 former malnourished street cats who have become pampered performers at Britain's biggest circus.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    The Borissov family, who have been circus performers all their lives, began rescuing cats from the streets of Angers in South West France as pets.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    The family are big animal lovers and have rescued many creatures from miserable lives.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    Once the family had adopted six cats from the streets, Roseline wondered if they could be trained to join their circus act.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    "They are difficult to train. Cats are very independent and when they don't want to work they don't work," Roseline said.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    The family now have 27 cats who are all trained, or in training, to perform in the show.

    The cat troupe leader is seven-year-old Felix who performs a "Supercat" high leap from a pedestal into his trainers arms below.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed News
    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed News
    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed News

    The youngest performer is Junior, who was found abandoned in a French shopping centre, and now dazzles crowds with his tightrope walking.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed News

    BuzzFeed News visited the circus and spoke to Zippos Circus director Martin Burton about why he added the cats to his circus.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    "These are just regular cats and they don't do anything that cats don't naturally do," Burton told BuzzFeed News.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    "These are pet cats who will do tricks for treats. They are fed fancy sausages from France and the finest paté."

    "These cats are cats that would be still living on the streets or dead if they weren't in the circus," he said.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    "Animal welfare is very important to me. We wrote the first ever code of conduct for animal welfare in circuses."

    The Borissov family also have rescued horses who feature in their show.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    These two were rescued from a slaughterhouse moments before they were due to be killed.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed
    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    But it is the cats who have become the stars of the show this year for the circus' 30th anniversary.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    "It is no longer the old days of circuses, people do not want to watch a man poke a lion with a chair until it roars like they did in the 1900s," Burton said.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    "The reason this is such a good act is because it's just a lady who loves her cats playing with them."

    "They don't always do what we want them to and that's part of the fun."

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    The cats perform in teams of six so they don't get tired and each animal only learns one trick.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed
    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    The cats, who live in their own heated trailer, are all neutered and are a mix of male and female.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    The cats will be touring Britain with Zippos Circus all season.

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed News

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