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Cheetah, Tiger, Lion, Alley Cat

June 12 2012 at 1:04 PM
from IP address

Do any of you have the above cats?
Do you have a favorite?
By working with or looking at the Promos, which do you like best?
I looked at the Cheetah back in 2008 and really wanted it back then, but still haven't purchased one.
Then with Rick getting the Alley Cat; and Tony and Ax making me feel differently about getting a normal cat.
It is all you guys fault for making me think again about a possible cat.
Help me out with your thoughts, about the different cats. {:->

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Rick Cina

Re: Cheetah, Tiger, Lion, Alley Cat

June 12 2012, 4:10 PM 

I own the lion, which is the same mold as the tiger and cheetah. The lion has a goofier look about him than the tiger and cheetah, in my opinion---probably because of the high concentration of ostrich feathers around his face that flop and wisp around as he moves. Ostrich feathers and puppets just go together.

The lion/cheetah/tiger mold has a relatively small mouth. The bottom jaw (your thumb) doesn't move very much, which means that he isn't capable of wide-mouthed expressions.

As far as expressions go, if you stick your index finger into the crevice where his nose is, you can move it up and down pretty easily to make him look like he's sniffing or to make his snout look funnier. You can also contort his top and bottom jaws to the side to make him look sad or confused. Unlike the alley cat, no eye expressions are possible.

I have found that as long as your big cat isn't doing a lot of talking, the mouth works fine. But if your big cat talks a lot, I have found that my hand tires out more easily than with other Axtells. Perhaps this is because the foam in the top half of his head is pressed pretty close to where your fingers go (top snout), which means that your fingers are scrunched enough that you can't bend them at the knuckle as much when moving his mouth. You have to use the base of your hand more to move your fingers, in other words, and this is what tires your hand more. At least this is what I've found.

As far as you personally, Suzie, I have noticed that you prefer to make you characters female rather than male. This is natural, as I do the same thing (the other way) because making female voices seems too contrived for my taste. I only have one character---my ostrich---who uses a female voice. Since a lion would obviously have to be male (mane), you may want to consider concocting a deep, baritone-like lion voice. It's hard to imagine a different voice that fits as well with that particular big cat. The cheetah and tiger could more easily pass as female, which means you're probably not as limited on your voice choices.

On the other hand, the alley cat is the most easily transformed into a female in terms of style and demeanor, in my opinion. Most people probably think of cats as more female than male, for whatever reason. That's why we have "cat fights" or "cattiness" between females, not males.

I would think that the cat, along with its many facial expression possibilities, might have more story-lines that could be constructed for it.


To Cat around

June 12 2012, 5:21 PM 

Thanks Rick.
I have little hands so possibly a little more finger room in the cat's mouth????
My possum (Dodger DeCar) has a male voice. I use a Silly Hillbilly Southern Twang with him so he is guy all the way.
My Beck Er Bird is a boy. Although he talks bird. {:->
But you are right the rest of my puppets are female.
I could not pull off an old man's voice to save my soul. I tried, but it just didn't work.
Once I did stumble across a voice that would work for the old storyteller, but only once. I never could get it back again. I guess it was a fluke.
Thanks so much for sharing.
I think if I go goofy male, I might be able to make it work. I just can't go old. Haahahaha
Your new cat puppet looks like a lot of fun. I stayed away from the cat puppet until your thread. You all kind of told me I could make it happen.
I think you all helping me on the forum is one of the best things I could have ever run across being a beginner.

Rick Cina

Re: Cheetah, Tiger, Lion, Alley Cat

June 12 2012, 5:47 PM 

"I have little hands so possibly a little more finger room in the cat's mouth????"

Just to clarify, it's the Big Cat mouth (lion, cheetah, tiger) that has the small amount of finger wiggle room on the top half, not the Alley Cat. The Alley Cat's mouth is large (wide) and there is nothing limiting your fingers (which is why you can make so many eye-based expressions).

I don't think hand size (i.e., base width and finger length) would play much of a role, as it's the girth of one's fingers that is affected here. The variation in adult finger girth is probably rather minimal.

"I think if I go goofy male, I might be able to make it work."

Yes, if you can go goofy male with your voice, then all 3 big cats are in play---in my opinion, of course. As I said, the lion looks goofiest with his flyaway mane hair and deer-in-the-headlights expression. For some reason, the tiger and cheetah don't appear quite as goofy-looking. But I don't own either.

I did a 40-minute library show today in front of 45 kids and 20 adults. The top two laugh-getters of the 9 puppets I used: Possum and Cat. The possum because he got his snout stuck in his mouth while attempting to smile, and the cat because he kept on smacking me with his paw when I wasn't looking (I insert levers in my figures' arms so that I can point and flail them from behind with less conspicuousness than with a rod), and because he kept on showing his mad face (instead of his smiling face) when I would take a picture of him.


Steve Petra

hold that tiger

June 12 2012, 6:48 PM 

Last year I used the Axtell Tiger in my Summer Reading show. He performed out of his green duffel bag mostly because he's frightened of small children (as we all should be). The bag became a sort of puppet stage that he could duck inside of whenever his anxiety level got too high and with the rod arm there was opportunity to display a range of reactions as well as lifting the bag over his head. YoYo Tiger was a BIG hit with audiences. I chose him 'cause the expression on his face sort of looked like he just got hit in the head with a large melon (the tail stuck out of the back zippered compartment of the bag... funny).
He's now popular segment in my Let's Get Visual lecture. Here's a peek

Yoyo scared library copy


Cat's mouth

June 12 2012, 6:54 PM 

I ment big cat's mouth when I said small hands.
I think they are all neat.
From what people have told me, my possum is their favorie of my puppets.
Sounds like you had a great show today.
Thanks again for your help with the cats. I do agree that the lion would be great being goofy. I think of the Wizard of Oz when I see him. I know that lion wasn't goofy just scared. But I still think of the Wizard of Oz when I see the lion.


Bag that Tiger

June 12 2012, 7:01 PM 

Thanks Steve...Great picture of you and the Tiger too.

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